Tuesday, 26 February 2013

A Great Swedish Story - Mackmyra Swedish Whisky

Established in 1999 producing from pilot distillery, then building their new distillery in 2002 after attempting nearly 200 recipes to arrive at the perfect whisky. After launching with Mackmyra Reserve in 2002, they introduced Mackmyra Preludium in 2006 and in 2008 they launched the very popular Mackmyra First Edition range. In 2010 they launched their first premium whisky - Mackmyra Brukswhisky. Visit http://mackmyra.com/ for further information.

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Mocha Chocolate mousse with Jameson Irish whiskey

from Independent.ie dated 24 February 2013

170g good-quality dark chocolate, broken into small pieces
170g unsalted butter
3 tbsps good-quality instant coffee granules, mixed with 2 tbsps hot water
4 free-range eggs, separated
150g caster sugar, plus 1 tbsp extra
2 tbsps Jameson Irish whiskey
Pinch fine salt
Whipped cream, to serve
Bring a medium-sized saucepan of water to a gentle simmer and melt the chocolate, butter and coffee in a heatproof bowl that fits snugly over the pan without touching the water, stirring occasionally.
Carefully remove the bowl from the heat and set aside. Keep the saucepan of water simmering away. Place a few handfuls of ice in a large bowl and half-fill with water. Set aside nearby.
Sit a heatproof bowl that will fit into the bowl of ice over the saucepan of simmering water and add the four egg yolks, 150g caster sugar, Jameson Irish whiskey and one tablespoon of cold water.
Using a balloon whisk or hand-held electric beaters, whisk for about three minutes until the mixture thickens, becomes paler and has a similar consistency to that of runny mayonnaise.
Remove the bowl from the heat and place it in the bowl of iced water. Continue to whisk for a few minutes more until the mixture thickens and cools slightly, being careful that no water gets into the mixture. Add the chocolate mixture to the beaten egg mixture and stir to combine.
Whisk the egg whites with a pinch of salt until just stiff and frothy. Add the extra tablespoon of caster sugar and beat again until just glossy.
Using a large mixing spoon, add one spoonful of egg whites to the chocolate mix and fold it in gently. Gradually fold in the remaining egg white, taking care not to over mix. Transfer the mousse to a jug, then pour into individual serving jars or glasses. Place in the fridge and chill for three to four hours before serving. Serve topped with a thick layer of whipped cream.
Add gooseberry and mint leaves.

Great Scotch Whisky (Documentary)

This is a great documentary about the history of Scotland and Scotch whisky, but be warned, it is 90 minutes plus and slightly dated. Some of the content may offend some people.

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Diageo open offer cleared, United Spirits shares gain 4%

Mumbai: Shares of United Spirits today rose by 4 per cent after global liquor major Diageo Plc received market regulator Sebi's clearance for an open offer to acquire 26 per cent stake from public shareholders of the UB group firm. Read full article HERE.

This also means that Diageo get there hands on Whyte & Mackay whiskies including their blended whiskies as well as the single malts Jura and Dalmore. This also means they get the charismatic, charming and extremely entertaining master blender Richard Paterson.

It also means Diageo become a large player in the huge Indian whisky market. 

Monday, 4 February 2013

The Real Oldest Distillery in Scotland - Strathisla

The Strathisla Distillery in Keith Scotland has the oldest uninterrupted* distilling history in Scotland beating out the second placed distillery by 28 years.

Every whisky book and whisky expert glibly states that Glenturret is the oldest distillery in Scotland. Glenturret make this claim on every label on every single bottle. Allow me to contradict this piece of misinformation.

I am unconvinced that a distillery which was established earlier then shut down for 40 years; then rebuilt on an new site may lay claim to such a title. Furthermore, if I then add up the total number of years this distillery has been operating from start to now, excluding the years it was not in operation, then it certainly does not add up anywhere near the oldest distillery in Scotland. The title as the oldest distillery in Scotland must go to Strathisla.

Strathisla Distillery built 1786
Glenturret was built in 1775. Strathisla distillery was built in 1786. Glenturret was built 11 years before Strathisla was built. No argument here. Glenturret closed down entirely early 1921, was dismantled; reopened June 1960 and produced filling malt before finally making a Glenturret single malt many years later. 

Now lets take away the 40 years the distillery was shut down. The maths is easy and you will then discover that Glenturret continues distilling history is 199 years versus Strathisla which has an uninterrupted distilling history of 227 years.

*uninterrupted other than during times of war which effected all distilleries.

Diageo's Classic Six Malts By Name Only

The Classic Six single malt whiskies are classic by name only. This is the name chosen by Diageo who own these six brands and is a marketing name to best group these six, otherwise stand alone, single malts together.

The six whiskies which I will not refer to as classic include: Dalwhinnie 15 year old, Cragganmore 12 year old, Caol Ila 12 year old, Talisker 10 year old, Singleton 12 year old, Lagavulan 16 year old (They taste Lagavulin Special Edition 1990 which is not normally in the classic range)

The word classic means something is perfect or has some timeless quality. It's a bit rich to make this claim, but none-the-less it is clever marketing. I however think it is deceiving as I can name almost every decent single malt as a classic single malt. These certainly do not fit the bill for many experts. These are however great examples of single malts from various regions in Scotland.

The video is just over 15 minutes long. The tasting is hosted by Charles MacLean who takes you through a very entertaining tasting experience. Together with various people, they go through each of the these six malts. It is well worth watching.

Sunday, 3 February 2013

The Case of Not So Rare

Have you noticed that the word "RARE" is no longer on a bottle of J&B or at least, by law, it should NOT be on the bottle or label. What defines a rare whisky? Would you expect to find a rare whisky in a medium priced Scotch? Has the SCOTCH WHISKY ASSOCIATION been unclear in it's definition allowed in Scotch whisky labels?

There are four Scotch whisky definitions:
  1. Single Malt Scotch Whisky - a single distillate from one distillery; is made with 100% barley & is distilled in copper pot stills.
  2. Blended Malt Scotch whisky - a blend of Single Malt Whiskies from many distilleries; each is made with 100% barley & is distilled in copper pot stills.
  3. Blended Scotch Whisky - a blend of many different Single Malt whiskies (see point 2); is blended with grain whisky & is distilled in continuos stills that also produce Vodka. Grain whisky is made using other cereals such as wheat, corn, rye etc.
  4. Grain Whisky - is mostly made using cereals other than barley and the process uses continuous stills as apposed to copper pot stills.
All Scotch whiskies are matured in oak casks for a minimum of three years - both single malt and grain whiskies.

The reason for this definition was to avoid suppliers from deceiving consumers about their whiskies by using words to elevate the whiskies status.

The Scotch Whisky Association did a great job to implement these measures to guarantee customers are not deceived. It is now up to the industry to educate the consumers and to abide by the rules. There are still many whiskies that bend the rules. My research for this article focused on J&B's online communication. Every search related to J&B still shows the word Rare on the label. Even the JB website still shows the word RARE.

J&B is a good Blended Scotch Whisky even though there are no rare whiskies in the bottle. I could as easily have picked on other whiskies that also used fluffy words. As an educated consumer, please check your whiskies and challenge them if they do not adhere to the four approved definitions.

Friday, 1 February 2013

Major Scotch whisky capacity increase since 2010

Roseisle is a first large-scale malt distillery that was opened in Scotland in August 2010 by Diageo. Roseisle will distill up to 10 million liters of single-malt whisky a year. The liquor will be used to produce blended whiskies such as Johnnie Walker and J&B. The $60-million distillery has 14 copper whisky stills, and although traditional, is one of the top high tech distilleries.

The above is the Roseisle distillery
Earlier in the year, Pernod Ricard increased The Glenlivet single-malt whisky distillery in Scotland’s production capacity by 75%.

The Glenlivet Distillery has expanded capacity by 75% 
In the past three years, various liquor companies have spent over £600 million to expand whisky production facilities in Scotland, marking an increase in distilling capacity that has not been seen in decades, according to the Scotch Whisky Association.