Tag Archives: scotland

Chivas Regal Raises A Toast To Atsushi Suzuki

Atsushi suzuki
Chivas Regal, the world’s first luxury whisky, has crowned Atsushi Suzuki from the Sober
Company in Shanghai, China, the 2017 Chivas Masters Global Champion. Over a challenging five-day finale in Tokyo, Japan, Atsushi overcame strong competition from 14 of the world’s most skilled bartenders and led the winning Chivas Masters Collective team to victory, before being declared the overall champion.

The fourth Chivas Masters Global Final required the 15 national winners to showcase the
Chivas Regal values of brotherhood, collaboration and generosity. Atsushi impressed the expert panel of judges by expressing these core principles as he proved the outstanding contestant in what was a highly captivating and memorable final, culminating in the awards ceremony at the MIXX Bar & Lounge at the ANA InterContinental Tokyo.

A Japanese native himself, Atsushi fully embraced the traditions of Japanese bartending culture throughout a week of individual and team challenges, which included four individual drinks-making rounds. Atsushi’s winning team drinks ritual was The Double Talk, which was made using Chivas Regal 12, and presented with a focus on Japanese craftsmanship, kind service and attention to detail. Inspired by the way in which great drinks can bring people together and cross language barriers, he collaborated with his Mexican and Hong Kong team-mates, and was mentored by hospitality industry pioneer and team sensei Iain Griffiths, to devise a ritual which ensured the drink was designed to be shared, and allowed the drink to be adapted and personalised for different countries around the world.

As the newly crowned 2017 Chivas Masters Global Champion, Atsushi has won an all-access, all-expenses-paid trip to Tales of The Cocktail 2017 in New Orleans. The winning Chivas Masters Collective team led by Atsushi – comprising Mexico’s Haydée Barron Flores and Ryan Nightingale from Hong Kong – walked away with the pinnacle of the range, Chivas Regal The Icon, presented in a bespoke decanter with customised Japanese glassware.

Upon being crowned champion, Atsushi commented: “Wow. It is such an honour to receive this – and in my home town too. I feel like it’s a win for Japan as well as for China. And of course it’s not just for me, but for my awesome team of Haydée and Ryan, and my sensei, Iain. I’ve found friends for the rest of my life through the Chivas Masters – and I’ve learnt how to be a better bartender too.”

Max Warner, Global Brand Ambassador for Chivas Regal, commented from Tokyo: “The Chivas Masters Global Final has again shown the world the wonderful values and principles that great bartending can harness. Atsushi fully took the Chivas Regal spirit of generosity and collaboration with him into the final, which was the eventual point of difference in a very tough field – alongside, of course, some spectacular bartending skills.

“Beyond the serve itself, teamwork and collaboration are just as crucial to the craft of drinks-making, and we have witnessed that here today, and throughout the entire contest. That is why we are also delighted to honour the entire winning Chivas Masters Collective, who helped lead our champion to victory and demonstrated that success really does taste better shared.”

The 2017 Chivas Masters Global Final was host to a distinguished panel of internationally
acclaimed judges: Iain Griffiths, hospitality industry pioneer and co-founder of Mr Lyan Ltd;
Micah Melton, beverage director at the Alinea Group and renowned ‘ice chef’; Chris Lowder, ‘New York’s Rising Star Bartender’ in 2015; Dré Masso, ex-director of bars for the Potato Head Group in Bali, Jakarta, Singapore and Hong Kong; and Rogerio Igarashi Vaz, owner of Tokyo’s Tram & Trench. Each not only scored the finalists, but also shared their insights and expertise through a series of inspirational masterclasses over the course of the week.

The evening also saw the first ever Chivas Masters Global Champion, Masa Urushido,
honoured as a Grand Master, in his native Japan.

THE DOUBLE TALK

40ml Chivas Regal 12
20ml Campari
20ml Bianco Vermouth

Garnished with Matcha Tea Salt – or customised to your country

Stirred and served over block ice in a rocks glass, with a side serve for sharing

 

The Chivas Masters Collective teams:

Team leader: Atsushi Suzuki, China

Team member: Haydée Barron Flores, Mexico

Team member: Ryan Nightingale, Hong Kong

 

Team leader: Hyacinthe Lescoët, France

Team member: Daniel Huggins, Germany

Team member: Patryk Biadacz, Poland

 

Team leader: Masato Sakurai, Japan

Team member: Sandra Šalatová, Czech Republic

Team member: Aloisek Rodríguez Martínez, Cuba

 

Team leader: Roger Grüter, Switzerland

Team member: Abner Barrientos, Puerto Rico

Team member: Wouter Bosch, The Netherlands

 

Team leader: Adam Schmidt, USA

Team member: Benjamin Boyce, United Arab Emirates

Team member: Rhys Wilson, United Kingdom

Special Release Launched For Glen Moray’s 120th Anniversary

Glen Moray
Recognising the work of his predecessors, Graham Coull, Glen Moray’s Master Distiller, selected five different vintages of Glen Moray to create MASTERY, the ultimate ‘blend’.

The result is a whisky of incredible depth and character that encapsulates the very essence of Glen Moray, steeped in the proud traditions of Speyside, released on 1st July 2017.

Three of the five vintages used were laid down by Graham’s Glen Moray forefathers, Robert Brown (manager from 1959-1987) and Edwin Dodson (manager from 1987-2005). Two of Graham’s own vintages are in there too, as well as evidence of techniques first employed by Glen Moray’s original pioneers, James Haddow (manager from 1913-1927) and his son, Alexander Haddow (manager from 1927 -1959).

With great skill and finesse, Graham experimented to find the ultimate composition, using whisky matured in different fortified wine casks (sherry, madeira and port) to form the backbone of the 120th Anniversary release.

By using the sweetness of port to bring out the best in the heavier flavours emanating from the sherry and Madeira, Graham has added his own ‘twist’ to the Glen Moray classic taste profile, bringing sublime smoothness and balance to the masterpiece.

‘The 120th Anniversary Release celebrates the traditional craftsmanship of Glen Moray while raising a glass to the innovation of maturing in wine casks. Mastery is smooth, sleek and sophisticated.’

Graham Coull says: ‘The Madeira casks that we’ve chosen to form the heart of the whisky relate back to the genuine traditions of Glen Moray experimenting with different, innovative techniques in maturation. It’s me putting a twist on the spirit that was made by previous generations of master distillers.’

‘I wanted to bring in something from 1978, some of the oldest whisky in the warehouses, that represented whisky made by Robert Brown, the 3rd generation of Master Distiller, who was at the helm of Glen Moray from 1959 until 1987 as well as casks filled in the 80’s and 90’s by my predecessor, Ed Dodson. We’ve intertwined these with whisky that has spent its full term in first-fill sherry casks and also a proportion that has been finished in port, to develop the layers of complexity in the overall bottling. The port finished whisky brings a little lightness, which we felt perfectly balances the more robust flavours of the sherry and madeira casks in the blend.’

Kingsbarn Distillery Releases Two Years Old Spirit

Bottle (2 years)

Kingsbarns Distillery is proud to reveal that a 2 Year Old Spirit Drink has been bottled and is available to purchase exclusively at the Kingsbarns Distillery and Visitor Centre.

Kingsbarns 2 Year Old Spirit Drink is the first release from Kingsbarns to be matured in oak casks however it cannot be called Scotch whisky as it has not been matured for over 3 years. The release, available in a 200ml bottling is a combination of 2 casks that have matured single malt spirit, for over 2 years, in 1st fill ex-bourbon barrels. It has been bottled non chill-filtered and at the natural cask strength of 62.8%abv.

Having previously released in August 2015 Kingsbarns Spirit Drink in a 200ml bottle at the ‘filling strength’ of 63.5% the aim remains to bottle the very first Kingsbarns single malt Scotch whisky as a ‘Founders’ Reserve’ exclusively for the Founders’ Club in 2018. Kingsbarns Founders’ Club membership is still available and can be bought at the Visitor Centre or online at http://www.kingsbarnsdistillery.com

Distillery Manager Peter Holroyd gave his first impressions of the new bottling at a Kingsbarns Founders’ Club members tour and tasting on Friday July 23rd “We are delighted to announce the limited release of our 2yr old spirit which can be purchased exclusively here at the distillery. It has a sweet, floral nose and on the palate I get ginger biscuits with a slightly dry finish. Its very exciting to see how our spirit is progressing so far, and with only one more year to go until we can call what we produce Scotch whisky, the team here at Kingsbarns are all looking forward to releasing our first malt in 2018”

William Wemyss on behalf of the family stated “When establishing Kingsbarns distillery great effort was dedicated to acquiring the finest casks for maturing our precious spirit and it is fantastic to see how in just 2 years, the spirit had developed and transformed. Expectation and demand for this exclusive one off bottling will be intense given the continuing popularity of the Kingsbarns new make spirit and the whisky enthusiast’s ever thirsty curiosity regarding the progress of this new Lowland malt.”

The release is limited to just 1,800 200ml bottles and is available for purchase, 1 bottle per person, exclusively at the Kingsbarns Visitor Centre although telephone order will be available to Founders’ Club members in the UK and Europe.

Balblair

Balblair
It’s fascinating to experience a brand of whisky that offers a whole host of expressions that are not to the norm. Vintages can be seen as an exclusive way to release something special, whether it corresponds with a certain milestone year, or a particular one-off style that’s never to be seen again. Indeed these sort of expressions become highly sought-after, and are rarely seen on a shelf within your favourite whisky haunt.

Balblair have seemed to buck the trend on this.

They only create vintages that are ‘timed to perfection’, and have done since 1790. No 12-year-old in sight. No 18-year-old to speak of. But a 1999 vintage? No problem.

But why this way? Lets take a look.

The Balblair Distillery was established back in 1790 in Dornoch Firthby by a local man, John Ross (although the first known records date from 1749) and was soon joined by his son Andrew. Eventually, the sons and grandsons of John Ross operated the Balblair farm and distillery until the last years of the 19th century until the sale of Balblair Distillery to Alexander Cowan in 1894. Cowan brings Balblair into the 20th Century by building the present offices, still house, mash house, kiln and barns.

After the launch of the Highland Railway Company rail line between Inverness and Ardgay in 1862, Balblair started to take advantage of its use and moved the distillery half a mile north to its current location in 1895. Unfortunately, due to the tough economic times, Balblair Distillery shut in 1911, with the last drop of whisky leaving the warehouse in 1932.

Despite a brief use of the building by the army, 1948 saw Robert James “Bertie” Cumming, a solicitor from Banff, purchase the distillery for £48,000, with production resuming just a year later and expanding with extra warehouses and the first steam boiler in 1964. In 1970 though, Cummings sold the Balblair Distillery to Hiram Walker, the company that later becomes Allied Distillers. This era saw the renovation of the distillery throughout the 1980’s until its sale to Inver House Distillers in 1996.

It was in 2007 that Balblair opted for the bold move to only release Balblair as a Vintage Whisky, with the first vintages released being 1997, 1989 and 1979 in March 2007. It’s said that “Each Balblair Vintage captures the essence of its year in a bottle. They’re only ever selected at the absolute peak of perfection. Handpicked, to represent the very best our Distillery has to offer”.

I’ve been lucky enough to enjoy some of the Balblair Vintages, so below, I give to you my tasting notes –

Balbair 1975 – 46%

Fresh citrus and coconut notes on the nose. Sweet and spicy on the palate with honey and fruits on the finish. Warming.

Balbair 1989 – 46%

Apple and raisin notes on the nose and then combines with spice flavours on the palate. A long, rich offering with raisin dominating throughout.

Balblair 1991 – 43%

Bold and fresh notes of honey and butter, with subtle cherry finding its way through. Soft green fruits on the palate creating a very dry, almost ash driven finish.

Balblair 1997 – 46%

Tropical fruits on the nose with apples, honey and vanilla coming through.  A hit of sweetness on the palate, but spice soon follows that creates a long, long finish.

Balblair 1999 – 46%

The second release of the 1999 that replaces the award-winning second release of the 1997 Vintage.
Honey and leather notes on the nose, with subtle hints of lavender coming through. Sharp lemon skin upon the palate, staying at the front of the mouth whilst the rest enjoys smooth vanilla and honey mixed with waves of bold spice. Long finish.

Balbair 2002 – 46%

Floral fruits on the nose with hints of vanilla and toffee following, A good mix of spice and sweetness on the palate with orange and lemons dominating.

 

 

Balblair 2004 – 46%

Bourbon matured. Light nose with no distinctive aromas coming through. Slight malt honey on the odd occasion. Dry orange with light, sweet hints available. A short and very dry finish.

Some fantastic whisky expressions here, and as you’d imagine, not the range that you would start to mix up a cocktail with. The odd drop of water would open up a few of the above, but personal rule is to enjoy it as it comes, and the Balblair range, currently, do not disappoint. A couple for the drinks cabinet won’t go amiss.

© 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.

 

Chelsie Bailey Takes The UK Crown In Monkey Shoulder’s Ultimate Bartender Championship

Monkey Shoulder - Ultimate Bartender Championship

Monkey Shoulder’s Ultimate Bartender Championship’s (UBC) UK winner has been crowned, with Chelsie Bailey from Red Light bar in Bristol taking this year’s title. Bartenders up and down the country had their skills put to the test – with the 2017 competition seeing entrants quizzed on everything from pouring and nosing, to stock take and tray service.

Chelsie fought off tough competition from over 100 entrants who battled their way through heats in six cities – with the last heat taking place in London on Sunday 14th May. Despite the outstanding efforts of entrants from all areas of the country over three months, it was Chelsie that proved she indeed has the “skills to pay the bills”.

The Ultimate Bartender Championship will now bring together all the global winners at this year’s Tales of the Cocktail – the world’s premiere cocktail festival. Chelsie, along with other winners from around the world will enjoy an all-expenses paid trip to New Orleans, where they will have the opportunity to network with the industry’s most influential personalities and other UBC winners from across the world.

“There is no doubt that it was a hard-fought battle – but it is amazing to see Chelsie win for the UK and head off to Tales of the Cocktail this Summer – it’s going to be epic! UBC is intended to challenge the best bartenders across the UK, and the stiff competition this year proves that it is doing just that” commented Grant Neave, Monkey Shoulder brand amBADASSador.

The UK leader board can be viewed here: http://ultimatebartenderchampionship.com/local-leaderboard

Full details of each round can also be found at: http://ultimatebartenderchampionship.com/challenges.

Glen Moray Celebrates Their 120th Anniversary Year

graham-coull-master-distiller-glen-moray_0046
120 years of single malt whisky making history at the Glen Moray distillery, at the heart of Scotland’s Speyside region, is celebrated throughout 2017.

The first drops of spirit ran from the copper pot stills at Glen Moray on the 13th September 1897. Over the last 120 years, just five men have had the honour of being “Master Distiller”. The men who have made Glen Moray great.

The current Glen Moray distillery was originally developed as the Elgin West Brewery in 1830 and produced several local ales before redevelopment into a fully functional single malt distillery sixty-seven years later when The Glen Moray Glenlivet Distillery Company Limited was formed on the 27th January, 1897. Handwritten ledgers show the first spirit run being made on the 13th September, 1897 using all local barley.

The early 1900’s were turbulent times for malt whisky across Scotland, followed by the onset of World War One, enforced constriction of the production of malt whisky by the Pot Still Malt Distillery Association of Scotland in the early 1930’s and World War Two.

Expansion continued during the 1950’s and Glen Moray Single Malt Distillery has recently undertaken expansion works so that the production capacity has grown to 6.5mla. Additional maturation warehouses have been built increasing the storage capacity from 90,000 barrels to 250,000 barrels.

Graham Coull, current Glen Moray Master Distiller, took over the helm in 2005 and continues the tenacious, innovative stewardship, which has remained very much at the heart of the distillery since spirit first flowed from its stills.

To celebrate the 120th Anniversary, Glen Moray are introducing “Mastery” special release crafted by the fifth Master Distiller, Graham Coull, using whisky from five distinctive vintages, matured in a variety of fortified wine casks across the different decades.

Glenfiddich IPA Experiment Launches In UK On-Trade With Young’s Exclusive

glenfiddich-ipa-and-serveGlenfiddich, the world’s most awarded single malt whisky, officially launches the Glenfiddich IPA Experiment in the UK on-trade starting with 85 Young’s pubs across London.

The Glenfiddich IPA Experiment is the world’s first single malt Scotch whisky finished in IPA craft beer casks. A collaboration between Glenfiddich Malt Master, Brian Kinsman, and Speyside craft brewer, Seb Jones, they worked together to pioneer a new single malt Scotch whisky imbued with zesty citrus and tangy hops from the oak casks that had previously held a bold Speyside IPA.

According to Glenfiddich Senior Brand Manager, Sarah Harding, “Since the Glenfiddich IPA Experiment launched in September 2016 in the off-trade, we have been overwhelmed by the interest from consumers and whisky connoisseurs nationwide due to the unique qualities of this experimental liquid. We are so pleased to be officially launching the Glenfiddich IPA in the UK on-trade with Young’s so more consumers can experience this collaboration between brewer, Seb Jones, and Glenfiddich Malt Master, Brian Kinsman.”

Gillian McLaren, Director of Marketing said “At Young’s we aim to go above and beyond when offering our consumers a range of unique drinks and experiences. We are seeing a growing demand for whisky and as Glenfiddich is one of the most innovative whisky brands in the world, we’re thrilled to be the first managed outlet to stock Glenfiddich IPA across 85 of our pubs. We hope it will appeal to our current whisky drinkers and look forward to educating more consumers on the wonderful world of whisky through our variety of consumer tasting events.”

Young’s will be hosting a number of Glenfiddich IPA Experiment whisky tasting events for customers which will run from 17th January until 17th March 2017. These include:
– January 18th (7pm-9pm): GLENFIDDICH IPA MASTERCLASS @ WHITE BEAR, KENNINGTON
– February 23rd (7pm-9pm): GLENFIDDICH DECONSTRUCTED @ DOG & FOX, WIMBLEDON

To find more information about the events and Young’s Whisky Tide campaign, visit http://www.youngs.co.uk/.

Glenfiddich IPA is part of Glenfiddich’s innovative Experimental Series, a new range that combines the brand’s passion for pushing Scotch whisky boundaries and its collaborations with trailblazers from the whisky world and beyond.

Glen Grant Whisky Toasts Burns Night With A Haggis Cocktail

the-chieftain-3
For Burns Night, multi award-winning Scotch Whisky, Glen Grant, has partnered with The Bon Vivant bar in Edinburgh to create the ‘The Chieftain’, a haggis-infused cocktail named after Robert Burns’ famous description of Scotland’s national dish, the “great chieftain o’ the pudding race”.

Created by Will Cox of The Bon Vivant, The Chieftain’s recipe is inspired by a traditional Burns Supper menu and includes the ingredients found in the occasion’s centerpiece.

Haggis is traditionally made from sheep’s offal (heart, liver and lungs) minced with onion, oatmeal, salt and spices. The Chieftain comprises of an oat-washed Glen Grant 10 Year Old combined with an offal stock syrup to replicate the unique meaty haggis flavour. It is served with a pickled red onion, representing the ‘heart’, a salt and pepper air, representing the ‘lungs’, a turnip cordial, a nod to the famous ‘neeps’ accompaniment, and a haggis rim.

Will Cox said: “The opportunity to team up with one of Scotland’s most iconic whiskies, Glen Grant, to make a Burns Night cocktail was too good to miss. It was very challenging, but we had a lot of fun coming up with The Chieftain and are looking forward to serving it to customers with a haggis bon bon or two on Burns nicht.”

Nick Williamson, Marketing Director Campari UK, said: “With the bard’s birthday being such a well-loved celebration, we want to mark the occasion with the same creativity the man himself approached his work. The bar team at the Bon Vivant has done a remarkable job with The Chieftain and we look forward to raising a glass or two in celebration come the 25th January.”

Glen Grant’s new range of aged single malt Scotch whiskies has continued to turn heads as it secured some of the whisky industry’s most prestigious awards in 2016, including the Glen Grant 10 Year Old winning Best Single Malt Scotch (10 Years and Younger) for the fifth year in a row in Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible.

THE CHIEFTAIN RECIPE:

Glen Grant 10 year old, oat washed
Offal stock glaze
Salt and pepper air
Pickled red onion
Turnip cordial
Haggis butter crumb

The Chieftain will be available to buy in The Bon Vivant Bar, 55 Thistle St, Edinburgh EH2 1DY for one night only on 25th January 2016 priced at £9.

William Grant & Sons UK Appoints Alwynne Gwilt As The Balvenie UK Ambassador

alwynne-headshot
Independent family distillers, William Grant & Sons UK has today confirmed that whisky specialist, Alwynne Gwilt will take on the role of UK ambassador for The Balvenie Single Malt Scotch whisky, as of January 2017.

Joining William Grant & Sons UK in January 2016 as Whisky Specialist for the Ancient Reserves portfolio, Alwynne’s new role as The Balvenie UK ambassador will see her focus on generating brand advocacy and bridging communication between the brand and whisky drinkers, bars & restaurants, retailers, distributors and press.

Jonathan Cornthwaite, Head of Whisky at William Grant & Sons UK said: “Alwynne has a deep passion for whisky and the way it is made, which is why she is the perfect person to take on the UK ambassador role for The Balvenie, the most handcrafted single malt. With her wealth of unique experience, Alwynne will play a crucial role as the face of one of William Grant & Sons UK’s core brands. Alwynne will lead from the front to develop key relationships and initiatives to further enhance The Balvenie’s excellent reputation with whisky novices, enthusiasts and connoisseurs alike, as well as with on-trade partners.”

Alwynne Gwilt said: “Many years ago, when I was just beginning my journey in whisky, The Balvenie distillery was one of the very first ones I visited. And because all of the processes are done on-site, it was the first time I really, truly ‘got’ whisky, the first time I understood its underlying heartbeat. I was utterly hooked! As such, I’m thrilled to be coming back to these early roots, to be able to speak about and share my love of this beautifully hand-crafted product with whisky lovers far and wide.”

Alwynne will take over from James Buntin who held the role since 2014.

Chivas Starts Global Search For Its Next Master

2016-chivas-master-ocoalejandro-millan-ponce-de-leon-from-mexico

Chivas Regal, the world’s first luxury whisky, has launched its search for the 2017 Global Chivas Master. Now in its fourth year, the Chivas Masters cocktail competition is built on Chivas’ belief that great bartending is measured not only by the achievements of an individual, but by the ability to work together as a team. This year’s competition is set to celebrate the impact of Asia’s innovative and booming cocktail scene on the world, by holding the Global Final in Tokyo for the first time ever.

National stages of the competition will challenge entrants to celebrate the versatility and international appeal of Chivas Regal, through the creation of three new cocktails showcasing its smooth, rich and generous house style. Bartenders will be invited to take inspiration from the classic cocktails of New York, where Chivas was first launched in 1909; local flavours from their individual countries; and the celebrated traditions of Tokyo’s bartending scene, which is renowned for its extraordinary craftsmanship, kind service and precision.

The move to hold the Global Final in Tokyo – whose unique cocktail customs fascinate bartenders from across the world – continues Chivas Regal’s exploration of Asia’s cocktail capitals, following last year’s final in Shanghai. The most talented competitor from each market will be invited to spend an immersive week in Tokyo at the Chivas Masters Global Final, where the internationally-acclaimed panel of judges will share some of their insights and expertise through inspirational masterclasses.

The ultimate winner will not only impress with their individual bartending skills, but – crucially – will also prove their ability to work with an international bartending team, and collaborate and share success with international peers, through the Chivas Masters Collective team challenge. The 2017 Global Chivas Master will win the opportunity to travel to an iconic bar in the city of their choice, to work alongside some of the world’s most influential bartenders.

Max Warner, International Brand Ambassador for Chivas Regal, comments: “2016 was a year of firsts for the Chivas Masters: the first time the final of a global cocktail competition had been held in Shanghai, and the first time the concept of the Chivas Masters Collective was realised. The 2017 Chivas Masters competition is set to build on these innovations, cementing Chivas Regal’s commitment to hospitality and collaboration – traits central to the bartending industry – and set against the backdrop of Tokyo, one of the world’s great cocktail capitals. We welcome entry from bartenders from across the world, who believe they epitomise our values of brotherhood and generosity.”

Do you think you have what it takes to be the next Chivas Master? Visit chivas.com/chivasmasters to find out more about the competition, or get in touch with your local Pernod Ricard representative.