Monday, April 24, 2017

Review - Wild Turkey Rye

This rye whiskey was first released in 2015 and is bottled at 81 Proof (proof is the old American system of measuring alcohol strength and equates to 40.5% ABV).  It joined the popular Wild Turkey whiskey range - this includes the 81 Proof bourbon, 101 Proof bourbon and a stronger version of the rye, called 101 Proof Rye.  The mash bill for this whiskey is 51% rye, 37% corn and 12% barley, and it has been matured in American white oak casks.  The Wild Turkey Rye is available through specialist whisky retailers in the UK and Europe, but is widely available throughout the USA. A bottle should cost between around £30 each.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Inbox - The Week's Whisky News (April 21, 2017)

Welcome to Inbox.  For those new to WFE, Inbox is our weekly round up of whisky news and PR material that has found its way in to our email inbox. It was created as we cannot write full articles or do justice to every piece received. It features items from around the world of whisky and is published by us each Friday.

How Did You Get In To Whisky?

* This article originally appeared on the Huffington Post UK on 19/4/17.




What turned you on to whisky? Was there one experience or a particular whisky you tried that got you hooked? What made the biggest first impression on you? How did you get in to whisky? These are questions that I get asked on a regular basis.

Getting started in the whisky world can be a daunting experience. I found it that way to begin with. There are lots of things that you hear or read that could be true, but you just do not know. These include numerous well-known stereotypes and opinions – Should I add water to my whisky? How about ice? Is single malt better than blended whisky? And so on.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Inbox - The Week's Whisky News (April 14, 2017)

Welcome to Inbox.  For those new to WFE, Inbox is our weekly round up of whisky news and PR material that has found its way in to our email inbox. It was created as we cannot write full articles or do justice to every piece received. It features items from around the world of whisky and is published by us each Friday.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Rum & Cigars - A Match Made In Heaven

* This article originally appeared on the Huffington Post UK on 6/4/17.




Rum and cigars have long gone hand in hand. The combination is largely associated with the Caribbean and one island in particular is synonymous with it. That island is Cuba. Some of the best rum on the planet is made there and it is home to many of the world’s best known and biggest selling cigar brands.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Distillery Visit - Midleton Micro Distillery



Tucked away in a corner of the massive Midleton distillery in Co.Cork is something special. Hundreds of tourists file passed it every day without realising that it is even there. Important and innovative work is going on inside, work which is shaping the future ranges of the distillery’s brands and of Irish whiskey. It is the Midleton Micro Distillery.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Inbox - The Week's Whisky News (April 7, 2017)

Welcome to Inbox.  For those new to WFE, Inbox is our weekly round up of whisky news and PR material that has found its way in to our email inbox. It was created as we cannot write full articles or do justice to every piece received. It features items from around the world of whisky and is published by us each Friday.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Review - The Dublin Liberties Copper Alley

Copper Alley is an Irish single malt whiskey released by The Dublin Liberties.  It was launched in September 2016 and is the company's second whiskey in their fledgling range, following 2015's Oak Devil expression.  The Copper Alley is named after one of the oldest streets in Dublin, which is located within the historic distilling district.  The whiskey used is single malt from an undisclosed Irish distillery and has been matured in ex-bourbon casks for 10 years before being finished in 30 years old Oloroso sherry casks for six months.  Only 31 such casks were used for finishing for this limited edition.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Review - Benromach Sassicaia 2009 Vintage

This whisky is the latest release in the expanding Wood Finish series from the small Speyside distillery of Benromach. All of the whiskies included in this expression were distilled in 2009 and matured in first-fill ex-bourbon casks. These were then hand selected by Keith Cruickshank, the Distillery Manager of Benromach, and transferred to ex-Sassicaia red wine casks sourced from the Bolgheri region of Tuscany in Italy. The finishing period in these casks was 28 months. As with all of the Wood Finish series, this whisky is a limited edition - there are just 7,783 bottles available.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Inbox - The Week's Whisky News (March 31, 2017)

Welcome to Inbox.  For those new to WFE, Inbox is our weekly round up of whisky news and PR material that has found its way in to our email inbox. It was created as we cannot write full articles or do justice to every piece received. It features items from around the world of whisky and is published by us each Friday.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Inbox - The Week's Whisky News (March 24, 2017)

Welcome to Inbox.  For those new to WFE, Inbox is our weekly round up of whisky news and PR material that has found its way in to our email inbox. It was created as we cannot write full articles or do justice to every piece received. It features items from around the world of whisky and is published by us each Friday.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Havana - My Top Five Cocktail Bars

* This article originally appeared on the Huffington Post UK on 14/3/17. 



Cuba is a country that has long been associated with rum, cocktails and cigars. It is spiritual home of classic cocktails such as the daiquiri and mojito and boasts some of the world’s most iconic bars in the capital, Havana. But there are now new places popping up to challenge the older and more traditional establishments. On a recent visit to Havana, I went to check a mix of the old and new – here are my five favourites.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Inbox - The Week's Whisky News (March 10, 2017)

Welcome to Inbox.  For those new to WFE, Inbox is our weekly round up of whisky news and PR material that has found its way in to our email inbox. It was created as we cannot write full articles or do justice to every piece received. It features items from around the world of whisky and is published by us each Friday.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Review - Method And Madness




Method And Madness is a new whiskey range from Irish Distillers, the Irish whiskey branch of Pernod Ricard. This carries a tag line of 'when knowledge and discovery collide', which acknowledges the experimental nature of the new whiskeys.  The range is designed to push the boundaries of Irish whiskey and showcase some of the most innovative work that the blenders, coopers and distillers are producing at the company.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Inbox - The Week's Whisky News (February 24, 2017)

Welcome to Inbox.  For those new to WFE, Inbox is our weekly round up of whisky news and PR material that has found its way in to our email inbox. It was created as we cannot write full articles or do justice to every piece received. It features items from around the world of whisky and is published by us each Friday.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Review - The Quiet Man Blend, 8 years old & 12 years old


The Quiet Man is an Irish whiskey brand that is owned by Niche Drinks.  The brand is named after the father of Managing Director Ciaran Mulgrew, who was a well known bartender in Ireland for over 50 years but a man of few words. His name was John Mulgrew and he was known as 'The Quiet Man'. This translates as An Fear Ciuin in to Irish Gaelic and this also features on the logo.  The current whiskeys in the range are sourced from a third party and matured by Niche Drinks, who are best known for their range of Irish cream liqueurs.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Inbox - The Week's Whisky News (February 17, 2017)

Welcome to Inbox.  For those new to WFE, Inbox is our weekly round up of whisky news and PR material that has found its way in to our email inbox. It was created as we cannot write full articles or do justice to every piece received. It features items from around the world of whisky and is published by us each Friday.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Review - Teeling 24 years old

This whiskey is the latest bottling in the Vintage Reserve Collection from the Teeling Whiskey Company, the leading independent Irish distiller.  The malt used to create this 24 years old expression was distilled in 1991 and has been matured in ex-bourbon casks.  It was then transferred to and finished in ex-Sauternes dessert wine casks. The whiskey is unusual as it also contains a small portion of peated malt, which is a relative rarity within the Irish whiskey genre. The Teeling Whiskey Company was founded by Irish whiskey pioneer Jack Teeling in 2012 and has won multiple awards ever since.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Review - John Walker & Sons Private Collection 2017 Edition


The 2017 Edition is the fourth bottling in the Private Collection range from John Walker & Sons, the super premium branch of the popular Johnnie Walker Scotch brand.  This new expression is entitled 'Mastery of Oak' and investigates how wood character and combinations of casking can influence whisky.  The Private Collection is created by Jim Beveridge, the Master Blender for Johnnie Walker, and his blending team at Diageo. The series was launched in 2014 and the three previous expressions have concentrated on smoky, rich fruit and light honeyed characteristics respectively. 

Friday, February 10, 2017

Inbox - The Week's Whisky News (February 10, 2017)

Welcome to Inbox.  For those new to WFE, Inbox is our weekly round up of whisky news and PR material that has found its way in to our email inbox. It was created as we cannot write full articles or do justice to every piece received. It features items from around the world of whisky and is published by us each Friday.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Review - Glenmorangie Bacalta

The Bacalta is a new limited edition single malt whisky from the famous north Highland distillery of Glenmorangie.  It is the eighth release in their award-winning annual Private Edition range.  As with the previous editions this whisky is the brainchild of Dr. Bill Lumsden - the Director of Distilling, Whisky Creation & Whisky Stocks at Glenmorangie.  Bacalta translates as 'baked' from Gaelic and refers to the ex-Malmsey Madeira wine casks used to finish this whisky.  These were filled with wine and left to mature and bake in the sun on the island of Madeira.  They were then emptied and transferred to Scotland to be filled with part-matured Glenmorangie whisky to create Bacalta.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Review - Roe & Co.



Roe & Co. is a new premium Irish blended whiskey from drinks giant Diageo.  The whiskey has been in development for over two years and has been created by Diageo Master Blender Caroline Martin and her team, during which time over 100 prototype liquids were tested.  This process saw whiskeys sourced from a number of different distilleries across Ireland.  Roe & Co. is designed to capitalise on the current growth in the premium sector of the Irish whiskey category and help grow the category in the bar sector. 

Monday, January 30, 2017

Review - Benromach Heritage 1973

This expression was distilled in 1973 and is the latest expression in the Heritage series of rare single malts from the small Speyside distillery of Benromach. The bottling, which will be exclusive to the UK, consists of just 52 bottles that have come from a single re-fill American oak hogshead (cask #4606). The Benromach Heritage 1973 is presented in a bespoke bottle that represents the shape of the stills at Benromach and wooden casket, both adorened with copper trim.  A specially commissioned book covering the history of the Benromach distillery is also included.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Review - Whiskey Thief

Whiskey Thief is a new bourbon that was launched in the UK late last Summer.  It is the culmination of an idea that formed in 2010 and has been in development ever since.  The aim of Whiskey Thief was to create a bourbon that was accessible to new whisky drinkers in terms of flavour profile and price point.  Many new brands are produced by craft or artisan distilleries and their products are boutique, small batch and expensive as a result.  Whiskey Thief is designed to be the opposite of that and both easy drinking when taken neat or as the base spirit in a cocktail.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Review - Tomatin 8, 15 and 40 years old




This trilogy of whiskies have been released by the increasingly popular Highland single malt brand of Tomatin and will be exclusive to the travel retail sector. All have age statements at 8, 15 and 40 years old. The three new whiskies will join two current one litre bottlings - the 12 years old and the peaty Cù Bòcan - in the range. They are available through travel retailers in Europe now, before being introduced in Asia and the USA shortly.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Review - Glenmorangie Grand Vintage Malt 1990

This whisky is part of a new range of premium single malts and is the first bottling in the series. The Bond House No.1 Collection will showcase some of Glenmorangie's rarest whiskies and cask types that they have maturing at the distillery in the north Highland village of Tain. This inaugural release is the Glenmorangie Grand Vintage Malt 1990 and consists of a small pocket of stock matured in ex-bourbon and ex-sherry casks. These have been hand selected by Dr. Bill Lumsden - the Director of Distilling, Whisky Creation & Whisky Stocks at Glenmorangie - and was made from barley taken from one of the worst harvests in living memory.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Review - Haig Club Clubman

The Clubman is the first permanent addition to the Haig Club single grain Scotch whisky range. Like the original Haig Club, which was launched to much media coverage in 2014, the new Clubman is a collaboration between brand owners Diageo, ex-footballer David Beckham and media guru Simon Fuller.  The name is inspired by a 1922 advertising campaign for Haig whisky that celebrated a series of whisky-drinking clubs and marketed as 'The Clubman's whisky since 1627'.  The Clubman is designed be the mainstream product in the range with Haig Club being the luxury option.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Review - Lagavulin 1991

This new whisky is the third and final limited edition released to commemorate Lagavulin's 200th anniversary in 2016.  The whisky was officially announced on December 31st to round off a year of celebrations for the Islay distillery.  This release is the rarest of the three and consists of just one ex-Oloroso sherry cask.  This cask was chosen during 2016 by a select group of people including Ivan Menezes, the CEO of Diageo, Georgie Crawford, the Distillery Manager of Lagavulin, and Iain McArthur, a veteran of over 45 years in the whisky industry and Lagavulin legend.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Review - Ballantine's Hard Fired

Ballantine's Hard Fired is a blended expression created using a double-charred cask product process which produces an expression with enhanced flavours of sweet smooth vanilla and spicey smokiness.

The signature 'Hard Fired' process takes a specific selection of American oak casks which are then charred a second time to a specific level that is judged by sight by the highly experienced coopers. These best of these casks are then filled with a unique Ballantine's blend to rest.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Inbox - The Week's Whisky News (January 13, 2107)

Welcome to the first Inbox of 2017.  For those new to WFE, Inbox is our weekly round up of whisky news and PR material that has found its way in to our email inbox. It was created as we cannot write full articles or do justice to every piece received. It features items from around the world of whisky and is published by us each Friday.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Review - Compass Box Spice Tree Extravaganza

The Extravaganza celebrates the 10 year anniversary of the legendary Spice Tree release. This was famously banned by the Scotch Whisky Association due to un-traditional maturation methods when it was first released. The new expression is a blend of three single malts - Allt-a-Bhainne, Benrinnes and Glen Ord - and three pockets of 'Highland Malt Blend' (consisting of whiskies from Clynelish, Dailuaine and Teaninich) that have been matured in 'hybrid' casks.  This is a limited edition release and there are just 12,240 bottles available, which is presented in special commemorative packaging.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Playing To Your Strengths

* This article originally appeared on the Huffington Post UK on 5/1/17.

The current buzzword in the Scotch whisky industry seems to be experimentation. This year we have seen major brands releasing whiskies that have been matured in funky wine casks, creating new recipes and collaborating with craft beer brewers.

Experimentation has generally been seen as the realm of the craft or artisan distiller, especially those new to the scene. The major players argue that they have always been experimenting throughout their history and that this is simply taking it to the next level.

So what are the big whisky brands trying to achieve from this experimentation? Is it to simply diversify their range? Is it to make their product more attractive to a wider audience or new drinkers? Or is it to be seen as a ‘craft’ product themselves?

Friday, January 6, 2017

Our Top 10 Whiskies of 2016




Well, it is that time again - the time when we reveal our Top 10 whiskies from the previous year.  This always proves to be one of the most fun posts to write and one of the most popular with readers.  It also allows us some time to reflect on what has happened during the whisky year.  Personally we attended nearly 60 events or whisky shows, numerous press trips and distilleries, and sampled and reviewed over 100 whiskies.

2016 seemed a year of innovation and experimentation that saw big brands and smaller producers alike pushing the boundaries and released a wide spectrum of products to an ever-growing consumer base.  Some of these products have impressed us and are included in our Top 10.  They sit alongside more traditional whiskies that could well become modern classics.

Any Top 10 is always subjective and ours is no different.  Our criteria generally include quality, value for money and availability.  We are sure that some will agree with our choices and some will disagree - after all, it has happened every year that we have been doing this.  This year's selection ranges in price from £25 to £16,000 a bottle.  Here is our Top 10 for 2016 in alphabetical order.