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.
Whisky Summary of the Month
As the nights draw in and a chill arrives in the autumn air, thoughts turn to sipping whisky by the fire with a good book. Whisky is a spirit that does not seem to be associated with the paranormal, other spirits celebrate Halloween but whisky carries on as normal although Ardbeg’s Wee Beastie and The Gauldrons make a bit of a link ,with few if any distilleries or whiskies publicise any ghostly connections. Perhaps the strongest connection to Halloween is Cask 88’s Scottish Witchcraft Series.
As ever, there were numerous new releases with some already aimed at the Christmas market.
The Spirits Business Luxury Masters 2023 results included three gold medals to The Glenturret with their 7, 10 and 12 year old 2023 releases, two gold medals to Diageo’s The Singleton Glen Ord 12 and 15 year olds, and Goldfinch Whisky picked up two golds for their Bodega Series, Linkwood 14 year old and Blair Atholl 14 year old.
Glen Scotia released the first in a limited edition series “Icons of Campbeltown”. The Mermaid (12 year old, ABV 54.1%, £90) which is an unpeated maritime malt finished in Palo Cortado sherry casks.
Chivas Brothers, part of Pernod Ricard, announced they’ve purchased land at Gartbreck Farm on the shores of Loch Indaal to build a new distillery on Islay. The focus will be on peated single malt. No opening date has been provided.
Fancy tasting a whisky bottled in 1900? Berry Bros & Rudd are offering the opportunity along with five other whiskies on the 9th November at their Sussex Cellar. Cost £275.
The English Distillery has added a single malt matured in sherry casks to their core range. Having spent the whole of its life in PX sherry casks it is bottled at 46% ABV and retails at around £60.
Whisky Auctioneer increases their buyers commission from 10% to 12.5% plus VAT.
Diageo owned brand Johnie Walker was named the fifth most valuable brand in the UK (9th in the world) with a value of US$10.9 billion.
Elsham Wold Distillery announced the imminent arrival of their first whisky release.
Decadent Drinks received a gold medal for its 17 Year Old Blended Malt Notable Age Statements. Composed of a 1st fill sherry butt of 2001 blended malt and a 1st fill sherry butt of 2006 Aultmore. The resulting, multi-vintage mix was bottled with slight reduction at 53% ABV, cost £95.
A.D. Rattray release their Cask Collection No 71. The release is said to focus on an “intensity of flavour”.
Cadenheads Autumn release of their cask strength Authentic Collection has arrived.
Want a free Norlan Glass and enjoy Glenfiddich Grand Couronne? Then pop over to Still Spirit to get a free glass. In The Cask Connoisseur glass testing, Norlan came top for reducing any alcohol burn whilst nosing and concentrating the flavours.
The Scotch Malt Whisky Society (SMWS) set a Guiness world record for the biggest online whisky tasting at the end of September. 447 members from around the world joined simultaneously to taste three whiskies.
Elixir Distillers owned brand Port Askaig, distributed in the UK by Speciality Brands, revealed a trio of three whiskies presented in a new bottle design. The flagship release is Port Askaig 8 year old (45.8% ABV, £49.95), a cask strength edition (59.4% ABV, £64.95) and a 17 year old (51.8% ABV, £125).
Laphroaig launches their new series Elements. The first edition is already sold out and is said to celebrate innovation and creativity in whisky making. Elements 1.0 (58.6% ABV, £175) has flavours of “spicy pepper, charred pineapple, and tangy liquorice”.
2023 is the 75th anniversary of Douglas Laing. To celebrate they have released six “exceptionally aged single cask” whiskies. The full set of XOP 75th Anniversary Collection will set you back £27150 and include a 55 year old, 2 x 45 year old, a 40 year old, a 35 year old and a 30 year old. Perhaps a more affordable option, but still part of the celebrations, is King of Scots 50 Years Old (46% ABV, £625) blended whisky.
Arran’s Lochranza distillery launches the first of the four bottle Signature Series . The first edition, Remnant Renegade (46% ABV, £82.99) is a “marriage of a selection of remnant casks – Ex-Sherry Hogsheads, Ex-Sherry Butts and Ex-Bourbon Barrels from across the Arran portfolio between as early as only a couple of years after we started distilling to as recently as 2017”.
Want to win a bottle of Karuizawa Ruby Geisha (34 year old, 58.5% ABV, £28,000)? Place any order on The Whisky Exchange before midnight of the 12th November.
Upcoming Whisky Events
Those without full dates, have already occurred in 2023 without releasing 2024 dates at present.
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
12th-13th January 2024 Harrow Whisky Festival
19th – 20th January 2024 – Southport Whisky Festival (Winter)
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
16th March 2024 – Croydon Whisky Festival
22nd-23rd March 2024 – Whisky Live London
6th April 2024 – Clackmannanshire’s Whisky Festival, Alloa
1st-6th May 2024 – Spirit of Speyside
18th May 2024 – Summerton Whisky Festival, St Albans
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
19th– 27th July 2024 – Belfast Whisky Week, Belfast
6th September – 8th September 2024 – Whisky Show, London
6th-7th September 2024 – Spirit of Speyside: Distilled, Elgin
5th-6th October 2024 – Midland Whisky Festival, Birmingham
- The Whiskey Affair: Haslemere
- Leeds Whisky Festival
- Arran Whisky Festival, Arran
- The Whisky Affair: Guildford
- National Whisky Festival, Inverness
- Southport Summer Whisky Festival, Churchtown & Southport
- Summer Fest, English Whisky Co, Norwich
- The Dram Good Whisky Festival, Edinburgh
- Whisky Fringe, Edinburgh
- Spirit of Alba Festival, Kirkintilloch
- Spirit of Speyside: Distilled, Elgin
- Whisky Indy Love Fest, Newcastle upon Tyne
- The Hebridean Whisky Festival, held at distilleries along the Hebridean Whisky Trail
- Scottish National Whisky Festival, Aberdeen
- Midlands Whisky Festival, Birmingham
- Lagavulin Islay Jazz Festival
- The Whisky Lounge: Liverpool Whisky Festival, Liverpool
- Cadenhead’s In the Courtyard, Campbeltown. An opportunity to try some special Cadenhead’s bottlings.
- The Whisky Lounge: York Whisky Festival, York
- Falkirk Whisky Social, Larbert
- Edinburgh Whisky Festival
- Manchester Whisky Festival, Manchester
- Wee Dram Fest, Bakewell
- The Whisky Affair, Alton
- The Dornoch Whisky Festival
- Whisky Social Belfast, Belfast