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Tuesday 27 October 2020




Released by Johnnie Walker, this 28 Year Old Midnight Blend is a limited-edition whisky and the fifth and final blend of the John Walker & Sons Private Collection.

A truly indulgent whisky, this blend features aged whiskies from distilleries including Cambus (grain) in the Lowlands, Strathmillon in Speyside, Caol Ila on Islay and Clynelish in the Highlands. When it comes to flavour, Midnight Blend’s complex character is layered with butterscotch, caramel and toffee flavours and a touch of fruitiness and spice.

The John Walker & Sons Private Collection is a series of annual, limited edition Scotch whiskies featuring extremely rare – and in many cases irreplaceable – casks of their finest single malt and grain whiskies drawn from the four corners of Scotland. It celebrates the innovative spirit and passion of the whisky experts, as they explore the rich flavours innate to Johnnie Walker.

The 28 Year Old Midnight Blend is the collection’s richest and most indulgent Scotch yet. It is a sybarite’s whisky, to be savoured after dinner. Only 3,888 individually numbered collectible decanters have been released,each bottle containing rare and precious whiskies aged for a minimum of 28 years.

200th Anniversary Releases

Johnnie Walker has launched three new whiskies and a limited-edition bottle design for its Blue Label expression to commemorate its 200th anniversary. The brand’s three new expressions are Johnnie Walker Legendary Eight, John Walker & Sons Celebratory Blend, and John Walker & Sons Bicentenary Blend.

Johnnie Walker Legendary Eight is a blend of whiskies from eight ‘legendary’ distilleries that were operating when the brand was established in 1820. Its flavour profile is described as ‘smooth and mellow’.

John Walker & Sons Celebratory Blend gains its inspiration from the launch of the brand’s Old Highland Whisky expression in the 1860s, which became the company’s first internationally distributed product. This ‘rich and complex’ spirit is based on ‘the flavours found in the Walker family’s grocery store in the 1860s’, and the blend contains whiskies made in distilleries operating in that time period.

John Walker & Sons Bicentenary Blend also takes the Walker family grocery store as inspiration, this time ‘re-imagining the exotic flavours that shaped his imagination. The expression is made with whiskies that are all aged a minimum of 28 years, with components from now-defunct distilleries including Pittyvaich, Cambus and Port Ellen.

In addition, the brand has unveiled a new limited-edition pack design for its Blue Label bottling, themed around the cities and countries that have played a role in the brand’s evolution. It features illustrations of landmarks and symbols that represent these locations.

The four new releases will be available from October on a limited basis.

The Masters’ Edition: The First 50 Year Old Johnnie Walker


The John Walker Masters' Edition is an elegant and triple-matured Scotch whisky that has been crafted from six exceptionally rare whiskies, each aged for a minimum of 50 years. The whiskies in the The John Walker Masters' Edition have been drawn from ancient distilleries that existed during the lifetime of founder John Walker (1805-1857). Five of the six distilleries whose irreplaceable whiskies feature in The John Walker Masters' Edition now lie silent.

The Edition features single malt whiskies drawn from some of the oldest available stocks from the closed Glen Albyn and Glenury Royal distilleries  and the much-celebrated Blair Athol distillery, which stands at the gateway to the Scottish Highlands. The three grain whiskies used in its crafting are drawn from the ghost distilleries of Caledonian, Cambus and Port Dundas.

Only 100 bottles of The John Walker Masters' Edition have been created. This exclusive Scotch whisky takes its name from the masterly expertise in whisky as well as presentation. A special release of The John Walker, it is presented in a bespoke, individually numbered, rare double-cased black crystal Baccarat decanter and comes housed in an elegant cabinet.

The Edition is a triple-matured Scotch whisky. Finished in small batches in a bespoke marrying cask made of 100 year oak staves. It has a natural cask strength ABV of 43.3% and an RRP of $25,000 (US). It is available in limited, selected markets.

This whisky is one of the most expensive blends ever produced. The top spot belongs to Royal Salute’s Tribute to Honour, which is priced at £150,000 a bottle. While the John Walker Masters’ Edition is older than the Tribute to Honour, Royal Salute’s parent company, Pernod Ricard, has also just released its own 50-year-old blend with Chivas Regal.

Johnnie Walker Master’s Ruby Reserve


The second release in Johnnie Walker's Master's Edition series sees a 40 Year Old expression in the market. Launched globally in March 2020, and limited to just 398 bottles, this Ruby Reserve is a rich, perfectly balanced 40-year-old Scotch, made in celebration of Master Blender Jim Beveridge’s ruby anniversary at Johnnie Walker by exploring whiskies that have matured for at least four decades, including expressions that were amongst the first whiskies Jim worked with.

From the very finest casks in the Johnnie Walker reserves, eight exquisite hand-selected whiskies have been picked, including whisky from the ‘ghost’ distilleries of Cambus, Carsebridge, Pittyvaich and Port Ellen. These rare whiskies are balanced beautifully with highly-aged expressions from the distilleries of Talisker, Royal Lochnagar, Glendullan and Cragganmore. The incredibly rare blend is priced at £15,000 (approx $19,450).

The ‘ghost’ whiskies from Cambus, Carsebridge and Pittyvaich bring layers of rich fruit flavour and are combined with the flavours of dark chocolate, plums and cherries found in the wonderfully aged expressions of Royal Lochnagar, Glendullan and Cragganmore and the soft aromatic sea salt notes of Talisker and Port Ellen – creating a beautiful, full-bodied whisky.The liquid is presented in a decanter befitting of its opulence. The Baccarat crystal decanter has a beautiful, hand-crafted golden-red colour to represent Jim’s ruby anniversary. It is also a hallmark of Baccarat’s finest pieces. To create it, clear crystal is gradually fused with 24-carat gold powder at exactly 540°C to achieve the iconic golden red finish.


Thursday 22 October 2020

Spirits Business Awards Limited By Covid-19


The global Covid-19 pandemic saw many brands unable to submit products to the original Scotch Whisky Masters competition as planned. The Spirits Business therefore staged a second virtual tasting of Scotch whiskies in September 2020, yielding a large number of Master, Gold and Silver medals across diverse categories.

Single Malt: Highland & Islands-Ultra Premium
Glengoyne 18 Years Old Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky:


Just north of Glasgow, near the edge of the Highlands in the Campsie Fells, lies Dumgoyne Hill. Thanks to the crystal clear burn which carves its way down the hillside, the area became a favoured spot of illicit distillers. At one time, as many as 18 stills were said to be in operation in the vicinity.

One of them was owned by George Connell of Burnfoot Farm who applied for a distilling license in 1833, ten years after the passing of the infamous excise act of 1823. Over the years, Connell’s Burnfoot distillery would eventually come to be known as Glen Guin (valley of the wild geese) later anglicised to Glengoyne.

Despite its relatively southern location, Glengoyne is considered a Highland distillery as it stands a small fraction north of the designated line which separates the region from the Lowlands. This allowed Connell the benefit of the tax breaks offered to highland distillers whilst he could also enjoy access to the markets of Glasgow just 15 miles away.

Today, Glengoyne is owned by Ian MacLeod distillers. After increasing the sites production capacity, the current owners have seen the brand grow to become a well established fixture in the single malt market with a reputation for quality and consistency. The core range begins with a standard 10 year old and culminates in an exquisite 25 year old, with the proportion of sherry matured spirit in the blend generally increasing in older variants.

Glengoyne Distillery is known to have the slowest distillation in Scotland. Introduced in 2012, the Glengoyne 18 Year Old was revamped to replace the Glengoyne 17 Year Old. From the Highlands of Scotland, this single malt is matured in a mix of refill sherry casks and a generous portion of first-fill sherry casks. The packaging shows off the stunning golden tone and inviting glow imparted by the lengthy maturation. This is a wonderfully warming whisky for sure and an essential for any sherried whisky fan.

Sir Edwards 12 Year Old Blended Scotch 

Distilled and matured in Scotland then bottled by Bardinet (who owns the brand) in Bordeaux, France, Sir Edward's 12 years old 43% ABV is a rare blend with a very high malt content, according to traditional Scottish distilling methods. It is aged for a minimum of 12 years in oak casks in Scottish cellars. It is a Gold medal - Scotch Whisky Masters 2011 and San Francisco Spirits Competition 2012 winner.

Only the finest grain and malt whiskies go into Sir Edward’s – each one meticulously selected by master craftsmen. Blended to achieve the perfect marriage of flavours then aged in oak barrels, the resulting spirit is wonderfully rich and full-flavoured with subtle notes of wood and malt. Unmistakably Scottish, unashamedly proud and unquestionably great value, Sir Edward’s offers a true taste of Scotland.

After a woody nose with a touch of vanilla, this top quality product reveals a grainy impression with hints of prune. The long and subtle finish reveals hints of toast, toffee and candied sugar. To be enjoyed neat or "on-the-rocks".

Glen Marnoch 12 Years Old Speyside Single Malt

One of the most successful players in the supermarket genre is German chain Aldi when it comes to quality and affordability. Their range is known by the name Glen Marnoch and merely serves as a white label name to cover some of Scotland's major whisky regions. Their standard single malt Speyside whisky priced under £20 (US$25), won a Master medal. It was praised for its dominant Speyside Single Malt flavours.

There’s a great deal of interest around whisky in general whether it’s in the media or talking with strangers in pubs. You can also tell from the most popular articles on Whisky Rover that tend to be these supermarket releases including the odd limited edition from Aldi such as the Glen Marnoch Highland Single Malt Rum Cask Finish

There are Speyside, Highland and Islay variants of Glen Marnoch, meaning that the whisky will be sourced from more than one distillery. Its flavours suggest that Glen Moray, Dalmore and/or GlenDronach are in use. The fact that these whiskies were tasted blind is a positive. Nowadays, it’s all too easy to be swayed by a fancy label, famous name or marketing spin when dealing with a whisky. This award takes everythingback to its essence, the whisky

The fact that this Glen Marnoch matched and bettered some more notable whiskies during the judging does not come as a surprise. The quality of whisky produced across Scotland nowadays is of a consistent standard and blenders have an array of stock when producing a release. It’s a No Age Statement release which fits in with the price point and lack of information generally about the origins. Whenever faced with a single malt bottling, it comes down to the price and the whisky experience. Far too many nowadays are overpriced and deliver very little except being an official bottling from a distillery and some fancy marketing spiel about a loch monster or an ancient witch.

Kingsbarns Dream to Dram

Kingsbarns Distillery was officially opened on St Andrews Day 2014 and has been subsequently been awarded a 4 star visitor attraction award by Visit Scotland. The founder of the distillery is Douglas Clement, a former golf caddie who was inspired to open a distillery near the famous golf courses in the St Andrews and Kingsbarns area.

A Visitor Centre was simultaneously opened by the Wemyss family owners and Clement. Distilling started in January 2015, with the first cask filled in March that year. Scotch whisky has to mature for at least 3 years before it can be bottled, so the Kingsbarns Distillery shop is stocked with the range from the family owner’s other whisky interest, the award-winning independent bottler, Wemyss Malts.

Wemyss Malts’ approach to their malt whisky range is to name the whiskies after each whisky’s natural flavour and aromas to allow whisky drinkers to better imagine each whisky’s taste.

Kingsbarns Dream to Dram scooped a Master in a tasting of premium Lowlands single malt whisky. Kingsbarns’ inaugural whisky was distilled exclusively from barley grown in east Fife. The distillery’s whisky came of age in March 2018. Dream to Dram has been “primarily” aged in first-fill Bourbon casks sourced from Heaven Hill Distillery, while 10% of the liquid has been matured in shaved, toasted and re-charred wine casks.

The Wemyss family owners are from Scotland and their historic family seat is Wemyss Castle in Fife where they’ve lived since the 1300s.

The  Wemyss family also own Wemyss Malts which is an independent bottler with a whisky range including blended malt whiskies; single malt single cask bottlings and the blended Scotch named Lord Elcho after one of the Wemyss family’s ancestors, all of which are available for tasting and sale at The Kingsbarns Distillery.

Benromach Cask Strength Vintage 2009 Batch 4

In 2020, the Benromach family distillery is unveiling its new identity. Benromach single malts are made using a manual method based on the know-how of the master distillers, and are aged exclusively in hand-filled, individually weighed, stencilled by hand casks and stowed in traditional dunnage warehouses, because at Benromach they believe making whisky by hand guarantees genuine character. Crowned with a red cap symbolising the distillery's iconic chimney, and adorned with a new logo inspired by a panel formerly situated on the distillery's pagoda roof, the Benromach bottles salute the history and authenticity of this distillery, which was founded in 1898. This new cask-strength 10-year-old bottling was distilled in 2009. A real little aromatic bomb, it was aged exclusively in first-fill ex-bourbon and oloroso sherry barrels, 29 of them, to be specific, and bottled at 57.2% ABV, from which it draws its powerful notes of spices, candied black and red fruits, and chocolate. Like all Benromach expressions, it has a slightly smoky character of great refinement. A single malt to celebrate the emergence of the new Benromach identity, available in a limited edition.

The Benromach Distillery Company secured a number of medals during the competition including a Master for its Benromach Cask Strength Vintage 2009 Batch 4.

Chivas Regal 18 Blue Signature 

Chivas Brothers, from Pernod Ricard, launched Chivas 18 Blue Signature, a unique Scotch whisky crafted in Scotland in 2018 as an exclusive tribute to Vietnam. 

The rich night blue colour of the Chivas 18 Blue Signature bottle represents hope, success, and growth in business. Chivas is one of the oldest Scottish Highland blended whiskies, crafted in the oldest Highlands distillery, Strathisla. Chivas blends are reputed for their premium aged mix while specially formulated with a higher whisky ratio, i.e. with a higher than average proportion of malts. As a result of being subjected to an extended ageing period in new first and second premium oak casks, the Chivas 18 Blue Signature has a rich, multi-layered flavour. This dedication to old-school distilling methods and the experience to produce only the best Scotch whiskies is evident every time you crack open a bottle. 

Chivas Regal made its debut in New York City in 1909 as a 25 YO premium deluxe whisky, the oldest crafted blend of the era. From there, Chivas Regal Whisky erupted into a global phenomenon, and today, over 4.4 million cases go through the hands of Scotch whisky connoisseurs. Chivas Regal 18 Blue Signature is a uniquely rich & multi-layered blend created by Colin Scott, one of the world’s most experienced Master Blenders. This highly awarded blend is produced using various malt and grain whiskies from distilleries all over Scotland, including its home, Strathisla distillery with its classic Speyside malt. Chivas 18 Blue Signature rewards the senses with 85 unique flavour notes in every drop.

Highland Park Viking Pride Travel Edition

The Travel Edition of Highland Park's 18 Year Old Viking Pride single malt is created from batches of 120 specially selected casks, and is bottled at the slightly higher strength of 46% ABV.

In their 18 Year Old Viking Pride Travel Edition, Highland Park celebrates doing things their own way (the hard way), and their commitment to the craft. Indeed, one crucial aspect of their craft is the marrying process.

The marrying process gives their whisky valuable time to harmonise in the cask before being bottled. A deliberately slow and unhurried stage, long since abandoned by many distilleries, cask harmonisation is what helps them achieve the intense balance that is their hallmark. By bottling their 18 Year Old at its marrying strength of 46% ABV, and using a high proportion of first-fill sherry seasoned European and American oak casks, the whisky’s delicious hints of heather honey, chocolate and cherries are intensified.

Viking Harmony is a rugged balance. It’s the painstaking result of hard work, sacrifice, and fierce dedication. It’s applying tough love and single-minded dedication to create distinctive single malts.

It’s setting up a distillery at the end of the world, knowing that harsh conditions create harmonious whiskies. It’s hand-turning malt, day in, day out, knowing that the hard way is the best way. And it’s making casks the same way our Viking ancestors made longboats, knowing that tradition still defies convention. Viking Harmony is what is dig out of a 4,000-year-old peat moor, 4 metres down, one shovel at a time… with the occasional use of a mechanical digger when more strength is required.

Nothing worthwhile comes easy. If you can appreciate that, then pour yourself a Highland Park, and raise your glass to what’s in it.

Scottish Leader Signature Blended Scotch Whisky

Distell’s Scottish Leader Signature was given a Gold in the Blended – Premium flight for having notes of “dried fruit and lots of cereal” with more of an Island malt influence than the original Scottish Leader, resulting in a smokier blend.

The brand has been revitalised with a new look and an enhanced recipe with a pronounced West Coast island single malt content. Modern, tall and proud, the bottle has clean-edged glass chamfers skilfully designed to show case the rich gold colours of the new liquid. ­The strength of the brand is also represented in the new soaring eagle brand icon, an inherently Scottish symbol, which conveys success, vision and power – the characteristics of a great leader and the essence of the Scottish Leader brand.

­The new, sophisticated Scottish Leader Signature has a more pronounced island malt influence than the Original, with a rich, smoky profile. The new range of Scottish Leader whiskies – enhanced Original and new Signature – are created to encourage people to share and celebrate occasions together, recognising individual and group successes across all aspects of our lives, large and small.

Scottish Leader Signature is an extra special whisky, combining the finest, hand-selected malt and grain whiskies. Inspired by centuries of tradition, the result is a distinctively rich Scotch whisky notes of honey and our signature hint of sweet Hebridean smokiness. Ideal for those seeking a premium blended Scotch that is a little bit different. Scottish Leader is an award winning, internationally respected, blended whisky.

Taisteal Explorer’s Single Grain Whiskies Bags Gold

Hong-Kong-based Milestone Beverages has added a blended whisky and an outstanding single grain to its Taisteal Explorer’s Scotch Series.

Milestone Beverages released its first product, a single malt Scotch, in 2018, which was praised for being affordable, versatile and delivering exceptional quality. The brand’s name is taken from the Gaelic word for ‘journey’. The Taisteal range comprises three different whisky styles: single malt Explorer’s Malt, single grain Explorer’s Grain and blended Scotch Explorer’s Blend.

The single malt is produced at Loch Lomond, one of only four distilleries in Scotland with an on-site cooperage. The distillery is famed for its unique pot stills, which have special distillation trays in the neck, permitting more contact with the cooling alcohol vapour, resulting in different flavour nuances.

The two new whiskies, Explorer’s Grain and Explorer’s Blend, are produced by Angus Dundee. The producer’s signature style is achieved due to the lye pipes, which run upwards at an angle of 15 degrees. Combined with master blending techniques, this results in an “elegant, aromatic, nutty and fruity spirit”.

Explorer’s Malt is said to deliver “mature woodiness” with a “mellow velvety smokiness” and “earthy hints of peat”. Meanwhile, Explorer’s Grain is described as having flavours of toffee and floral notes that lead to a “delicate, silky and fruity palate”. Completing the trio is Explorer’s Blend, which is said to have aromas of chocolate and vanilla fudge, combined with baked spices to create a “rich, balanced and nutty palate”. Each whisky has been bottled at 40% ABV and is available to purchase across Asia, including Hong Kong, and Europe.

The Gauldrons

Douglas Laing & Co’s Campbeltown NAS Blended Malt ‘The Gauldrons’ picked up a Gold medal. The Gauldrons, which represents the sixth region in Douglas Laing’s Remarkable Regional Malts range, takes its name from the “dark sandy coves” in Campbeltown.

After serving with the Royal Air Force throughout WWII, Fred Douglas Laing (FDL) worked with an American friend largely to develop the King of Scots brand to sell throughout Europe and the USA. Soon, FDL took sole ownership of the business and set up preferred filling programs with Distilleries throughout Scotland. Many of these deals remain in place today, some based on a handshake over 70 years on.

Born in 1950, Fred Jr. joined Whyte and MacKay Distillers on a classic, quaintly old-fashioned apprenticeship. Working across all departments, Fred uncovered the secrets of blending and bottling, before joining his father in 1972. In 2015, Fred Jr. brought out the monstrously maritime Malt, Rock Island. This new arrival in turn officially formed the family of Remarkable Regional Malts.

2017 was a landmark year; Douglas Laing and Co. unveiled plans to build a new Whisky Distillery on the banks of the River Clyde. The final Remarkable Regional Malts family member was also unveiled – The Gauldrons from Campbeltown. Occupying a remote location, even by Campbeltown’s standards, on the extreme west coast of Scotland, The Gauldrons literally means “bay of storms”. But, it’s not just the dark storm clouds that set the pulse racing and the hair on the back of your neck stand on end…it’s the beachy 46.2% ABV The Gauldrons.

Tuesday 20 October 2020



Image Source: Glenmorangie

Glenmorangie is a distillery in Tain, Ross-shire, Scotland, that produces highly rated single malt Scotch whisky and is the leading single malt brand in Scotland. The distillery is owned by The Glenmorangie Company Ltd (a subsidiary of Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy), whose main product is its wide range of Glenmorangie single malt whisky. A Highland distillery, it boasts the tallest stills in Scotland, 5.14 metres (16'10"). It is available in Original, 18-, and 25-year-old bottlings, special cask bottlings, cask finishes, extra matured bottlings, and a range of special edition bottlings. Its core range is shown in the picture infra. Left to right, these are the Original 10 YO, Quinta Ruban 12 YO, Nectar d'Or 12 YO, Lasanta 12 YO, Quinta Ruban 14 YO and the Malaga 12 YO. 


Early Days: According to the Glenmorangie Company, the earliest record of the production of alcohol at Morangie Farm is dated 1703. In the 1730s a brewery was built on the site that shared the farm's water source, the Tarlogie Spring. A former distillery manager, William Matheson, acquired the farm in 1843 and converted the Morangie brewery to a distillery, equipped with two second hand gin stills. He later renamed the distillery Glenmorangie.

In 1843, William founded the Glenmorangie Distillery in the Scottish Highlands. Inspired by the Distillery’s peaceful surroundings on the banks of the Dornoch Firth, Matheson brought forth a pioneering blended malt whisky wonderfully complex and exceptionally smooth. Their single malt was to follow some years later. At the end of the 19th century Glenmorangie was being sold at top-end London hotels, as well as being exported.

After WWI, the business was sold to a partnership between two blending and broking firms, Macdonald & Muir and Durham & Co, soon passing entirely to the former, which used the whisky for blends such as Highland Queen. Although it was bottled in small quantities from the 1920s, a change of strategy in 1959 saw Glenmorangie revived as a single malt that soon became Scotland’s biggest seller.

Early success in the infant single malt category resulted in two more stills being added to the original pair in 1976, a number which was doubled again in 1990. 2004 saw ownership go to French luxury goods firm Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy (LVMH). In 2009, four more stills were added, along with a larger mash tun and extra washbacks. More recently, extra warehousing has been built, the result of a decision to mature and vat all the production on-site.

In January 2018, a new stillhouse was built, housing two more of Glenmorangie’s distinctive stills, plus a new mash tun and washbacks. The new facility enabled more experimental runs, with innovations such as the use of stainless steel condensers.


Prestige expressions: Through the years, Glenmorangie whisky creators have dedicated themselves to their craft, in pursuit of perfection. These peerless whiskies are the culmination of their art and effort and include the Signet, 18-25 YOs, Grand Vintage malts and Pride, among others.   

The Process: The process starts with mashing unpeated barley with water from the distillery’s Tarlogie Springs – making this one of a small number of hard water sites in Scotland. Although there is no smoke, once a year some chocolate malt is added to the mash for use in the firm’s Signet brand – another of the distillery’s many innovations.

Fermentation is long, while distillation takes place in the tallest stills in Scotland, all of which retain the same long-necked design of the pair which were brought from John Taylor’s gin distillery in 1887. This extra height allows a long interaction to take place between alcohol vapour and copper and, while the new make is decidedly high-toned with high cut points.

The vast majority of Glenmorangie’s make is aged in ex-American oak casks, many of which have been made to the distillery’s exacting specifications: slow-growth American white oak from north-facing slopes in Missouri, which is then air-dried. The firm’s Astar bottling uses 100% of these ‘bespoke’ casks.

The casks are used only twice, with the second-fill casks all ageing in damp ‘dunnage’ warehouses to increase oxidative-driven flavours. Some of the mature spirit is then transferred to ex-fortified wine (Port, Sherry) and still wine (Sauternes, Burgundy, Super-Tuscan, etc) casks for a period of finishing. Glenmorangie was one of the pioneers of this technique.

Glenmorangie is a simple whisky to understand. All its casks meant for age-stated bottling and all new make is decanted into American oak casks and left there for 8 years. The new make is then shifted to the second-fill casks kept in damp ‘dunnage’ warehouses. Two years later, a designated portion is bottled as The Original. The remaining new make, 10 YO, is then transferred into its final casks, to emerge as 12 YO bottlings. One lot, those in specially selected ruby port pipes from the Quintas or wine estates of Portugal, is left to mature two years more and emerge as The Quinta Ruban 14 YO. 

Private Editions: Starting 2009, the distillery has produced a private expression every year, most of which do not carry age statements, but are not chill filtered and at 46% ABV or higher. These are:

Sonnalta PX (2009) - Finished in PX sherry casks, 1 Litre, 46%.

Finealta (2010) - Part matured in sherry casks, 70cl, 46%.

Artein (2012) - Finished in Super Tuscan wine casks, 15 Year Old, 70cl, 46%.

Ealanta (2013) - Distilled in 1993, matured in American Virgin Oak, 70cl, 46%.

Bacalta (2017) - Finished in Baked Malmsey Madeira Casks, 70cl, 46%.

Companta (2014) - Extra matured in Clos De Tart and Cotes du Rhone Casks, 70cl, 46%.

Tusail (2015) - Distilled from Maris Otter Barley, 70cl, 46%.

Milsean (2016) - Finished in Toasted Wine Casks, 70cl, 46%.

Bacalta (2017)- Finished in sun-baked Malmsey Madeira casks, 70cl, 46%.

Spios (2018)- Matured fully in casks that previously held rye whiskey, 70cl, 46%.

Allta (2019)-Fermented with yeast from Glenmorangie’s own Cadboll barley, 70cl, 51.2%.

Legends: 4 brands are sold as legends, but only in the Travel Reserve Sector. Initially sold as 1L bottles at 43% ABV, they are now available as 70cl bottles at 43%. The Tarlogan, The Tayne, The Duthac and The Cadboll comprise this segment. The Cadboll is a 15 YO and is an annual product. It was, however, pulled out of the Travel Retail section after its debut. Its third edition was released recently this year.


Travel Retail: Three new brands have surfaced in the travel retail sector. These are The Accord, The Elementa and The Tribute. The Accord is a 12-year-old whisky matured in a combination of ex-Bourbon barrels and oloroso Sherry casks. The Elementa is a 14-year-old whisky matured in ex-Bourbon barrels and finished in new charred oak casks, whereas The Tribute is a 16-year-old whisky created to celebrate the distillery’s former use of peat to dry its barley.

To this day, Glenmorangie honours the Distillery’s provenance in their award-winning single malts. Its pure, smooth spirit is distilled in Scotland’s tallest stills, matured in the finest casks and perfected by The 16 Men of Tain, a reference to its early days where a crew of 16 men managed the entire process. And, in the hands of these select craftsmen, now in excess of 16, Glenmorangie looks forward to delight malt whisky lovers with consistent and delectable brands.


As of now, production of Malaga has ceased and it has been reverted to the Limited Edition category.


Saturday 17 October 2020


2020 International Whisky Competition Official Results 

Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, the 11th Edition of the International Whisky Competition was relocated from Las Vegas, Nevada to the mountain town of Estes Park, Colorado for the safety of the judges and staff. The event was staged on 30 June, 2020.

“The Olympics of whisky competitions.” - Jim McEwan, Master Distiller.

The International Whisky Competition® reaches out to an exciting whisky fan community on various social media channels and unique medals are designed to promote each of the winning whiskies. It was launched in 2010 for whisky consumers, distillers and people behind the scene making whiskies. The mission was to create a true competition by offering only 3 medals per category, like in the Olympics or any other real competition.

Their goal is to bring the best whiskies from around the world to be tasted and rated by their professional tasting panel. Unlike other competitions, since 2015, the tasting panel is presented with one whisky at a time, to ensure each whisky gets the proper attention. In-depth notes are taken at every step for review ultimately to be compiled by the tasting panel.

Unique medals! Only 3 medals (Gold, Silver & Bronze) per category. Just like in the Olympics, we believe not everyone can be a winner.

Whisky of the Year
Dewar’s Double Double 32 Year Old (96.4 points)

 Master Blender of the Year

Stephanie Macleod
John Dewar & Sons

Golden Barrel Trophy
John Dewar and Sons

Master Distiller of the Year
Dr Bill Lumsden
Glenmorangie Distillery

Distillery of the Year
Ardbeg Distillery


Best Single Malt Scotch
1st Place: Ardbeg Corryvreckan (96.1 pts)
2nd Place: Ardbeg Blaaack Committee Edition (94.23 pts)
3rd Place: Ardbeg Blaaack (94.20 pts)

Best Single Malt Scotch NAS (No Age Statement)
1st Place: Ardbeg Corryvreckan (96.1 pts)
2nd Place: Ardbeg Blaaack Committee Edition (94.23 pts)
3rd Place: Ardbeg Blaaack (94.20 pts)

Best Single Malt Scotch Under 10 Year Old
1st Place: Ardbeg Wee Beastie (92.6 pts)
2nd Place: Glen Turner Rum Cask Finish

Best Single Malt Scotch 10 Year Old
1st Place: Edradour 10 Year Old (90.0 pts)
2nd Place: Ardbeg 10 Year Old (89.1 pts)
3rd Place: The Cooper (88.5 pts)

Best Single Malt Scotch 12 Year Old
1st Place: Glenmorangie Lasanta 12 Year Old (91.8 pts)
2nd Place: Glenmorangie The Accord (90.4 pts)
3rd Place: Aberlour 12 Year Old (88.7 pts)

Best Single Malt Scotch 13-14 Year Old
1st Place: Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban 14 Year Old (92.2 pts)
2nd Place: Glenmorangie The Elementa (86.7 pts)
3rd Place: The Glenlivet 14 Year Old (85.7 pts)

Best Single Malt Scotch 15 Year Old
1st Place: The Glenlivet 15 Year Old (89.9 pts)
2nd Place: Glenmorangie Cadboll Estate (87.7 pts)

Best Single Malt Scotch 16-17 Year Old
1st Place: Aberlour 16 Year Old (89.7 pts)
2nd Place: Glenmorangie The Tribute (89.1 pts)

Best Single Malt Scotch 18 Year Old
1st Place: The Glenlivet 18 Year Old (92.6 pts)
2nd Place: Glenmorangie 18 Year Old (91.7 pts)
3rd Place: Aberlour 18 Year Old (89.9 pts)

Best Single Malt Scotch 19-25 Year Old
1st Place: Glenmorangie Grand Vintage Malt 1996 (92.4 pts)
2nd Place: Glenmorangie Grand Vintage Malt 1995 (91.40 pts)
3rd Place: Ardbeg Traigh Bhan 19 Year Old (91.37 pts)

Best Islay Single Malt
1st Place: Ardbeg Corryvreckan (96.1 pts)
2nd Place: Ardbeg Blaaack Committee Edition (94.23 pts)
3rd Place: Ardbeg Blaaack (94.20 pts)

Best Highland Single Malt
1st Place: Glenmorangie Grand Vintage Malt 1996 (92.4 pts)
2nd Place: Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban 14 Year Old (92.2 pts)
3rd Place: Glenmorangie Lasanta 12 Year Old (91.8 pts)

Best Speyside Single Malt:
1st Place: The Glenlivet 18 Year Old (92.6 pts)
2nd Place: The Glenlivet Caribbean Reserve (90.2 pts)
3rd Place: Aberlour A’Bunadh (90.1 pts)

Best Lowland Single Malt:
1st Place: 1770 Glasgow Single Malt Scotch Whisky – Peated Release No.1 (87.9 pts)
2nd Place: 1770 Glasgow Single Malt Scotch Whisky – The Original 2019 Release
3rd Place: Auchentoshan American Oak Single Malt Scotch Whiskey

Best Cask Strength Scotch (Over 57% ABV)
1st Place: Ardbeg Corryvreckan (96.1 pts)
2nd Place: Aberlour A’Bunadh (90.1 pts)
3rd Place: Aberlour A’Bunadh Alba (87.9 pts)

Best Peated Scotch
1st Place: Ardbeg Corryvreckan (96.1 pts)
2nd Place: Ardbeg Blaaack Committee Edition (94.23 pts)
3rd Place: Ardbeg Blaaack (94.20 pts)

Best Blended Scotch
1st Place: Dewar’s Double Double 32 Year Old (96.4 pts)
2nd Place: Dewar’s Double Double 27 Year Old (92.9 pts)
3rd Place: Dewar’s 25 Year Old The Signature (92.8 pts)

Best Blended Scotch Under 10 Year Old
1st Place: Dewar’s Caribbean Smooth (88.6 pts)
2nd Place: Dewar’s Ilegal Smooth (87.9 pts)

Best Blended Scotch 12-15 Year Old
1st Place: Dewar’s 12 Year Old The Ancestor (90.4 pts)
2nd Place: Imperial 12 Year Old (89.2 pts)
3rd Place: Dewar’s 15 Year Old The Monarch (88.0 pts)

Best Blended Scotch 16-20 Year Old
1st Place: Dewar’s 18 Year Old The Vintage (85.9 pts)

Best Blended Scotch 21-24 Year Old
1st Place: Dewar’s Double Double 21 Year Old (91.9 pts)

Best Blended Scotch 25 Year Old And Over
1st Place: Dewar’s Double Double 32 Year Old (96.4 pts)
2nd Place: Dewar’s Double Double 27 Year Old (92.9 pts)
3rd Place: Dewar’s 25 Year Old The Signature (92.8 pts)

Full results are available at :

Thursday 8 October 2020



1Johnnie Walker: The No 1 bestselling giant of 2018 continues its reign at the top, albeit with a significant drop in volumes sold vis-à-vis 2018, 2.8% at 18.4m 9-litre cases. It will be celebrating its 200th year in the business in 2020.

The blended Scotch brand reported disparate sales across its portfolio, benefitting from the successful launch of White Walker and the HBO show Game of Thrones. It also launched the 3rd blend in its Ghost and Rare series ex stocks from the shut Glenury Royal distillery in the Highlands. The JW family use Cameronbridge and North British distilleries for its single grain binders, Auchroisk, Benrinnes, Blair Athol, Caol Ila, Talisker, Dailuaine, Cardhu, Royal Lochnagar, Inchgower, Mannochmore, Teaninich and other distilleries for its malt whiskies.    

 2. Ballantine'sThe second placed brand last year, Pernod Ricard’s Ballantine’s retained its position, marking an uptick in sales, which rose 4.6% to 7.7m cases. This brand helped boost PR’s sales with strong double-digit growth in Eastern Europe, Brazil, India and China. 

The blended whiskies in its profile did rather well, from Ballantine's Finest to Ballantine's older bottlings. The former was very prominent in China.


3. Chivas Regal: Pernod Ricard’s Chivas Regal Blended Scotch whisky brand, which dropped by 1.1% to 4.4m 9-litre cases vis-à-vis 2018 has moved up the ladder from fourth to third place in 2019’s top 10. The 12 YO won the Blended Scotch Whisky 12 Year Old award in the 2019 International Whisky Competition.

                                                          Chivas Regal Extra 13   Chivas Regal Mizunara   Chivas Regal Ultis

Chivas Brothers has launched a range of four 13-year-old whiskies as part of a new global collection. This Chivas Extra 13 collection reportedly blends Scotch heritage with flavourful casks. Each cask during the whisky-making process contributes to its own unique combination, delivering four different flavour notes: Spanish Oloroso Sherry, Caribbean Rum, American Rye, and Mexican Tequila.

       Chivas Regal Extra Rum            Chivas Regal Extra Rye            Chivas Regal Extra Sherry   Chivas Regal Extra Tequila

4. Grant’s: William Grant & Sons Ltd is an independent Scottish company that distills Scotch whisky among others. Established in 1887 by William Grant, it is run by Grant's descendants as of 2018. It is the largest of the handful of Scotch whisky distillers remaining in family ownership. 


Grant’s whiskies in sum have declined to 4th spot from 3rd in 2018. The brand, owned by Scottish spirits group William Grant & Sons, saw a drop of 8.4% in 2019 to 4.2 million 9-L cases. The drop was attributed to a major brand overhaul in July 2018, including packaging redesign, a name change from ‘Family Reserve’ to ‘Triple Wood’, and the launch of new expressions – such as Grant’s Triple Wood Smoky – while other products were discontinued. Other experiments include the launch of the Glenfiddich IPA, XX and a 14 YO in honour of the USA.

Distilleries owned by William Grant & Sons are Glenfiddich, Balvenie, Kininvie, Ailsa Bay and Girvan Grain. They pioneered single malt Scotch whisky as, until Glenfiddich, only blended brands were common. Glenfiddich was first sold as a 6 YO in 1963 and is now the world’s leading single malt Scotch brand with The Balvenie a few slots lower. Another very popular seller is their blended whisky, Monkey Shoulder. 

5. William Lawson’s: A Bacardi brand, Blended Scotch William Lawson’s, witnessed a flat performance in 2019, retaining its fifth spot. Bacardi is looking to double its whisky bottling capacity in India and increase market share through entry-level whisky William Lawson’s. This is its first bottling foray outside Scotland.



William Lawson’s Finest Blend is sweet and medium-bodied in style, with a high malt content. At its core is the single malt of Macduff distillery, married with various bold malts and grain whiskies it owns with a difference – no peated whisky is added.

William Lawson started with ‘Lawson’s Liqueur Whiskey’ in 1889. In 1963 Clan Munro Whisky, blender of King of Kings premium whisky, bought the Lawson’s trademark, and agreed to call the brand William Lawson’s. That same year William Lawson Distillers Ltd acquired the 1962/63 Macduff distillery in Banffshire, which distilled and marketed its single malt as Glen Deveron. They expanded with the acquisition of John Dewar & Sons Ltd and five distilleries from Diageo.

Under Bacardi, William Lawson’s sales have risen dramatically, with volumes almost doubling between 2010 and 2014. Introduced into Russia in 2008, Lawson’s is now the country’s largest imported spirit brand. The blend also now enjoys strong sales in France, Spain, Portugal and Mexico.

In addition to Finest Blend, the William Lawson portfolio includes 12-year-old Scottish Gold, 13-year-old Bourbon-Cask-Finished and Super Spiced – whisky infused with vanilla and spice.

6. Dewar’s:  One of the classic blends, Dewar’s has retained its reputation as an accessible, smooth Scotch while modernising its range in recent years. Dewar’s grew volumes by 6.4% to reach 3m nine litre cases in 2019. Consistent innovation and clever marketing have taken the brand past its 2013 volumes again, and secured Dewar’s the title of Scotch Whisky Brand Champion 2020. It has moved one slot up to lie 7th.

Last year, the Bacardi-owned brand released its travel retail-exclusive range, Dewar’s Double Double, comprising three whiskies aged for 21, 27 and 32 years, which have each undergone a fourstage maturation process. The Dewar’s family worked hard to establish their eponymous blended Scotch whisky around the world, with the US market a particular strength.

Dewar’s followed this with its Cask Finish Series, which started with the launch of Dewar’s Caribbean Smooth Rum Cask, created by finishing eightyearold Dewar’s in exrum casks. The Cask Finish Series was extended further this year with the launch of eightyearold, mezcalcaskfinished Dewar’s Ilegal Mezcal. At this brand's core, however, is Dewar’s White Label, which delivers Dewar’s signature soft honey, vanilla and floral flavours, though 12, 18 and 25-year-old expressions are also available.


7. J&B: J&B dropped to 7th on a reduction of sales by -6% to 3 million cases in 2019. Diageo’s J&B brand has unfortunately been falling consistently for five years. J&B is notably popular in southern European markets, and promoted there as the world’s ‘party whisky’.

In May last year, Justerini & Brooks, the maker of J&B, brought distribution of the blended Scotch brand back inhouse after 21 years. The product is a blend of more than 40 Scotch whiskies. Prior to Prohibition (1920-33), J&B had sold modest quantities of whisky in the States, and when the firm’s Director visited the US in 1930 he concluded there would be great opportunities for Scotch once Prohibition ended. Accordingly, in the early 1930s, J&B Rare was developed, designed specifically to appeal to the American palate. 


8. Black & White: A Canadian, James Buchanan formed his own whisky company in 1884 naming his flagship whisky The Buchanan Blend, a light, smooth unpeated expression designed specifically to appeal to the English palate. The malts used were from Dalwhinnie, Clynelish and Glendullan distilleries.

The Buchanan Blend became an instant hit south of the border, reaching the Members Bar at the House of Commons in London. Buchanan then renamed the blend Buchanan’s House of Commons Finest Old Highland whisky, presented in a dark glass bottle with a striking white label. Before long, drinkers began ordering ‘that Black & White whisky’, and in 1902 the name was officially changed to Black and White. By then the brand was being exported across the world, and by 1907 it was being ordered by the emperor of Japan. Two years later it had become the most popular blend in England. Black and White is popular around the world in countries such as India, South Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean.


During the 1920s, the Black & White terriers began featuring more heavily in the brand’s advertising, quickly becoming iconic ambassadors for Buchanan’s flagship blend. In 2013 the brand was given a contemporary makeover, and the terriers made the move onto the bottle’s label for the first time.

9. Label 5: La Martiniquaise-Bardinet’s blended Scotch brand Label 5, which grew by 3.5% in 2019, has moved up one place to the ninth position. Last year, the French group updated the bottle design for its core Label 5 expression to spruce up its “contemporarity and impact”. In 2008, La Martiniquaise purchased the Glen Moray single malt distillery from The Glenmorangie Company, a major component in the Label 5 blend. The grain whisky comes from its 2009-built Starlaw distillery.


Over the years the brand has enhanced its portfolio with a ladder of expressions boasting a large quantity of Speyside single malt, from the flagship Label 5 Classic Black and Extra Premium 12 Year Old, through to the Extra Rare 18 Year Old, slightly smoky Gold Heritage and Sherry cask-finished Reserve No. 55.

10. Famous Grouse: Edrington’s Famous Grouse, the best selling whisky in Scotland for the past 40 years reached the 10th slot, displacing Bell’s, once the No 1 brand in the UK, which suffered a 14.7% drop in sales.

The Famous Grouse has developed into one of the world’s leading Scotch whiskies and in recent years has been flanked by complementary expressions to form a range of its own. The Famous Grouse range also features Smoky Black, which incorporates peated whiskies from Islay and also Glenturret distillery into the blend, as well as a heavily-peated expression, Black Grouse Alpha Edition, which features a higher content of aged malts.

The Naked Grouse was introduced as a premium offering in the range, containing whiskies matured in first-fill Sherry casks for a richer, fruiter flavour. The Famous Grouse Mellow Gold, designed to impart a ‘smoother’ and sweeter palate, is the newest addition to the range. At the same time a distinctly purple-hued redesign of The Famous Grouse’s packaging was implemented in a bid to premiumise the brand.