[UPDATE] Now we know what the hype is called...

UPDATE:  "sources in Scotland" have confirmed that the list below is accurate, but no concrete details on which malts will make it to us here in the states. Also Caol Ila DE is coming to the states in October. Here's hoping we get to sample some of these newsmakers at WhiskyFest SF 2009!

A couple of days ago John Hansel clued us all into something special coming from Diageo regarding their malt whiskys on the 4th of September. This always leads to rampant specuation and more than a few google searches. I don't know exactly what is coming, but at least it has a name now;

The Manager's Choice Single Cask Selection.

Posted in Submitted by Mark on Sun, 08/30/2009 - 21:35.

Good News or Bad News

One of my idle daydreams is to take possession of and restart a silent distillery. The two news stories here and here point to good news for the Scotch industry but bad news for me and my idle daydreams.

Soaring demand for Scotch whisky around the world has prompted another major distiller to announce expansion plans, this time on Speyside.

Chivas Brothers yesterday said it was reopening its mothballed Braeval Distillery and extending its Glenlivet production plant.

Diageo is also adding capacity like crazy:

Work started recently on the £40million plant at Roseisle in Moray - part of a total £100million investment in whisky by Diageo.

as is everyone else in the industry:

Posted in Submitted by Mark on Tue, 03/04/2008 - 17:07.

Rob Roy

The Rob Roy is basically a Manhattan made with Scotch whiskey. It is named for Robert Roy MacGregor.

I don't have my own recipe yet, but I will get one together after some experimentation. I think that finding the right ingredients for me will take some thought. Many of the Scotch whiskeys that I would choose are "done". The idea of using Vermouth and bitters to "enhance" a scotch seems like using neon spray paint to enhance the David. Maybe that's just the single-malts talking again.

I think I will try Scotch that is generally available, one that could take the new flavors as an addition instead of grafitti. Johnny Walker Red or Black are used commonly but I try to be different, so maybe Glenfiddich. Using Johnny Walker Green seems like a case of subtraction by addition, but anything is possible. I won't know until I try. A lowland single malt Scotch would be from the same neighborhood as Rob Roy himself, though bitters and Vermouth aren't exactly local.

The IBA describes it this way:

Posted in Submitted by Mark on Tue, 02/19/2008 - 07:30.

The Manhattan

Even though the Martini gets all the press these days, the Manhattan is an older drink with stronger provenance. Where the modern Martini bears little resemblance to its early incarnations, the Manhattan has retained much of the original character. Both can easily find their roots in the 1800's but were developed on opposite coasts.

My first Manhattan was made with Crown Royal as I will describe below. This seemed like a perfectly reasonable choice for a Manhattan, but for some reason the last couple bar tenders have not agreed.The last time I ordered a Manhattan, their preference was for Maker's Mark. The traditional whiskey was rye, but like so many modern interpretations of old drinks, bourbon has become the whiskey of choice.

I serve my Crown Royal Manhattans in a martini glass, stirred and straight up. Here's my recipe:

Posted in Submitted by Mark on Tue, 02/19/2008 - 05:47.

The Old Fashioned

The Old Fashioned is cited as the oldest cocktail. This claim comes from the early 19th century and defining the word "cocktail" in a manner that describes this very drink. So deeply rooted in cocktail history is the Old Fashioned that the glass it is served in is called an Old Fashioned.

As I've been sharpening my palate on single malts, my thirst for cocktails has waned. There are a couple though that will meet my need for complexity and variety at a basic bar. The old fashioned is wonderful in that it brings added character, body and flavor to normally pedestrian whiskeys. When it's made with a really good bourbon like Bulleit, it's even better.

Here is my personal recipe for the Bulleit Old Fashioned:

  • 7.5 ml (1/4 oz) simple syrup
  • 5cl (1.5oz) Bulleit Bourbon
  • 3 dashes Angostura bitters

Mix all ingredients over 3-4 ice cubes in an old fashioned glass. No garnish is required. Zest with orange and rub the rim if you want some extra citrus zap, but you don't need it.

Posted in Submitted by Mark on Mon, 02/18/2008 - 11:10.


John Hansell had an interesting opportunity to taste some of the 1500 experiments happening at Buffalo Trace. Some wild and exciting ideas are flowing over there.

In the comments on his blog, someone has come up with a similar idea to one of my favorite thought experiments; smoke from non-peat sources. This came to me while I was grilling whiskey chicken with apple chips. The flavor combination was wonderful and got me thinking about how other smoke sources would work when halting malt.

Mike and I have talked about our future in this business, and we keep coming back to the desire to create our own whiskey. I think about maturation in the micro-climate of the Half Moon Bay coast which should give the slow temperature transitions more like Scotland than Tennesee. Many distilleries are using different wine casks, we're right next to Napa and have a wealth of varieties to use for maturation.

Posted in Submitted by Mark on Fri, 01/18/2008 - 11:09.

Long on shortages

The George Dickel shortage story is getting quite a bit of ink. The more interesting story there is what they did to put a positive spin on the situation.

John Hansell notes in his blog entry  that we're going to see more shortages across the range in the near future.

Independent bottlers will continue to struggle accessing stocks of quality whisky. My advice here: try before you buy to make sure you know what you’re getting.

This is the worst news for me yet, I'm rapidly becoming a fan of the independents and their selections. The Beltramo's Highland Park 1990 is amazing.

I'm looking forward to 2008 and seeing what it holds for me. Mike and I toasted in 2008 as the year of the Whiskey Bros.

Posted in Submitted by Mark on Thu, 01/03/2008 - 17:12.

Whisky Quotes (and last words)

"You can't drink all day if you don't start in the morning" is probably the only quote not listed on this page.

That's probably because it can only be attributed to "a wise person"

Posted in Submitted by Mark on Thu, 12/06/2007 - 22:35.

'Spirit' of the Irish

This article describes some details of a trip through what she calls "Ireland's Whiskey Trail".

Looks like a trip I'll have to take, as soon as my eldest son is old enough to be designated driver.

The story is well worth the read. But the images in the photo gallery are the greatest.

Middleton Whiskey, one of the finest whiskies I've ever tasted

Posted in Submitted by Mark on Sun, 11/25/2007 - 12:43.

Fun Links

Here you will find a list of entertaining links to other site that are somewhat slightly related. Or we just think they're cool

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