Background – Here at The Cask Connoisseur, even though we’re not subscribed to every potential newsletter or source of information, we receive around four hundred emails over the course of a month with various promotions, new release information, distillery newsletter, updates etc. Add on social media posts and that amounts to somewhere well over 1000 pieces of information being reviewed per month. The aim of this monthly round up is to provide a summary of the most interesting bits along with upcoming events that can be gleaned from them. The downside to a monthly review is a lot of “special offers” will have come and gone.
Summary of the Month
July starts with 4th July celebrations so lots of offers on American whiskies come out towards the end of June but a bit too early (or late) to include in this round up. After a busy June, with numerous releases, July started kind of quite with new releases, but soon caught up. Probably not surprising given the number of expressions reportedly released each year of around 20,000. There are also plenty of special offers from online retailers who seem happy to offer 10-15% off particularly over the weekend.
The Cask Connoisseur produced its second survey of the popularity of UK and Ireland whisky distilleries based on various social media metrics and reviews. The Cotswold Distillery was first out of 231 distilleries surveyed. The highest ranked Scottish distillery was Kilchoman, on Islay, who were ranked second out of 231. The highest ranked Irish distillery was Micil Distillery who were ranked sixth out of 231. The top ranked Welsh distillery was Penderyn who were fifth overall. At the time of writing the survey had even been noticed in Taiwan, suggesting global interest.
The Cask Connoisseur’s previous survey of Scottish distilleries in March reached an estimated audience of 51.9 million and Laphroaig were ranked first but did not come within the top ten of our full UK survey this time. Perhaps a reflection of distillery activities and marketing strategies?
Gauntleys of Nottingham in person tasting events for 2023. Whilst July’s has been and gone there are several interesting upcoming events.
Tickets may still be available for the Spirit of Speyside Distilled held on 1st-3rd September.
The Spirits business reported on the top 10 selling whiskies during June. Some of which may surprise you. But remember this is a global index.
The Whisky Exchange (part of Pernod Ricard) in London has opened a distillery school at its London Bridge store. Prices vary between £95 and £120.
Glenturret Distillery release their 2023 whiskies. The core range includes 7 Year Old Peat Smoked, Triple Wood, 10 Year Old Peat Smoked, a 12 Year Old and 15 Year Old. There is also a 25,30 and 35 Year Old available in limited quantities.
Fyne+, Loch Fyne Whisky free delivery offer, also includes priority access to limited editions and exclusive ballots to “really sought after whiskies”.
Ardgowan distillery held their first open day on 22nd July which included a special open day bottling and the first opportunity to pre-purchase casks. You might be interested in joining their Clan Ardgowan.
That Boutique-y whisky company introduce their USA series. Okay, the original launch was in May…..
Bladnoch distillery launch their Sahmla Collection.
Japan based Karuizawa Distillers open their Komoro Distillery visitor centre and Whisky Academy. Anyone fancy a trip to Japan?
Port of Leith distillery due to open later in 2023 appoints Vaibhav Sood as its Head of Whisky.
The Lakes Distillery unveils its new website.
Whiskystats index moves sideways in June.
Benromach Distillery launch Kiln Dried Oak and Air Dried Oak in their Contrasts collection.
The Scotch Whisky Association launches its Water Stewardship Framework.
Whiskybase claims the largest collection of whisky bottles in the world surpassing 220,000. That’s a lot of information for the whisky connoisseur.
Fancy a “one of one” bottle whilst supporting The Distillers Charity? Then pop along to Hopetoun House just outside of Edinburgh on October 5th for the charity auction in conjunction with Sotheby’s. Whilst fun to watch live via the internet, based on the prices obtained from the last auction in 2021, maybe you’ll need a lottery win first.
Wire Works Necessary Evil 2023 will be available online from the 3rd of August and the distillery shop from 6th August. The 2022 edition won a gold medal in the World Whisky Masters and was so popular that the distillery decided to make it an annual release.
Royal Mile Whiskies introduce their latest collection of independent bottlings.
Bruichladdich has revamped the packaging for The Classic Laddie, reducing its carbon footprint by 65% and bottle weight by 32%.
Raasay Distillery announces dates during August for their Secret Edinburgh Tastings.
Rosebank Distillery which is expected to reopen to visitors in 2024, has completed its first distillation run, after a gap of 30 years, with the filling of Cask No 001. This cask is a refill bourbon and the new make spirit is expected to mature into a “rich, fruity, and floral whisky, reminiscent of the original Rosebank’s signature flavour profile”.
What is the most ethically produced Scotch? According to a recent report from the ethical review platform Really Good Culture, in order of ranking:
Whyte & Mackay Ltd the Scotch subsidiary of Emperador Inc (itself a subsidiary) is to double the size of its cask maturation facility at its Invergordon Distillery to meet increasing demand. That means another 2.5 million casks of maturing whisky. Whyte & Mackay operate The Dalmore, Fettercairn, Jura and Tamnavulin single malt distilleries.
Laphroaig 10 year old cask strength, batch 16, should be available by the time you read this newsletter. Around £76 and 58.5% ABV (or possibly 56.5% according to the website,) and said to have “signature flavours of Laphroaig alongside notes of freshly ground black pepper and pork crackling. Complete with a long, lingering finish of charred oak and smoked mackerel captured in an oily mouthfeel”.
Speyburn Distillery in Rothes will open its new visitor experience from the 1st August, the first time it will be permanently open to the public in its 126 year history. Tours will operate at 10.30am, 12.30pm and 2.30pm, Tuesday to Saturday.
Ludlow Distillery will launch a monthly Cocktail Lounge and Masterclass on the 4th August 5pm-9pm, in the distillery bar at Ludlow Farmshop.
Nc’Nean Distillery will be running a Women’s Whisky Week from the 25th-29th September. Three women with an interest in a career in whisky will be able to spend the week experiencing and working at the distillery. Whilst applications will have closed by the time you read this, potentially something to note in your diary for next year.
Port of Leith distillery announces that tour tickets are now on sale. Interestingly they state that the profits from tour tickets will pay for whisky production.
Isle of Harris Distillery’s first release, The Hearach, will go on sale in the UK on 23.09.23 and the rest of the world in October.
Glengoyne Distillery celebrates ten years of their Cask Strength series with Batch No 010 which won a gold medal at the International Spirits Challenge 2023. Available from the distillery now at £85 and 59.2% ABV.
Single malt Welsh whisky has been successfully registered under the UK Geographical Indication (UK GI) scheme, which protects its name, authenticity and characteristics, similar to Scotch whisky. There is a similar process ongoing for English Distilleries through the English Whisky Guild and 16 of its distillery members.
Bruichladdich Distillery co-founder Simon Coughlin has retired after 23 years involvement.
Robertsons of Pitlochry announce the release of Curated by Ewan McIlwraith, a series of cask strength whiskies bottled by Berry Bros & Rudd, hand selected by Ewan and sure to be good.
Upcoming Whisky Events
Those without full dates, have already occurred in 2023 without releasing 2024 dates at present.
4th-5th August – A Club Whisky Festival, Edinburgh
18th-20th August – Whisky Fringe, Edinburgh
26th August – Spirit of Alba Festival, Kirkintilloch
2nd September – Whisky Indy Love Fest, Newcastle upon Tyne
2nd-9th September – The Hebridean Whisky Festival, held at distilleries along the Hebridean Whisky Trail
9th September – Scottish National Whisky Festival, Aberdeen
9th-10th September – Midlands Whisky Festival, Birmingham
15th-17th September – Lagavulin Islay Jazz Festival
16th-17th September – The Whisky Lounge: Liverpool Whisky Festival, Liverpool
1st-2nd September – Spirit of Speyside: Distilled, Elgin
9th September – Scottish National Whisky festival, Aberdeen
22nd September – The Hearach, Isle of Harris Whisky Launch
22nd September – Cadenhead’s In the Courtyard, Campbeltown. An opportunity to try some special Cadenhead’s bottlings.
29th September – 1st October – Whisky Show, London
7th October – The Whisky Lounge: York Whisky Festival, York
14th October – Falkirk Whisky Social, Larbert
14th October – Edinburgh Whisky Festival
20th-21st October – Manchester Whisky Festival, Manchester
21st October – Wee Dram Fest, Bakewell
27th-29th October – The Dornoch Whisky Festival
28th October – Whisky Social Belfast, Belfast
4th November – National Whisky Festival, Newcastle
4th November – Stirling Whisky Festival, Stirling
11th November – Glasgow Whisky Festival, Hampden Park, Glasgow
18th November – English Whisky Festival, Birmingham
25th November – Drambusters Festival, Dumfries
25th November – The Whisky Affair, Reading
1st December – Kendal Whisky Festival, Kendal
3rd December – Inverkip Hotel Christmas Market, Inverkip
9th December – National Whisky Festival, Edinburgh
27th January 2024 – Scottish National Whisky Festival, Glasgow
24th February 2024 – The Whisky Lounge: Newcastle Whisky Festival
1st-3rd March 2024 – Fife Whisky Festival, various locations in Fife.
2nd March 2024 – Whisky Birmingham – Birmingham
6th April 2024 – Clackmannanshire’s Whisky Festival, Alloa
1st-6th May 2024 – Spirit of Speyside
21st-25th May 2024 – Campbeltown Whisky Festival
17/18th May 2024 – Whiskey Live Dublin
18th May 2024 – Bladnoch Waterfall release day. This is the last release of the series.
24th May – 1st June 2024 – Fèis Ìle, Islay
15th June 2024 – The Whisky Lounge: Edinburgh Whisky Festival
22nd June 2024 – Stoke Whisky Festival – Stoke on Trent
6th July 2024 – The Whisky Lounge: Bristol Whisky Festival
- Southport Whisky Festival (Winter)
- Harrow Whisky Festival
- The Whiskey Affair: Haslemere
- Leeds Whisky Festival
- Croydon Whisky Festival (still to confirm but will be early April 2024)
- Whisky Live London
- Arran Whisky Festival, Arran
- The Whisky Affair: Guildford, Guilford
- National Whisky Festival, Inverness
- Southport Summer Whisky Festival, Churchtown & Southport
- Summer Fest, English Whisky Co, Norwich
- Belfast Whisky Week, Belfast