Swedish Victory In The Chairman’s Reserve Mai Tai Challenge 2017

Group

The last two weeks has seen me embrace my favourite rum brand more than ever with a trip to St Lucia for the Chairman’s Reserve Mai Tai season. Hosted at Capella Marigot Bay Resort and Marina, the 5* venue became the hub for a host of international and island based bartenders for several days, welcoming with a Chairman’s Reserve Spiced Ice Tea upon arrival and offering the relaxed and chilled vibes St Lucia is famous for.

The aim of the Chairman’s Reserve Mai Tai season is to culminate in a combined final of winning efforts from across the world from the last year, paired with St Lucian counterparts to crown the ultimate Mai Tai team and recipe. Representatives include the United Kingdom, USA, Spain, France, Portugal and Sweden, who each won their respective national heats to earn their way to the final.

After being inspired by a tour of St Lucia Distillers within the Roseau Valley, spiced rum talks from local producers, and an insightful chat on all things tiki by the renowned bartender and owner of Spirit of Tiki, Georgi Radev, culminating in the paired teams having the opportunity to experience the Castries Market in the capital city and pick up some local and home-produced ingredients and vessels, ready for the evenings finale.

Mai Tai

With 5 judges, including myself and Alva Preville (Taste of the Caribbean winning bartender in 2010 amongst his host of accolades), each paired team had to create a twist on the Chairman’s Reserve Mai Tai, using their inspiration from their trip so far, whilst also showing off teamwork and producing to us all a display that would be worthy of the top prize!

With magic tricks and crowd chants for showmanship, it all accompanied serves such as the ‘Sop It To Me Baby’ by 3rd place winners Anthony Guaetta (Twin River Casino, USA) and Daniel Francois (Capella, St Lucia) that saw Chairman’s Reserve Spiced mixed with the 6th edition of 1931 rum, a homemade spiced liqueur and Key Lime juice. Second place had the ‘Chairman’s Spiced Intellect’ presented by Andrew Turner (Milk Bar, UK) and Ron Hillar (Capella, St Lucia). They shook up a blend of their homemade spiced syrup, Chairman’s Reserve Forgotten Cask, lime juice, pineapple juice, Angostura bitters and a dash of Chairman’s Reserve Spiced, complete with a pineapple, ginger and rosemary garnish.

presentation

The winning drink though? It was the ‘Culture Paradise’ by Sharam Mohebbi of OGBG Bar & Restaurant in Sweden and his St Lucian counterpart Stephen Peter. Mixing Chairman’s Reserve Original and Chairman’s Reserve Spiced with Caribbean sherbet, ginger spice and passion fruit plus freshly squeezed lime, it won the judges plaudits! Earning them a cash prize, trophies and a trip for Sharam back to St Lucia, and Stephen to Sweden, plus local television coverage, it’s meant a truly well-deserved effort from both the winning team and all participants in placing them on the map when it comes to the Mai Tai cocktail!

Look out for the 2018 Chairman’s Reserve Mai Tai season as more countries become involved with the challenge, as well as plenty of opportunities to experience a variety of Mai Tai twists, or indeed you can create Sharam’s and Stephen’s today!

Winning Cocktail
‘Culture Paradise’


40ml Chairman’s Reserve Original

30ml Chairman’s Reserve Spiced
30ml Caribbean Sherbet
20ml Ginger spice & passionfruit
20ml Freshly squeezed lime

Shaken over ice and served within a bowl or goblet. 

For more information on St Lucia, visit here.
Learn more about Chairman’s Reserve by visiting here.
To experience Capella Marigot Bay Resort and Marina, visit here.

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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National Calvados Week Returns For 2017

Pere Magloire Bottle Lineup
The Père Magloire National Calvados Week, in association with UK creator Emporia Brands, returns Monday 16th October 2016 until the Sunday 22nd October 2017, taking place within bars and retailers across the UK, including London, Birmingham, Newcastle, Glasgow and Edinburgh.

For some, Normandy’s lush green pastures reach their ultimate expression in the region’s famed cheeses and rich dairy butter. We all know that it’s always been about the Calvados. The magical alchemy that transforms green apples into golden nectar, it produces apple brandy as soft, fresh and pure as the beguiling French countryside from which it’s born. The week long celebration marks the harvesting of the delicious apples for the production of Calvados. During National Calvados Week over 100 bars, shops, supermarkets and independent off licenses, including London based Swift, Merchant House, Baranis, German Gymnasium and Plotting Parlour.

Other venues and highlights for the week include such Edinburgh stalwarts as Panda & Sons, Heads & Tales, Voodoo Rooms, Bramble and The Bon Vivant, as well as Glasgow based The Finnieston, Porter & Rye and Drugstore Social. 45 West in Leicester are also showcasing their serves, as well as Jekyll & Hyde in Birmingham, Alvino’s in Newcastle and Last Chance Saloon in Nottingham amongst others.

Meanwhile, participating Waitrose stores will be running an in-store price promotion for the month of October, seeing Père Magloire VSOP 50cl with 20% off. Scotland are covered by Drinkmonger and Royal Mile Whiskies in Edinburgh, plus independent stores across England including Riddles Emporium in South Manchester, 23 Wine & Whisky in Leicester and Fenwick’s in Newcastle. We’ve also partnered with The Drink Shop, who are offering 20% off all Père Magloire products throughout National Calvados Week.

Highlights of the week involve the Telegraph Aperitifs and Digestifs evening that kicks off the celebration on Friday 13th October, TimeOut London are also hosting an evening of Père Magloire to launch the promotion within MASH London, exclusive for their members, and John Lewis on Oxford St and Soho Whisky Club, both in London, are also getting in on the action with their own tasting evenings.

In addition, Fever Tree, Franklins, Fentimans, Double Dutch and Peter Spanton No.1 Tonic are the principle sponsors for this year’s signature serve, promoted within all participating venues across the UK, the Père Magloire and tonic;

50 ml Père Magloire VS
Topped with chosen Tonic Water
Fresh Ice (at least 4 big cubes)
Slice of Fresh Apple

Using a large wine glass or a tall, slim glass, add the ice first then pour in the Père Magloire VS, followed by the Tonic Water. Cut a full slice of apple and drop into the glass.

A promotional video has also been commissioned by Emporia Brands, the exclusive UK importer of Père Magloire and National Calvados Week, which aims to see people coming together from across the UK to enjoy Calvados. To view the video, head to http://www.nationalcalvadosweek.com/press

Swedish Whisky Fans In For A Treat With Exclusive Release From The Scotch Malt Whisky Society

10.127-hi-resWhisky fans in Sweden are in for a treat this month as The Scotch Malt Whisky Society [www.smws.com] (SMWS) releases an exclusive single cask malt available only to Swedish spirits enthusiasts.

The 10-year-old ‘Burning scarecrows by the sea’, from the Society’s Peated flavour profile, goes on sale on Thursday 12 October on the Society’s online shop (https://www.smws.com/burning-scarecrows-by-the-sea) and will only be available in Sweden.

As with all Society bottlings of single cask whiskies and other spirits, it is a limited edition, with only 234 bottles available. The Society’s expert Tasting Panel describe the whisky, which was matured in a refill hogshead ex-Bourbon cask, as having notes of “pebble beach, seaweed, sun-dried driftwood, bonfire, smoked mackerel and cigar boxes” on the nose, with “blow-torched pineapple and toasted marshmallows” on the palate.

The news comes on the back of exciting times for the SMWS and whisky fans in Sweden.

In August, the SMWS launched its first official partner bar at The Ardbeg Embassy in Stockholm. This relationship sees the world-renowned bar offering an array of Society whiskies and holding monthly Society tasting events. [https://www.smws.com/events/locations/sweden?event_town=462]

The tastings take place on the last Wednesday of each month and are hosted by local SMWS ambassador Patrik Axelsson. The next three events are:

· Wed 25th October: Preview tasting of November’s SMWS releases
· Wed 29 November: SMWS Single Cask Spirits tasting featuring rum, bourbon and armagnac.
· Old & rare whisky tasting – sampling old and hard-to-find SMWS whiskies.

The SMWS, which releases around 20 new whiskies and other spirits each month in Sweden, is also staging a tasting at the SPIS restaurant in Kiruna on Saturday 18 November [https://www.smws.com/events/locations/sweden/smws-sweden-lapland-kiruna-tasting] with local SM9WS ambassador Tommy Calner.

In the coming months, the SMWS will announce plans to stage more tasting events in other locations across Sweden, such as Gothenburg.

SMWS is registered for distance selling in Sweden, so members can order from over 90 bottlings online which are delivered with DHL direct to their door, inclusive of all local taxes – as opposed to ordering and collecting from Systembolaget.

Local SMWS ambassador Patrik Axelsson said: “The release of ‘Burning scarecrows by the sea’ exclusively in Sweden is a great opportunity for our existing members and other like-minded spirits enthusiasts to enjoy a classic example of the single cask whisky that makes the Society unique.

“Through our tasting events at our partner bar the Ardbeg Embassy and the new selection of whiskies and other spirits we release each month, this is a really exciting time to be a member of the Society in Sweden.”

More information:
https://www.smws.com/burning-scarecrows-by-the-sea
https://www.smws.com/events/locations/sweden
http://www.smws.com
http://www.facebook.com/SMWSSweden

The Glenlivet Launches Campaign To Celebrate Life’s Definitive Moments

The Glenlivet is launching its most ambitious campaign to date to celebrate its role as the definitive Speyside Single Malt in the Scotch Whisky category. Aptly named The Whisky, The Glenlivet, the global integrated campaign will give the brand a modern and contemporary feel. The Whisky, The Glenlivet is an evolution from the brand’s heritage as “The original single malt brand that set the standard” and is set to reinforce its role as a visionary within the single malts category.

Launching on 22nd September globally, the campaign will run across TV, digital, print and out of home advertising, The Whisky, The Glenlivet campaign celebrates the unwavering pursuit of its founder, George Smith, to create the definitive Speyside Single Malt.

Never settling for anything less than excellence, George Smith carefully selected the local spring water from the valley to make, what he believed was, The Whisky. Seeing his continued success, many of Smith’s neighbouring distilleries started to add Glenlivet to their name in an effort to appeal to the whisky drinker. Determined to act as the guardian for the outstanding quality and craftsmanship for which his whisky had become known, George Smith took legal action to preserve his distillery’s reputation, laying in place the foundations for the whisky we know today as The Glenlivet. This triumph has established The Glenlivet as a benchmark of excellence from the Livet Valley and is the driving force behind the new campaign – while other whiskies could have used Glenlivet in their name, none could claim to be The Glenlivet.

The campaign will launch with two films – ‘The Night Sky’ and ‘The Fire’ – both demonstrating the beauty of the unspoilt world and encouraging consumers to seek out definitive moments with the definitive whisky. The artistic representations help to show consumers that by looking beyond the ordinary they can unlock something special, which is what George Smith did by accomplishing his quest to create the definitive Speyside Single Malt.

Miriam Eceolaza, Global Marketing Director, comments: “Our new campaign is designed to celebrate the most natural and humbling experiences which allow us to lead richer and more fulfilling lives. The Whisky, The Glenlivet showcases the beauty in the unspoilt world and encourages consumers to search for those definitive moments with the definitive whisky.”

Sean Condon, Creative Director at Wieden + Kennedy Amsterdam comments: “This work is like nothing ever seen before in the category, exploring pleasure and singular experiences in a startlingly original way. It’s bold and beautiful and a little bit brash. It’s work that, like the product itself, should be savoured.”

Havana Club Launches Cocktail Boomerang To Raise Money For People In Areas Affected By Natural Disasters

Havana Boomerang
Havana Club is calling on bartenders around the world to join a global Cocktail Boomerang on Saturday 7th October to celebrate ‘Día del Cantinero’ (Day of the Bartender) in recognition of the skills of the bartending profession.

Meimi Sanchez, Global Brand Ambassador for Havana Club, is calling bartenders to participate in the campaign and asking them to donate £7 for people affected by the natural disasters in Mexico, the Caribbean, Central and North America and Asia.
Meimi and Havana Club are challenging bartenders to make a video of themselves creating a Havana Club 7 Old Fashioned cocktail with a link to their city. They then have to send the drink to another bartender, and challenge another seven bartenders to continue the Cocktail Boomerang.

Using the hashtags #BARTENDAGAINST and #HAVANABOOMERANG, participating bartenders can share the video, tag another bartender’s names and bar’s name on Facebook or Instagram, as well as share a link to the Just Giving Website (www.justgiving.com/fundraising/hc7boomerang).

The Cocktail Boomerang will unfold around the world simultaneously, including London, Edinburgh, Liverpool, Leeds, Chester, Dublin, Paris, Singapore, Auckland, Mexico City and Moscow. Bars interested in taking part should contact Meimi Sanchez, Global Brand Ambassador Havana Club at Meimi.sanchez@pernod-ricard.com or register their interest through the ‘Bartend Against’ Facebook page.

The money raised will be given to GlobalGiving.com, the first and largest global crowdfunding community that connects not-for-profit, donors and companies, who will help hand pick local charities in the worst affected areas.

Nick Blacknell, Marketing Director at Havana Club International, comments: “We would like to persuade bartenders around the globe to continue raising money throughout the one-month long campaign”. Bartenders are encouraged to host activities in their bars, leaving a jar on their bar to collect funds for this project, or donating a percentage of their tips via the JustGiving page.

Additionally, Havana Club has offered to donate 7.000€ as well to alleviate the problems caused by the natural disasters.

To find out more, visit Havana Club Grand Prix Facebook page to watch a video featuring Meimi Sanchez and ‘Bartend Against’, available from Saturday 7th October.

Two Irish Traditions Collaborate To Produce Irish Whiskey With A Californian Twist

GREEN SPOT_Montelena_Bottle
Irish Distillers proudly unveils Green Spot Chateau Montelena, the first Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey to be finished in French oak Zinfandel wine casks. Matured until the combination of wine, whiskey and oak has reached the perfect balance, this new release is the second in the Wine Geese series of Green Spot Single Pot Still Irish Whiskeys that have been finished in unique wine casks.

Green Spot Chateau Montelena has been initially matured in American Bourbon and sherry casks and then finished for one year in casks previously filled with Zinfandel wine from the famed Chateau Montelena, Napa Valley. This rare cask finish contributes pomegranate, cranberry and maraschino cherry on the nose, a dry note to the silky mouthfeel and the finish combines classic long pot still spice flavours with a delicate wine influence, all in perfect harmony.

Green Spot Chateau Montelena also represents the coming together of two stories of Irish endeavour and enterprise. The Mitchells, who bottled and sold the original Green Spot under bond until 1968 and Jim Barrett, who restored the California-based Chateau Montelena to its former glory in 1972. Son of John Barrett, a Waterford man who emigrated to the USA after World War I, Jim Barrett followed in a long list of Wine Geese – Irish migrants that established leading wineries around the world. Today, the time-honoured traditions of Chateau Montelena are upheld by Jim’s son, Bo Barrett.

Crafted at the Midleton Distillery by Kevin O’Gorman, Head of Maturation and long-serving Head Blender, Billy Leighton, Green Spot Chateau Montelena is the second edition in the Wine Geese series following the launch of Green Spot Château Léoville Barton in 2015. Bottled at 46% ABV and without chill-filtration, Green Spot Chateau Montelena will be available in limited quantities each year in the USA, Canada and Ireland (including Ireland Travel Retail).

Kevin O’Gorman, Head of Maturation at Midleton Distillery, explains: “Green Spot Chateau Montelena is the celebration of three famous Irish institutions – Midleton Distillery, Mitchell and Son and Chateau Montelena – working in harmony to craft a new and innovative Irish whiskey that will appeal to whiskey and wine drinkers alike.

“Exploring the influence of these prized wine casks on Green Spot Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey was our inspiration. We found that the black-skinned Zinfandel grapes are full of ripe, spicy berry flavours, which imparts a distinctive and refined fruitiness to the wine and also the casks in which they matured. Working closely with Billy Leighton, we monitored the finishing process over the course of one year until we reached the perfect balance of flavours – the result is a rich pot still whiskey with classic Green Spot red apples, pears, vanilla and liquorice complemented by the dry and fruity Zinfandel wine.”

Bo Barrett, Chief Executive Officer at Chateau Montelena added, “It has been a pleasure to work with Billy Leighton, Kevin O’Gorman and the whole production team at Midleton Distillery on this exciting project. We were brought together by a shared heritage and common respect for excellence in craft that has been wholly realised in Green Spot Chateau Montelena. I hope consumers will enjoy the Zinfandel twist to the classic Green Spot single pot still flavour.”

Bartenders Challenged To Design 2018 Fernet-Branca Coin

Fernet Branca cocktail with Challenge Coins
Classic Italian herbal spirit Fernet-Branca is inviting bartenders to submit designs for the UK’s 2018 Fernet-Branca Challenge Coin.

Distributor Hi-Spirits has set the challenge, with a theme for the design of “what makes the UK bar scene so great?” A shortlist of coin designs will be voted on by the industry, and the winning design will be produced next year.

The coins are carried by a select group of bartenders around the world, marking their membership of the exclusive Fernet Branca Secret Society, which celebrates the brand’s heritage and versatility.

Dan Bolton, managing director of Hi-Spirits, said: “Fernet-Branca is hugely respected by bartenders, and the Challenge Coins are an important part of the international bartending community. We’re delighted to be giving UK bartenders the chance to design the 2018 UK coin.”

Designs should be for one side of the coin only and are limited to five colours. Bartenders have until 31 December 2017 to submit their ideas at http://www.Fernet-Branca.co.uk/coin, where full T&Cs can also be found. Entries will be shortlisted in January 2018 and voted on by the industry, with the winner announced in February.

Created in Milan in 1845 by Bernardino Branca, Fernet Branca is a herbal spirit with a distinctive bitter flavour, and is still made at the Fratelli Branca Distillerie to the closely-guarded original recipe.

Along with Fernet Branca, Hi-Spirits distributes other speciality drinks from Fratelli Branca Distillerie in the UK including BrancaMenta, Antica Formula, Punt e Mes, the Carpano Vermouth range, and Caffè Borghetti.

For more information, please contact Hi-Spirits on 01932 252 100, email info@hi-spirits.com or visit http://www.hi-spirits.com.

A New Era for Luxury Midleton Irish Whiskey

Midleton Very Rare Vintage Selection 2017 with box
Irish Distillers has signalled a new era for luxury Irish whiskey with the launch of the Midleton Very Rare Cask Circle, a private members club offering individuals the opportunity to obtain their own personal Irish Whiskey. The launch of the Midleton Cask Circle coincides with the release of Midleton Very Rare Vintage 2017, the 34th edition of the renowned and highly collectable range of Irish whiskeys, first unveiled in 1984.

The Midleton Very Rare Cask Circle Club invites whisk(e)y enthusiasts and collectors to obtain their own cask of Midleton Very Rare Irish whiskey from a variety of exceptional casks hand selected by Master Distiller, Brian Nation for their quality and rarity. Selecting a cask of Midleton Very Rare whiskey is a truly unique experience. Once members have chosen a cask that suits their personal taste, they can bottle it immediately or instead request bottles of their unique whiskey as and when required.

The programme boasts an array of different whiskey styles and ages – from 12 to 30 years old – that have been matured in a range of cask types including Bourbon, Sherry, Malaga, Port, Irish Oak and Rum. Thirty casks have been made available at launch, with prices available on request.

By becoming a member of the Midleton Very Rare Cask Circle, guests will have access to the Distillery Concierge, a unique service that will assist members in every detail of their personal experience. From choosing their whiskey to planning an extended itinerary, the Concierge allows guests to discover the best Ireland has to offer, from world class golfing at illustrious courses to exploring some of the most picturesque scenery in the world.

Jean Christophe-Coutures, Chairman and CEO at Irish Distillers, commented: “Irish Distillers introduced the world to luxury Irish whiskey back in 1984 and Midleton Very Rare has since become the embodiment of exceptional quality, craftsmanship and collectability. The unveiling of the Midleton Very Rare Cask Circle Club and the new Midleton Very Rare Vintage Release heralds a new era for luxury Irish whiskey and is testament to the growing demand for our finest, prestige Irish whiskeys around the world. We are proud of our position as long-standing guardians of our sector and we look forward to welcoming new additions to the Midleton Very Rare range in the years to come. Today’s launch allows Midleton Very Rare to further build upon its position as the pinnacle of Irish whiskey.”

Just two Master Distillers have had the privilege of preserving the legacy of Midleton Very Rare with only a select number of casks deemed of sufficient excellence and rarity to bear the Midleton Very Rare name. Midleton Very Rare 2017 has been specially blended from a hand selected batch of ex-Bourbon Barrels ranging in age from 12 years to 32 years. The 2017 edition also marks a redesign for the brand, featuring a unique bottle design and presentation box that further completes the overall Midleton Rare experience and better reflects the quality and rarity of the whiskey inside. The elegant bottle takes inspiration from a writer’s ink well and a soft dip in the shoulder echoes the nib of a pen, creating a subtle link to Ireland’s literary legacy.

Speaking about Midleton Very Rare Vintage Release 2017, Master Distiller, Brian Nation commented: “It has been a privilege for me to continue the legacy of Midleton Very Rare that Barry Crockett started in 1984. Midleton Very Rare is rightfully regarded as the pinnacle of Irish whiskey with each vintage cherished by collectors and whisk(e)y enthusiasts all over the world. Due to the handcrafted nature of this whiskey, there are slight variances in taste from year to year which add to the special nature of this whiskey. The 2017 cask selection includes some 32-year-old Midleton Grain Whiskey which will contribute the lighter floral perfume notes along with some citrus fruit. A 26-year-old Single Pot Still whiskey has also been selected, which delivers a wide spectrum of typical spice character, such as sweet cinnamon and clove”.

Bottled at 40% ABV and without chill-filtration, the new-look Midleton Very Rare Vintage Release 2017 is available from this month at the RRP of €180 and is available in the USA, Canada, Ireland and Ireland Travel Retail.

William Grant & Sons Appoint John Wayte As Monkey Shoulder UK Brand Ambassador

John Wayte

Independent family distillers, William Grant & Sons UK has today confirmed that John Wayte will take on the role of UK brand ambassador for Monkey Shoulder.

As the face of the UK’s most exciting Scotch whisky, John’s role will see him support Monkey Shoulder’s continued growth and take it to a wider audience than ever before. He will work extensively in the brand’s on-trade heartland alongside Global Brand Ambassador Joe Petch and bartenders across the UK to affirm Monkey Shoulder’s position as the world’s top trending Scotch.

John’s wealth of experience has included previous ambassador work in Poland where he built brand awareness and advocacy, and delivered brand stories to the on-trade, consumers and the media.

John Wayte commented: “It is a huge honour to be joining such an exciting and dynamic brand. Monkey Shoulder is a whisky I have always admired and one that has never been afraid to break with convention. It’s great to be part of a team with such a passion for Scotch and with a very exciting vision for the brand.”

Asmita Singh, Senior Brand Manager said: “John’s energy and enthusiasm for the industry combined with awesome interests such as filmmaking and extreme sports make him the perfect fit to break down preconceptions of scotch whisky. I am excited to see his open approach in action with bartenders and consumers to bring even more cocktail lovers into the cheeky world of Monkey Shoulder.”

Follow John’s Monkey Shoulder journey on Instagram @_barmonkey.

One Of The World’s Rarest Whiskies Sells At Auction

1981 port ellen
One of the world’s most sought-after and rarest Single Malt Scotch Whiskies has been sold at auction for an impressive £9,375 – nearly double the price estimate.

The 1981 Port Ellen went under the hammer at Bonhams’ Whisky Sale in Edinburgh, Scotland today (4 October 2017) and was purchased by an unnamed buyer.

As the first bottle drawn from a privately-owned cask, the 36-year-old single malt offers its new owner a taste of true rarity.

James Mackay, Head of Rare & Collectable Spirits at Diageo, commented: “Port Ellen stocks are rapidly diminishing, putting the liquid in a different category from most other aged Single Malts on the market. Moreover, this now legendary single malt is not merely rare, old and in great demand; it is of outstanding quality.

“Over the last few years we’ve seen a rapid growth of interest in rare and collectable whiskies, and our Casks of Distinction programme gives private clients the chance to purchase unique, rare whiskies from Diageo’s extensive collection.

“As a whisky that seemingly just gets better and better with age, Port Ellen is a stunning example of Diageo’s Single Malt Scotch Whisky reserves. The 1981 bottling price estimate was £4,500-£5,000, the fact that it sold for more than £9,300 speaks volumes about the allure of the liquid and quality of Diageo’s Single Malt Scotch Whisky.”

The 36-year-old Port Ellen expression is a rare survivor from a golden age. Port Ellen was established as a malt mill on Islay’s south coast in 1825 and soon after developed into a major distillery. When the distillery closed in 1983 it had been in production for just 16 years after 35 years of closure, so there was as yet no knowledge of how well Port Ellen would age – it turned out to be some of the finest character found on the island of Islay.

It is now one of Islay’s most distinctive single malts and has attained great status among drinkers, collectors and investors alike. With a deep smoky taste, derived from the peat used to dry its barley, its finish is described as “medium to long, charred and smoky-sweet, the char slowly fading into sweet-spicy oak, with a last note of white pepper to re-heat the palate”.

Since December 2012, prices of Port Ellen have increased by +128% – soaring from as little as £100 two decades ago to today’s £2,500 per bottle, with scarcity being the main driver of the consistently escalating prices*.

The 1981 Port Ellen bottle was auctioned independently by a private owner. The single cask, which the bottle was drawn from, was purchased by the owner as part of Diageo’s ‘Casks of Distinction’. As part of this programme, Diageo gives selected private clients the chance to purchase single casks that have extraordinary quality and character. As each cask is entirely unique, patrons become the sole owners of some of the rarest whiskies ever to be released from Diageo’s extensive collection.

*Source: Rare Whisky 101 ‘Port Ellen Index’ http://www.rarewhisky101.com/indices/distillery-specific-indices/port-ellen-ob-index