Gordon & MacPhail no longer family run business


Michael Urquhart, managing director until September.

Michael Urquhart, managing director of Gordon & McPhail, is retiring in September. For the first time in the 120-year history of the family company, someone outside the family will run the distillery. Ewen Mackintosh is now the chief operating officer and he will take over from Michael Urquhart after the transition. Mackintosh has spent his career with Gordon & MacPhail, starting out as a student while he was attending the University of St. Andrews. Since 1991 he has been managing whisky supplies and the development of the Benromach Distillery. “We are moving from what I describe as a sibling partnership, myself, my two brothers, and my sister down to the next generation. It’s a positive evolution,” said Urquhart. Urquhart will stay involved in the business in an advisory role. He will also continue his work with the Scottish Council for Development & Industry’s Highlands & Islands Committee.

Source: Whiskycast

Photo report: Speyside trip

On May 24th I went on a trip to the Speyside with the whisky club The Maltclan. We boarded a ferry in IJmuiden (The Netherlands) and arrived in Newcastle the next morning. The goal of the trip was to visit distilleries in the Speyside – what else? We went by the Benromach distillery and afterwards to the Benriach distillery for a nocturne tour. We also did a tour at the Glenfarclas and Deanston distillery and had a short stop at Glenfiddich. Because it doesn’t have to be all about the whisky, we also visited some landmarks and cities. Inverness, Edinburg, Loch Ness and the Speyside Cooperage were on our programme.

On our way to Scotland.

On our way to Scotland.


Caledonian Canal

Caledonian Canal






Photos by Dram 242. Taken with a smartphone.

Early Christmas for Mortlach fans

Oct11-Mortlach16FF-2Recently Diageo decided to double the capacity of the Mortlach distillery. They built an entire new distillery and will now launch a new series of Mortlach single malts. This is a big step in the relaunching of the company’s single malts since The Singletons eight years ago. Diageo is trying to restore the spirit character as closely as possible.
Four new varieties of Mortlach will come out in the summer of 2014 in Asia, the US and Western Europe. There will be a Rare Old (43,4%), Special Strength (49%) and a 18 year old (43,4%) and 15 year old (43,4%) single malt. People who had the honor of tasting one of the new Mortlach single malts say that the whisky has a very different taste than the other Mortlachs. Apparently they have a hint of tropical fruits, green apple, milk chocolate, vanilla ice cream and pecan nuts which make the whisky more elegant. Details on the price will follow later on but as we read on different news sites, the series will be affordable.

Great distillery tour USA

TN whiskey trail

The Tennessee Whiskey Trail takes you across the 11 distilleries in the state and the history of moonshine and spirit. It all started when the government shot down legal distilleries. Moonshiners saw their chance to make some money out of their activities. Unfortunately, they could not follow the demand and distilled their products with paint thinner, kerosene and bleach. This blinded and killed their customers. It went as far as good moonshiners asking the courts to recognize their products and forbid the “rotgut ‘shine”. Luckily today, such issues are no longer the case. But legitimate, unaged spirits can be fun to explore. That is what the Tennessee Whiskey Trail wants to do. It will take you to all kinds of distilleries, some newly opened and others with a long rich-distilling tradition. You have Ole Smoky, George Dickel, Corsair, Green Brier Distillery and of course … Jack Daniel’s.

More information can be found on their website.

Source: Nashville.com


“Scallywag” announced


Independent Whisky Specialist Douglas Laing & Co announced their new Speyside Vatted Malt, named Scallywag. It will be a small batch bottling created using Speyside malts only. Including these whiskies are Mortlach, Macallan and Glenrothes. Scallywag matured in Spanish sherry butts and is bottled at 46% alcohol. Tasting notes show it has a complex taste with hints of vanilla, Christmas pudding, dark chocolate and sweet tobacco. The details are also in the packaging that is inspired on the Douglas Laing family Fox Terriers (as you can see in the image).

Source: whisky-news.com

Expansion Islay distillery

The small Islay distillery has grown to be so popular over the last two years that the owners have built a new warehouse to store the casks and meet the demand of the market. The current production is 26 casks each week. The warehouse has a capacity of 10,000 casks and costs £450,000. Highlands and Islands Enterprise supports the project with a £110,000 grant. The Kilchoman Distillery, which holds Machir Bay and Islay Single Malt, grows its own barley for whisky and is one of the smallest distilleries in Scotland.

Source: Island News & Advertiser

Schiphol Airport sells €250,000 bottle

We all love our tax free shopping at the airport, perfect for last minute souvenirs. Schiphol in the Netherlands has set a record. In the retail shop you can buy The Dalmore Brilliance, for 250,000 euros. It’s the highest value sale of an individual spirit in the travel business. Schiphol Airport is known for its rare and vintage whisky collection but this single malt from 1926 is a special edition. Included in the price is a decanter from diamond specialists Gassan Diamonds, who believe the taste of this whisky is “timeless”. The whisky is made by master distiller Richard Paterson and was distilled and filled to cask in 1868, 1878 and 1926. According to Paterson, the buyer “will experience a whisky that is flawless and refined with an outstanding Oloroso and Apostoles sherry cut from the world renowned Gonzalez Byass bodega.”

Source: The Moodie Report

Photoreport: Jameson Experience Midleton

At the end of June we went to the Jameson Experience in Midleton. Since the new distillery wasn’t available for visits, we visited the old distillery site. The tour was very nice and at the end there was a chance for eight persons to try and distinguish three types of whisky: a bourbon, an Irish whiskey and a Scottish whisky. Afterwards we got offered a free drink. Instead of a dram of Jameson we could also chose a cocktail consisting of Jameson, ginger ale and lime. Slainte!

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Auchroisk distillery

AuchroiskThe Auchroisk distillery in Banffshire (Speyside) is one of the youngest in Scotland. It was founded in 1974 and their first single malt appeared in 1978. Official bottlings exist since 1986 under the name “The Singleton”, probably because Auchroisk was too much of a tongue twister for the average scot. In 2001 they decided to use their own name Auchroisk. Nowadays Diageo uses the Singleton name for different malts on three international markets: Dufftown in Europe, Glendullan in the US and Glen Ord in Asia. Auchroisk is gaelic for “shallow ford across the red stream” referring to the Mulben Burn which is near to the distillery.

The distillery is the fourth one to be built by Justerini & Brooks. At the time they also owned Glen Spey, Knockando and Strathmill. They bought the property when they discovered Dorie’s Well. The architecture is quite remarkable for a distillery because it has futuristic aspects. The steam machine in their offices used to be part of the Strathmill distillery.

Originally Auchroisk whisky was used for blends only. Even though their single malt has a lot of success, over 90% of production is being used in J&B blends. The brand lost its fame when they lost the Singleton name to Diageo.

Good to know: apparently the motto of the official distillery bottlings is “drink quickly” because once the bottle is opened; the cork dries out and breaks easily. This is off course not the case for independent bottlings.