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The Best-Laid Plans of Mice and Malt... Sometimes Go Pretty Well!

by Sam Smith     18. September 2014 11:50

Douglas Laing Timorous Beastie

An autumnal morn I come to find,
Some lovely folk have been very kind.
A box on my desk! Who left this behind?
A curious thing.
I suppose to me this box was assigned,
But what was within?

With a pen I opened it, like a vault,
And claimed the contents within by default.
Sweeties and whisky, could not find a fault,
My, what a feastie.
Here sat Douglas Laing's newest blended malt,
Timorous Beastie!

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Tasmanian Whisky - Everything You Need to Know! (Part 2: Old Hobart)

by Michael Orson     12. September 2014 15:56

Old Hobart Overeem distillery

In a quiet residential neighbourhood in Tasmania’s charming capital city, you’ll find Casey Overeem’s house, and next to it, his garage.

Got yourself a good garage have you? Bought some nice workbenches have you? Maybe a pressure washer? Built yourself a little toolrack?

Well this chap’s got a whisky distillery in his garage, and that whisky distillery is none other than Tasmania’s critically acclaimed Old Hobart.

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Tasmanian Whisky - Everything You Need to Know! (Part 1: Sullivans Cove)

by Michael Orson     4. September 2014 11:32

Sullivan's Cove distillery

We sent our man in Havana on a fact-hunting mission to Tasmania. Facing all manner of perils, from killer ants to the ferocious Tasmanian devil, he went boldly to every distillery on the island. In this series, we’ll detail his findings and give you everything you need to know about Tasmanian whisky, starting things off with Sullivans Cove from the aptly named Tasmania Distillery – recent winner of the World’s Best Single Malt at the 2014 World Whiskies Awards.

Located at the southeast of the island, Sullivans Cove is where the British first established the settlement which would one day become Tasmania’s capital, Hobart. Starting out as a penal colony, one can only imagine what the inhabitants got up to. By 1824 there were sixteen legal distilleries, and a metric slew of illicit stills. In short, it was party-time in Tasmania. I’d even speculate the residents used the word party as a verb. History hasn’t recorded whether or not this is true.

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The-Eccentric-History-of-Berry-Brothers-and-Rudd-Part-III

by Michael Orson     3. July 2014 10:47

Berry Brothers and Rudd

In 1920, Berry’s was joined by Hugh Rudd, a lover of Bordeaux and German wines. Such an essential part of the business, Hugh Rudd’s name was officially added to the door when the firm became a limited company in the 1940s.

The Second World War raged on, and tragedy struck when two of the partners lost their sons: Francis Berry’s son George Gilbert died leading a charge against in the enemy in North Africa; and Hugh Rudd’s son Brian was killed in action in Italy at just 20 years of age.

No. 3 was never hit directly during the London bombings, though the top floors were badly burnt. The shop itself escaped too much damage thanks to the old wooden shutters which protected the shopfront. Years later, during the 2011 London Riots, these shutters were put to use for a second time (though, in my opinion, Pomerol probably wasn’t on the agenda).

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The Eccentric History of Berry Brothers and Rudd -- Part II

by Michael Orson     2. July 2014 15:17

Berry Brothers and Rudd

The first George Berry was born in 1787 and, at the impressionable age of 16, made the two-day journey from Exeter to London, in which city he remained. He would become an extremely successful merchant, maintaining a clear focus on wine and spirits – a tradition continued by his sons George Jr. and Henry – the original “Berry Brothers” who took the helm in 1845.

Berry’s young life was not without event. In 1838, he signed up as a special constable during the Chartist riots, alongside his friend, the future Napoleon III. Years later, whilst in exile in London, Napoleon used the very cellars at No. 3 to hold secret meetings. Two storeys below terra, the marvellous stone-walled chamber bears his name, and is home to a collection of ancient bottles from centuries ago, back when a member of the gentry would have his own glass bottle stamped with his seal. The sealed bottles would be taken to No.3 to be filled with wine or spirit, and returned when they were empty. Napoleon’s own bottle still stands in one corner.

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Highland Park Dark Origins

by Jake Mountain     2. July 2014 10:04

Highland Park Dark Origins

When we received an invite to the launch of a new core Highland Park expression, we were naturally quite excited. The invite said that we were to be taken into the darkness for a whisky “dark by nature and character”. Having recently released our own Darkness! range we had a pretty good idea what this meant. (Hint: yummy Sherry!)

What amused us about the invite, however, was that there was a hooded chap printed in the background that looked suspiciously like the protagonist from the ’90s computer game ‘Thief: The Dark Project’ (emphasis added). Apparently it’s actually supposed to be Magnus Eunson, the butcher/church official by day, legendary whisky smuggler/illicit distiller by night of Highland Park foundation myth (dating back to 1798). Indeed, whilst other whiskies may have adopted the dark, we’re told that the Orkney single malt was very much born in it. BaneCat would be suitably impressed.

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The Eccentric History of Berry Brothers and Rudd -- Part I

by Michael Orson     1. July 2014 11:03

Berry Brothers and Rudd

Earlier this year, I became rather enamoured with what is arguably the drinks world’s most prestigious address – No. 3 St James’s – home to the wine and spirits merchant, Berry Brothers and Rudd (known henceforth variously as BBR or Berry’s).

This springtime love affair all started with a ‘three martini lunch’ on a surprisingly balmy day in February. I arrived fashionably late at No. 3 and climbed a steep wooden staircase through a locked door at the back of the shop to meet a group of familiar faces from spirits retail. The event’s hosts were BBR’s charming spirits man, Doug McIvor, and Glenrothes’ brand ambassador and gifted raconteur, Ronnie Cox.

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Feis Ile 2014, Tales From The Isle - Ardbeg Day

by Jake Mountain     1. June 2014 16:38

Tales From The Isle Ardbeg Feis Ile

Greetings traveller,

In this final issue of Tales From The Isle everybody was very much in the mood for the upcoming football extravaganza. You must know about the huge sports competition that's now upon us and that everybody has been talking about all around the world - that's right, it's the The Ultimate Ardbeg Distillery Swamp Football Tournament!

Ardbeg Day is celebrated all over the world, not least at the distillery on Islay as part of Fèis Ìle. It's also fair to say that when Ardbeg do something, they do it properly, so there's an awful lot to tell you about here. I'd packed my yellow and blue havaianas and a Brazuca football, but there's always still time for a beastie or two as well...

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Feis Ile 2014, Tales From The Isle - Bunnahabhain Day

by Jake Mountain     31. May 2014 11:04

Tales From The Isle Bunnahabhain Feis Ile

Greetings traveller,

Today we travelled as far north as most ever venture on Islay. In this issue of Tales From The Isle I'll be telling you why we've made this arduous journey as well as sharing the tale (tail?) of the giant fire-breathing lizard of Islay. That's right, the isle was supposedly once home to a formidable and terrifying dragon! Fear not though, as in Game of Thrones, they say all the dragons have now been dead for centuries...

Herein we'll also be taking a look at Bunnhabhain's two Fèis Ìle bottlings and events as they unfolded throughout the day. The reason we were at this particular distillery though was the same reason as all those who take the long road north. We were there to take the black...

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Feis Ile 2014, Tales From The Isle - Kilchoman & Jura Day

by Jake Mountain     30. May 2014 08:09

Tales From The Isle Kilchoman Feis Ile

Greetings traveller,

In this special issue of Tales From The Isle - available with a choice of two covers - we visit both Kilchoman and Jura distilleries! Which cover will you choose? The Kill-choman option, which can be found to the right here (click on it to enlarge… if you dare…) features an ordinary farm scene (from films). After all, all sorts of exciting, terrifying, and actually quite horrendous and messed up stuff always happens on farms (in films). That's why I never stay overnight at a farm unless I've personally witnessed the one, single chainsaw that can always be found on a farm (in films) being grafted onto Bruce Campbell's arm well before bedtime.

The Jura cover, meanwhile... Well that comes from a chilling personal experience...

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