Hot on the heels of our success at the Off License News Drinks Retailing Awards, the World Whiskies Awards 2013 were presented last week at the Waldorf Hotel in London, and, erm, we cleaned up again*.
I’m not going to re-hash the recent blog post I wrote about our success at the OLN awards, but suffice it to say, there’s a reasonable-length post here about the innovations and initiatives we’ve launched in the past 12 months. It’s well worth a read if you’ve not already.
It’s an exciting one, this...
It’s not often that we get involved with Exclusive, Single-Cask bottlings direct from the distilleries themselves, as there’s generally much better value to be had from independent bottlings. We do lots of them instead. Lots and lots.
Every now and then though, something comes along that wouldn’t usually be available on the independent market.
This is one such bottling. A (very, very rare) Peated Balblair. Well, I say that – it’s actually a Balblair that’s been stored in a cask previously used to hold Peated Whisky. Sort of Peated through the medium of cheating. A Cheaty-Peaty whisky if you will.
Another month (well, nearly – it’s been over 3 weeks), another clutch of supremely awesome whiskies bottled by That Boutique-y Whisky Company. This time we’re bringing you whiskies from Brora, Arran, Tobermory, Tormore and Aberfeldy.
Sadly, one of these beauties has already sold out (no prizes for guessing which I’m afraid), but the rest are still available for your delectation:
I’m sure you’ll all remember the frankly fantastic couple of bottlings launched by the irrepressible duo from Caskstrength Neil and Joel in the past year or so?
First up was an Arran – a delight of a whisky with a frankly absurdly low outturn of only 92 bottles. This astonishing bottling rapidly sold out, and is now changing hands for hundreds of pounds on auction sites.
Second was an astonishing Benriach, matured for an impressive 16 years, and finished for 4 of those years in a Pedro Ximenez cask. This too, sold out in incredibly short order.
After ‘A’ for Arran, and ‘B’ for Benriach, must come ‘C’.
Last week was quite a week.
Tuesday evening saw the MoM team in the opulent surroundings of the Dorchester hotel, having been nominated for not one, but two awards at the highly prestigious Drinks Retailing Awards – organised by Off Licence News. Spoiler alert: We won them both.
Like a striding colossus of the whisky industry powered by pure inspiration, awesomeness and zeitgeist*, That Boutique-y Whisky Company have brought you not one, but seven brand new releases, as well as a second batch of Aberlour.
Without any further ado:
I like the Langham Hotel.
I like the Landau restaurant within the Langham Hotel, recently taken over by Albert and Michel Roux Jr. especially as there's a lunch menu which will allow you change from £80 for two people… We'll get onto the whisky in a bit. Patience.
I *really* like the hotel's bar – Artesian, the meeting place for the launch of Glenmorangie's newest addition to their Private Collection. Ealanta. In the last couple of years Artesian has come on leaps and bounds under the supremely competent stewardship of Head Bartender Alex Kratena.
It's possible to get one of the best Martinis in London at the bar in Artesian—The Langham Martini (and for almost £20 including service, it wants to be) and on Wednesday evening I did just that.
It’s a scary place, the brain of Ben.
It consists mainly of Alan Partridge and Father Ted episodes, cocktail recipes, and rain-man-esque recall of horsepower and torque figures for most production cars. There’s also usually something in there about whisky.
What I can tell you about the brain of Ben though, is that these Boutique-y whiskies have recently been upgraded from ‘a bit of fun’, to ‘something with a lot of potential’.
Because of this, you’re going to see a pretty decent number of new releases from brand spanking new distilleries over the next few weeks / months, and if the results of some of the recent whisky auctions are anything to go by, I think we’ll see them selling out in pretty short order.
It’s fair to say that I’ve been a fan of the guys from Fluid Movement (the team behind The Worship Street Whistling Shop, Purl, and the new Dach and Sons) for a while now. In fact, I reviewed Purl almost 18 months ago here should you care to read about it.
It was a somewhat off-the-cuff suggestion that we ‘do something together’ made whilst at the Whistling Shop about this time last year which has ultimately led to the situation of us jointly launching the first retail product from this team of really very clever chaps.
So, without further ado – I give you ‘Cream Gin’. The main ingredient in the Whistling Shop’s signature cocktail – The Black Cat’s Martini.
This really quite marvellous concoction is the brain-child of The Whistling Shop’s erstwhile head barman, and all-round mixological genius, Ryan Chetiyawardana.
In the name of journalistic plausibility, and to make for a better read, I briefly forgot all about the extensive NPD conducted for the product, and the fact that I now know more about vanillin content and fat globule homogenisation than any man has the right to, and caught up with Ryan for a brief Q&A:More...
Well that last batch of Boutique-y whiskies certainly sold quickly. Terrifyingly quickly in fact.
Apologies to all those who didn’t get one from the first edition of the Ardbeg, Macallan or Caperdonich – but fear not – the second batches of all of these are now here, and available for purchase. You’ll notice that all three of them have the new batch number, new ABV, and a minor change to the illustration on each of the labels just to keep it interesting. You’ll also notice that the Caperdonich is cheaper than last time. Don’t say we never do anything nice for you.
We’re working on getting you another Port Ellen release* – more details on this as and when we’re successful.
So – now on to the next whiskies to be added to the series. It was pointed out to me today that completely by accident, we’ve selected 4 Speyside Whiskies, all beginning with ‘a’ and ‘b’. Not planned, just a weird coincidence…