News

  • JOSHUA VIDES REIMAGINES BALLANTINE’S ICONIC BOTTLE AND BACK STORY FOR STRIKING MONOCHROMATIC LIMITED-EDITION – Scotch Whisky News January 16, 2021

    JOSHUA VIDES REIMAGINES BALLANTINE’S ICONIC BOTTLE AND BACK STORY FOR STRIKING MONOCHROMATIC LIMITED-EDITION

    Joshua Vides reinterprets the world of Scotch whisky to redesign Ballantine’s iconic bottle, a series of pop-up bars and a limited-edition briefcase in a nod to the brand’s prohibition era past.

    Ballantine’s Scotch whisky has teamed up with renowned artist Joshua Vides, who brings his signature black and white touch to its new limited-edition.

    Staying true to his style of reinterpreting everyday objects to make them unique, Vides has been invited by Ballantine’s to reinterpret its iconic Finest bottle and gift tin, as well as elements of the brand’s rich legacy and pioneering spirit.

    The California-based creative is known across the globe for his comic book style transformation of objects and spaces with hand-drawn illustrations and bold linework. His work and style embody Ballantine’s ethos of doing things your own way; taking an original approach to design with everything he does, without compromising his artistic integrity.

    Just as Ballantine’s looks to break the conventional codes of whisky and challenge people’s perceptions of Scotch, Joshua does the same through his perspective-altering visuals. To overcome prohibition laws in 1920, Ballantine’s launched its rectangular bottle to be concealed in briefcases.  Inspired by the story 100 years later, Vides has not only reworked the iconic bottle, he has also designed a one-of-a-kind briefcase which will be dropping soon worldwide.

    Installations are a staple of Joshua Vides’ artistry, so to further celebrate the launch, he will be reinterpret the place where Ballantine’s is best enjoyed – the bar – by creating a series of striking black and white spaces, that will be popping up in cities from Poland to China at the start of next year, with programmes of exclusive events and workshops.

    Joshua Vides said of the collaboration:

    “I’m more than excited to be working with Ballantine’s on my first official bottle. From the jump the energy has been high and we’ve been able to organically create elements in this project from start to finish. I believe we share a similar drive and determination to create on our own terms. Do it yourself mentality till the wheels fall off.“

    Ballantine’s Marketing Director, Mathieu Deslandes, added:

    “Ballantine’s has such a rich heritage that we’ve been able to explore and elevate through our collaboration with Joshua. Our approach is very similar which has made the whole project as exciting as it had been collaborative. We are all about championing those who do things their own way as we do with Scotch – and Joshua does the same with his artwork. The limited editions are our most disruptive to date and we look forward to turning shelves black and white across the world.”

    Designed in Joshua Vides’ signature style, the Ballantine’s x Joshua Vides limited-edition bottles will be available from 24th November on Amazon in the most disruptive change to the Finest bottle since its launch in 1827.

     

    Keep an eye on Ballantine’s and Joshua’s channels for more information on how you can get your hands on the one-of-a-kind briefcase.

    For more on the Ballantine’s x Joshua Vides collaboration visit ballantines.com

  • FIRST EVER COMPASS BOX AUCTION CELEBRATES THE 21ST CENTURY REINVENTION OF THE BLEND – Scotch Whisky News January 16, 2021

    FIRST EVER COMPASS BOX AUCTION CELEBRATES THE 21ST CENTURY REINVENTION OF THE BLEND

    When it comes to the art of whisky making, it is often creativity and the courage to experiment that results in the creation of something exceptional.

    Now, a collection of bottles produced by one of the world’s most innovative whisky makers, Compass Box, is going under the hammer in an exclusive online auction hosted by Whisky Auctioneer. From today (Thursday 14th January) until 18th January, over 130 expressions including 70 limited editions produced by the disruptive blender will feature in the sale, including the company’s inaugural release, Hedonism, which  launched in 2000.

    Collated by one devoted and anonymous whisky enthusiast, known only as Pat, this Compass Box collection was part of Pat’s extraordinary library of over 9,000 bottles. Fuelled by a passion to learn, sip, share and savour whiskies from around the world, his genuine interest took him beyond tradition to discover boutique expressions bursting with quality and character.

    In what marks the first dedicated Compass Box auction in the brand’s history, and the largest offering of its expressions to go on the secondary market from a single owner, Pat now hopes to spark the same interest in budding collectors.

    The auction will also offer collectors and whisky fans a number of exclusive U.S only bottlings, including the ultra-desirable collaboration with Bern’s Steak House in Tampa, Florida.  The collaboration gave rise to Bern’s Blended Grain, a 41 Year Old made up of five unique casks from Strathclyde and Girvan. Of the 618 bottles produced, only 120 were available in retail.

    Other sought after and limited expressions to feature include Mariage, Optimism, Lady Luck, The General and the 10th Anniversary Hedonism bottling celebrating the company’s ten year milestone; this was an extremely rare bottling of 38 year old Invergordon single grain whisky distilled in 1971, of which there are just 120 bottles in existence.

    James Saxon, Whiskymaker at Compass Box:

    “In a collection whose stated aim is amassing whiskies that offer both rarity and serious drinking pleasure, it is wonderful to see so many Compass Box releases represented amongst these 9,000 bottles. We started Compass Box to share the joys of Scotch whisky with more people, an ethos that clearly resonates with this collector.

    “To see so many of our past projects and releases represented – and in their own auction – is a first for us. If successful bidders would like to learn more about the stories and processes behind their new whiskies, they have only to reach out to us.”

    Joe Wilson, Head of Auction Content at Whisky Auctioneer, said:

    “This is the first time that a dedicated collection of Compass Box has become available at auction, so we’re very excited to offer our whisky fans such a varied selection of whiskies that can really add something novel to their collections.

    “Blends have been soaring in popularity as more and more whisky fans look beyond the boundaries of what is traditionally perceived as quality, and we are delighted to spotlight the flag-bearers for the 21st century revival of the category.”

    Over the past 12 months Whisky Auctioneer has recorded an increase in page views by over 25% for Compass Box, and the value of its whiskies has risen significantly, with their inaugural release increasing by over 850% in value since 2015.

    Boundary breakers and masters of innovation, Compass Box was founded in 2000 by John Glaser, a former marketing director for the Johnnie Walker brand, who fell in love with Scotch whisky and the idea of blending whisky as a creative art. Its core range consists of The Spice Tree, The Peat Monster, Oak Cross, Asyla and Hedonism blends and aims to reinvent the Scotch whisky category with its exceptional quality and limited releases.

    Whisky Auctioneer’s auctions are world leading and record breaking. Unmatched in auction volume, variety of bottles offered, prices achieved, global reach, service standards upheld and broadness of knowledge and expertise, the company is truly a global authority.

    To find out more and to register to take part in upcoming auctions please visit www.whiskyauctioneer.com

    Notes: 

    About Whisky Auctioneer 

    Whisky Auctioneer is the global market leader and trusted authority on the buying and selling of whisky and spirits at auction.

    Founded in 2013 and located in Perth, Whisky Auctioneer utilises its expertise and knowledge combined with its auction platform, to increase interest and passion in the whisky and spirits community.

    Whisky Auctioneer endeavours to make the market more accessible for buyers and sellers of any background and geography. Its monthly global auctions feature the most comprehensive selection of old, rare and collectible whiskies and spirits available online. Whisky Auctioneer is passionate about connecting these bottles with those who share in their passion and actively support their customers in their aims, whether that be consuming, collecting or investing.

    About Compass Box 

    Compass Box is a blending company founded in 2000 by John Glaser, a former marketing director for the Johnnie Walker brand. Their core range consists of The Spice Tree, The Peat Monster, Oak Cross, Asyla and Hedonism blends, and they regularly produce limited editions as well. The company prides itself on its boundary-pushing approach to its creations, and on occasion, boundary-crossing creations, such as the original Spice Tree in 2005 which was banned for its use of suspended staves in casks.

    They have gained worldwide attention, including from the single-malt oriented collectors impressed by the whisky makers skill in marrying whiskies together to create something greater than the sum of its parts.    

    Visit:  www.whiskyauctioneer.com

    Instagram: whiskyauctioneer

    Facebook: WhiskyAuctioneer

    Twitter:  Whisky_auction

  • An Exclusive Caol Ila 10 Year Old at Strikingly Low Price – K&L California Scotch Whisky News January 16, 2021

    A Most Memorable Islay Malt at a Ridiculous Price
    2010 Islay Strait (Caol Ila) 10 Year Old “Sovereign” K&L Exclusive Single Sherry Butt Finish Cask Strength Blended Malt Scotch Whisky (750ml) ($69.99)
    “… this is one of the biggest scores we’ve had in a while.”
    — David Othenin-Girard, K&L SoCal Spirits Buyer

    NOTE: Our walk-in retail locations are currently closed. We have curbside pickup and low cost (often free) delivery options available in ZIP codes where we can ship lawfully, including anywhere in California. We can also include any new or existing will call orders in your delivery batch. Choose local delivery at checkout to learn if you qualify.

    One of the truly great distilleries of Islay is Caol Ila. The string of casks from them that we’ve presented over the years has served to burnish their impeccable reputation, making them strong favorites among our customers. You can add to this long line of incredible casks the 2010 Islay Strait (Caol Ila) 10 Year Old “Sovereign.” A “teaspooned” rendition, it is one of the most unique offerings we’ve had the pleasure to taste. Because a touch of Bunnahabhain has been added to this cask, we are able to offer it for a meager price, making it one of the sharper Scotch buys on our shelves. Smokey and with Caol Ila’s trademark fruitiness, this malt takes wonderfully to its sherry cask influence. A hauntingly seductive dram, it shows a delightful interplay of sweet and savory tones. 10-year-olds from Caol Ila are often priced well above the $100 mark, so finding this one for $70 is quite remarkable. Any fan of Caol Ila will want to experience this one-of-a-kind expression. As with all of our cask exclusives, there’s never enough to go around, so make sure to act quickly to add this beauty to your collection.

    2010 Islay Strait (Caol Ila) 10 Year Old “Sovereign” K&L Exclusive Single Sherry Butt Finish Cask Strength Blended Malt Scotch Whisky (750ml) ($69.99)

    Anyone who has taken the ferry to the Isle of Islay from Kennacraig to Port Askaig has seen this special distillery from a unique vantage point. As you motor up the Islay Strait to the port the ferry begins a big sweeping turn into the harbor and you get a spectacular view off the starboard side of Caol Ila’s warehouses and massive distillery. It’s a special introduction to the spectacular beauty of Islay. If you were to skip the port and carry on up the strait you would find Bunnahabhain, and so it was a natural choice for the teaspoon of liquid gold we needed to add to the cask and bring the price of this 10-year-old down far below the $100 mark. Caol Ila’s natural fruity and smoky profile meshes wonderfully with a sherry butt finish that adds an impressive dark color and nutty flavor to a perennial favorite.

    David Othenin-Girard | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: January 05, 2021

    The simple fact that we can get and sell Caol Ila over 10 years old for less than $70 as a cask strength single barrel makes us take notice. Islay’s unsung giant, the Caol Ila distillery looks out of the Straits of Islay, offering one of the most impeccable views from any still house in the world. Finished for some time in a nice sherry butt, likely one reused from another bottling rather than one of those seasoned ones, this Caol Ila is the perfect contrast to the linear, saline-driven version we bottled with Old Particular this year. Several of my customers have mentioned that it reminds them of peated sherried Bunnahabhain and I have to say I must agree. Indeed, there is some Bunnah in this little blend, but not enough to augment the character of this special barrel. The color is an inviting russet. The nose offers a great mixture of peat and sherry that doesn’t lean too heavily on either element. Bacon smoke, leather, ignited citrus oils, fresh innertube—very savory but not that hit of ocean or peat you might expect. On the palate—this is where it hits! Bit burning bunches of moss, chocolate orange truffle, black pepper, finally some saltiness as the finish grows. The spirit is quite fat and lengthy. With water, we lose some of the savory bacon notes on the nose, now more orange and spice. Big sweetness on the palate now and it remains extremely expressive and bold, with a tingly spicy finish. I love it both ways, but I’m going to lean toward straight.

    Andrew Whiteley | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: January 11, 2021

    This particular bottling is perhaps one of the starkest examples of why we teaspooned so many casks this year. Ten-year-old cask strength Caol Ila (without the sherry finish) should cost at least 90 or 100 bucks. Add in a healthy sherry influence and you’re likely talking $120-$150 through normal channels with today’s tariffs. Our close partnerships and a teaspoon of Bunna have tanked the price of this dram to $70/btl. Irrespective of price, the whisky itself is perfect. It’s got tons of salt and smoke on the nose stirred together with the attendant scents of a fresh baked mixed berry pie. The palate is big and rich for a 10-year-old thanks to the fine sherry finish. Orange marmalade and toast with salted butter showcase classic Caol Ila character. A bit of burnt bacon fat jibes with cut apples and just a bit of the fine, humid woody smell of a dunnage warehouse. It’s a complex 10-year-old from one of the most important distilleries in Scotland, all at a truly unbeatable price point. The only thing that’s not to love is there is only one cask of it.

  • Lost Distillery Caledonian at The Whisky Barrel – Scotch Whisky News January 16, 2021

    Caledonian 39 Year Old 1980

    Closed in 1988 and demolished, this is a rare release from this lost Lowland, Edinburgh Distillery. Only 111 hand-blown decanters bottled August 2020. Matured in a single cask Refill American hogshead #92569, bottled 54.4%. Caledonian 39 Year Old 1980 vintage Lowland single grain Scotch whisky. Single cask Refill American hogshead #92569. Distilled 3rd August 1990 & bottled 13th August 2020 by Gordon & MacPhail for the Private Collection series. Just 111 hand-blown crystal decanters have been produced.

    Aroma Sweet pineapple and baked apple aromas are complemented by hints of beeswax polish. Soft cane sugar comes to the fore alongside white chocolate and vanilla pod.

    Taste Soft black pepper and cocoa powder flavours lead to sweet, dried mango. Subtle notes of candied lime and mouth-warming ginger transform into fresh banana bread.

    Finish Long lasting and vibrant with lingering fruit and soft pepper on the finish.

    In its day the Caledonian Distillery was a huge business located at the west end of Princess Street in in the heart of the city of Edinburgh. Founded by Menzies, Bernard and Craig in 1855 complete with its own huge railway yard which sat next to the Edinburgh to Glasgow railway line. At the time of opening the Caledonian’s grain whisky was in demand for the newly developed whisky blending business and was used by Andrew Usher a pioneer of the technique. Closed in 1988 the site was cleared and redeveloped for housing and business use.

    £1,100  / €1,223  / usd$1,239 / cad$1,900*

  • New Year = New Whiskies From Whiskies of the World – Irish Whiskey News January 16, 2021

    NEW YEAR = NEW DRAMS

    Start 2021 with your new favorite whiskies straight from the Emerald Isle as part of our first-ever Irish Whiskey Experience. Early bird pricing at $75 available till January 28. Limited quantities available. Grab yours today before it’s too late!

    FEATURED WHISKIES INCLUDE:
    Bushmills Original
    Bushmills Red Bush
    Bushmills Black Bush
    Bushmills 10 Year Old Single Malt
    Bushmills 16 Year Old Single Malt
    Bushmills 21 Year Old Single Malt
    Bushmills 12 Year Old Single Malt
    Bushmills Causeway Collection
    Proper No. Twelve
    The Sexton Single Malt Whiskey

    BUY NOW