Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Review - Ardbeg Dark Cove

Ardbeg Day, which takes place during the Feis Isle Islay Festival each year, will take a darker turn in 2016 after being renamed Ardbeg Night. This year's limited edition release is named Ardbeg Dark Cove and is inspired by the murky past of smugglers and illegal distillers that inhabited the area around the distillery. A cask strength version (bottled at 55% ABV) has already been released to members of the Ardbeg Committee, which sold out within hours.  Both are said to be the same liquid but simply at different strengths.  The whisky has been predominantly matured in ex-sherry casks with the addition of some ex-bourbon cask stock.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Inbox - The Week's Whisky News (April 29, 2016)

Welcome to this week's Inbox.  For those that have recently discovered us, 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, April 27, 2016

Our Top 5 Whisky Cocktails on thebar



In the eight years that have passed since we started on our whisky journey, the renaissance of the cocktail and the culture surrounding them has flourished. There has been an explosion of creativity in bars and restaurants in cities all around the globe. Mixologists everywhere are bringing to life masterful classics and dreaming up wild innovative new recipes in renovated art deco hotel bars and Prohibition-style speakeasys alike.

This growth has undoubtedly helped the surge in whisky’s overall popularity and helped demonstrate that whisky can not only be drunk neat but can inspire a delicious cocktail recipe. The creativity seems unlimited. A great way to discover some of these new ideas and what you can achieve is by visiting thebar.

Thebar is a website operated by Diageo - the drinks company behind the internationally renowned World Class cocktail competition, the World Class House concept and a multitude of spirits and drinks brands. The website turns the world of cocktail bars, competitions and taste sensations into recipes that can be tried at home. You can select cocktails by spirit type, occasion, recipe or ingredients, even by your preferred mixer or complexity level (be it easy, medium or advanced). There is something to cover everyone.

The whisky section alone has 75 different cocktail recipes and is split in to bourbon and Scotch recipes. Few other websites that we know of have such an extensive list. Each recipe has a step-by-step guide, as well as the units of alcohol included and information about the selected brand.
A simple list of ingredients, the tools needed and tips on how to shake and stir like a pro bartender makes a whole range of drinks instantly accessible.

Here are our Top 5 picks from thebar – we have chosen a selection of classics and ‘classics with a twist’ and hope you have as much fun making and trying them as we did. Simply click on the title to be taken to the full page on thebar.



This modern take on the classic Old Fashioned cocktail uses the Haig Club single grain Scotch whisky and is one of the easiest to replicate from the site. All you need is some Haig Club, a splash each of vermouth and bitters, plus plenty of ice. Perfect as a welcome drink at a party.




This is another simple but tasty cocktail, this time evolving the popular whisky and ginger for which the blended Johnnie Walker Red is perfect. The addition of tart cranberry juice is delicious and refreshing, as is the zest of the lime garnish. Great for a hot Summer’s day or barbeque.




The Rusty Nail is a retro classic cocktail that combines whisky with Drambuie liqueur. This version brings it right up to date by using the new Oban Little Bay single malt whisky, which combines with the liqueur and ice to create a powerful and flavoursome cocktail. Superb for after dinner drinks.




The Manhattan is one of the all time great whisky cocktails and this increases the complexity from our previous three choices. This version combines the Singleton of Dufftown single malt with dashes of vermouth and bitters. After a bit of stirring, straining and garnishing it is ready. Perfect for impressing your sophisticated friends.




The Sour is a staple whisky based cocktail and is traditionally made using bourbon or rye whiskeys. This example uses Bulleit bourbon, although the Bulleit Rye would work equally as well. It’s a bit more complicated and involves the use of egg white, but it is well worth attempting.

All images used are © thebar and are reproduced with permission.


Friday, April 22, 2016

Inbox - The Week's Whisky News (April 22, 2016)

Welcome to this week's Inbox.  For those that have recently discovered us, 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, April 15, 2016

Inbox - The Week's Whisky News (April 15, 2016)

Welcome to this week's Inbox.  For those that have recently discovered us, 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 14, 2016

Review - Benromach Sassicaia Wood Finish

The Sassicaia Wood Finish is a new addition to the single malt range from the small Speyside distillery of Benromach.  The bottling is the latest in a limited edition series of wood finished whiskies, each with part-maturation in a different wine cask. This new expression was distilled in 2007 and has been matured predominantly in first fill ex-bourbon barrels, before being transferred to the ex-Sassicaia wine casks.  Sassicaia is red wine that is produced in the Bolgheri region of Tuscany and is made predominantly using Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes.  The wines are rich and spicy and are sometimes referred to as Super Tuscans.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Review - Exile Casks 'The Trojan'

The Trojan is the fifth bottling in the A-Z series of CaskStrength Creative, AKA whisky writers Joel Harrison and Neil Ridley.  Labelled under the Exile Casks banner this bottling representing E takes the series in a different direction and highlights 'lost' casks from distilleries. This follows previous bottlings in the form of single casks from Arran and Benriach, a cask strength version of Cutty Sark and 3D (a innovative blended malt of Dailuaine, Dalwhinnie and Dufftown). The Trojan is from an un-named Speyside distillery (apparently there is a clue to the identity on the label) and is a 25 years old single cask.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Inbox - The Week's Whisky News (April 8, 2016)

Welcome to this week's Inbox.  For those that have recently discovered us, 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 7, 2016

Review - Laphroaig Lore

Laphroaig Lore is the latest limited edition release from the famous Islay distillery. Lore, which translates as 'speech' or 'story' from the Islay form of Gaelic, is a mix of different ages and styles of Laphroaig. It is a marriage of different malts - the first matured in quarter casks and finished in European oak hogsheads, another matured in first fill ex-sherry butts and some matured in ex-Laphroaig casks. Lore is described as 'the richest ever Laphroaig' by Distillery Manager John Campbell, who co-ordinated the selection of the casks included.  The intention is to release a batch of Lore annually going forwards.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Review - Highland Park Ice Edition

This whisky is the latest limited edition single malt from Highland Park. The Ice Edition follows on from the recent Valhalla Collection and again pulls on the Nordic heritage of the Orkneys.  This expression is inspired by stories of the Ice Giants in Norse mythology and will be followed by the Fire Edition in 2017. The single malt is 17 years old and has been matured predominantly in ex-bourbon casks. It is presented in a blue glazed glass bottle, which in turn is housed in an bespoke wooden stand.  The bottle features an intricate circular design to represent the Viking circle of lifeand is accompanied by a booklet that tells the story of the Ice Giants.