Whisky News, March 2013
by Gavin D Smith
The Teeling family sold its Cooley distilling operation near Dundalk in Ireland to Beam Inc for some $95 million in early 2012 but is continuing to play a role in the world of Irish whiskey, launching its
small-batch blend Teeling Whiskey ahead of St Patrick's Day. This is a blend of Irish grain and malt whiskeys that have been married in rum casks before bottling at 46%. It is described as having a "…higher than normal composition of first fill Bourbon barrels and higher than usual ratio of malt to grain."
The Teeling Whiskey Co declares that "Our goal is to have a portfolio of different expressions of Irish whiskey, allowing people to taste the full spectrum of styles and flavours Irish whiskey can provide."
Prior to the introduction of Teeling Whiskey, the company had launched Hybrid Whiskey, described as "The offspring from marrying award winning aged malt whiskies from around the world," and also offers a
non-aged new make spirit bottled at 61.5 per cent under the Poitin label.
The flavoured whiskey category has proved a real money-spinner for distillers in the USA, with Jim Beam, Jack Daniels and Wild Turkey being to the fore. Now, Dewar's, the leading blended Scotch whisky brand in the
USA, has entered the fray with its Dewar's Highlander Honey.
The honey-infused brand is priced slightly above Dewar's White Label, and, according to Arvind Krishnan, vice president, brand managing director for Dewar's in the USA, "We're trying to reach out to a younger, newer consumer and speak to them in a language that they'll identify with, in an environment that they'll want to be in. Dewar's Highlander Honey takes that one step forward."
He adds that "When you look at what's happening in Bourbon and the overall flavour trends in the US, we figured it was time to create an offering that is still truly Scotch, but gives those who play with
flavour trends an option to play within Scotch."
Glenmorangie has launched an innovative venture to create a new limited edition single malt expression, embracing input from Glenmorangie drinkers. 'Glenmorangie Cask Masters' will run for 18 months and involve consumers across the world in the development of a new release to launch in late 2014.
According to a company spokesperson, "Working with Dr Bill Lumsden, Director of Distilling and Whisky Creation at the Glenmorangie Company, consumers will be able to join him on a five-stage journey where their opinions and votes will determine the outcome of the new whisky. The winning dram will be chosen from three different ageing whiskies that are nearing the end of their maturation at Glenmorangie distillery."
During the 18-month programme participants will be able to vote for their favourite of the three maturing whiskies, be involved in the naming of the new expression, and decide what direction the packaging and design will take, as well as help choose the location of the launch and win the chance to attend it.
At each stage, they will also be able to win prizes, including a VIP visit to Glenmorangie distillery and a trip to the country of origin of the oak cask in which the winning whisky has been matured.
Bill Lumsden has already revealed his selection of the three whiskies to a group of international whisky experts, who have all independently offered their initial views on his selection. Their tasting notes are available on the Glenmorangie Cask Masters website to guide those taking part.
Lumsden says that "This is a very bold move for us - for years we have listened to fans of the brand and their views and reactions to the whiskies we have introduced. Now it's their turn to become truly involved
and I hope as many whisky aficionados as possible around the world will be able to join in and enjoy each stage of this exciting 18 month journey. We have crafted three rare whiskies for fans to choose from and
those participating will be able to follow the process and interact online at www.glenmorangie.com/caskmasters."
For anyone who has a fondness for music with their whisk(e)y, the place to be in June is Old Bushmils distillery in Northern Ireland. On 19th and 20th June Bushmills Live - billed as 'the world's only indie music festival in an Irish whiskey distillery' - is staged at the Antrim venue, and headlining the event is Icelandic Indie folk band Of Monsters and Men.
According to a Bushmills spokesperson, "Only 500 tickets are available globally for Bushmills Live, which will see both iconic and emerging artists share the stage for a series of intimate gigs in age-old
buildings at the historic Old Bushmills distiller. The 'money can't buy tickets' will not go on general release. Instead, music and whiskey fans can win the chance to attend the festival by entering a draw
on the Bushmills Irish Whiskey Facebook page - facebook.com/bushmills1608.
Bowmore has introduced a Water Programme to selected on-trade outlets around the world, with the intention of explaining to bar staff, and thereby customers, that adding water to a dram is not an unpardonable folly, but actually serves to release additional aromas and flavours.
Participating venues will be supplied with either a Water Safe, a hand-crafted and individually numbered copper water dispenser inspired by the spirit safe in the Bowmore still house, or a Tilter, which is described as "…a more fun and quirky dispenser that tilts on an axis and allows a fine flow of water to be dispensed from one side or small droplets from the other."
Cara Laing, Bowmore Marketing Manager, says that "We are very aware of the great debate surrounding the addition of water to whisky and wanted to tackle this head on. We've created these innovative and beautiful water dispensers in the hope that people will discover for themselves their favourite way to enjoy their single malt, whether with or without water!"
Master Blender Rachel Barrie adds that "Bowmore is an amazingly complex and harmonious whisky with an enigmatic flavour spectrum. The spirit takes the drinker on a sensory adventure through sweetness and ocean
spices with multiple layers of fruit and smoke. Adding water allows the drinker to unlock Bowmore's waves of flavour on a journey through its creation. The taste adventure is just beginning."
The Macallan has recently launched a limited edition hip flask - hip in every sense - in collaboration with "sport and lifestyle brand" Oakley Inc. According to The Macallan, "Entitled 'The Flask', this latest collaboration for the brand has an edgy, adventurous feel. It underlines both The Macallan's credentials in innovation whilst adhering to the brand's unwavering commitment to precision and detailed craftsmanship.
"The Flask, which can hold 20cl, is extremely robust in functionality with every potential circumstance and environment of usage considered. The inner flask is laser welded, wrapped in carbon fibre composite and clad in aerospace grade aluminium."
Take a look at 'The Flask: Test Sessions video' where the item in question is tied to the back of a gull-wing Mercedes and an AC Cobra, both driven by Gorgeous People, and dragged around a circuit in the sort of manner that would doubtless gain approval from the 'Top Gear' team.
I once ran over my father's Grant's freebie pewter hip flask in a Hillman Hunter and I have to admit The Flask emerged from its rather pointless ordeals in much better shape, though at £600 a go
(from www.themacallan.com) I guess it ought to…