A dram-atic incentive for 5,600 riders tackling the timed King of the Mountain stage at Loch Ness

Riders taking on one of Scotland’s best-loved cycling events have been given some news to lift their spirits – The Singleton of Glen Ord Distillery has become a sponsor for the toughest section of the course. The distillery will sponsor the challenging King of the Mountain stage at Etape Loch Ness – a gruelling 4.8-mile climb which rises to 380m in height.

The Singleton of Glen Ord Distillery, which is based just a few miles from the course on the Black Isle, will also be congratulating cyclists who make it around the route with a two-for-one offer for its distillery tours, ensuring both riders and their supporters can toast the day’s success.

Etape Loch Ness takes place on April 28, 2019 with 5,600 cyclists expected to take on the 66-mile circular route around the iconic landmark on traffic-free roads. Hundreds of riders will be taking part for good causes, including official charity partner Macmillan Cancer Support.

Special jerseys are awarded to the fastest male and female cyclists on the King of the Mountain stage. The 4.8-mile climb – renowned for being as exhilarating as it is challenging – starts as cyclists leave Fort Augustus and rises to the Glendoe Summit, gaining 380m in height.

The Singleton of Glen Ord Distillery brand home manager Alastair Orr said the event – and the King of the Mountain stage – was a perfect fit for the distillery.

A veteran of all five previous Etape Loch Ness events, Alastair explained: “The brand slogan for The Singleton is ‘unapologetically enjoyed’ and that’s exactly what I feel about that hill! It is difficult, it is challenging, but it is also one of the most enjoyable sections in an absolutely fantastic event.

“We are thrilled to be a part of Etape Loch Ness: amazing scenery, great company, Loch Ness and now a whisky distillery – it is everything that is iconic about Scotland rolled into one.

“Etape Loch Ness has grown into a phenomenally popular event, and one which has become a bucket list event for cyclists of all abilities. It attracts thousands of people into the area every year, and as a five-star visitor attraction, that has to be good news for us and for other tourism-related businesses.

“The visitor centre is the only place in the UK – indeed the only place outside of Asia – where it is possible to buy The Singleton of Glen Ord, so those who do visit will also be able to get a unique souvenir of their Etape Loch Ness experience.”

Event director Malcolm Sutherland added: “We are delighted to welcome The Singleton of Glen Ord Distillery on board as an event partner and hope that many of our riders will take the opportunity to visit the distillery while they are in the area.

“We are incredibly lucky to have the support of many fantastic partners and we are indebted to their support. Once again this year, all general entry places sold out in under 51 hours and only a limited number of places remain for riders who commit to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support.

“Over the past five years of Etape Loch Ness, Macmillan has been able to raise over £1m through our riders. We ask that riders with a charity place pledge to raise a minimum of £100 for Macmillan – it’s a relatively small amount, but one which can make a huge difference to people living with cancer.”

Other event partners include Shand Cycles, High 5, Cycle Republic, JBT, Cromarty Brewing Co, Harry Gow, Highland Council and Parcelinq.

Starting in Inverness, the stunning Etape Loch Ness route follows the A82 along the northern side before passing through Fort Augustus onto the south side. The route then continues around the southern side of the loch before returning to the event hub at Eden Court in Inverness.

To sign up for one of the last remaining places available for Macmillan Cancer Support, visit www.etapelochness.com.

Helen Mulholland, Master Blender for Bushmills Irish Whiskey – inducted into the Whisky Magazine Hall of Fame

The recognition is the highest honour awarded by Whisky Magazine, the world’s leading publication about whiskey, and is selected by an independent editorial panel. She is the first woman to be inducted into the Hall of Fame since its inception in 2004.

The award comes at an apt time for Helen as she is celebrating her 25th year at The Old Bushmills Distillery, the world’s oldest licensed whiskey distillery. She began her career in a small laboratory at The Old Bushmills Distillery and is now Master Blender, crafting both Bushmills Irish Whiskey premium blends and aged single malts.

Known for her passion for innovation, Helen has overseen a number of new product launches during her time at The Distillery, including THE STEAMSHIP COLLECTION™, the brand’s first global travel retail exclusive range, and the new BUSHMILLS DISTILLERY EXCLUSIVE, a limited edition single malt whiskey aged in acacia wood.

Speaking about the honour, Helen said: “I am delighted to be inducted into the Whisky Magazine Hall of Fame and I’m honoured to be among so many titans in our industry. I have truly enjoyed my 25 years at The Old Bushmills Distillery, and I look forward to many more. I often say I have one of the best jobs in the world and it is an honour to see my work recognised in this way.

“Since I started at The Distillery, my passion has been to develop new whiskeys and experiment with different casks and flavours. There’s nothing better than introducing a new Irish whiskey to the market as it’s such an exciting time for the Irish whiskey category. Demand continues to soar, especially for premium malts, so we will continue to innovate and create new expressions for whiskey drinkers around the world.”

The award was presented to Helen at the 2019 Whisky Magazine Awards Ireland at a ceremony in Dublin on 22nd November.

Rob Allanson, Editor, Whisky Magazine added: “We were delighted to welcome Helen Mulholland into the Whisky Magazine Hall of Fame this year. She was selected because of her outstanding contributions to not just her brand but also the wider Irish whiskey category. It takes years of experience and serious skills to produce consistent, high-quality whiskeys week in and week out like Helen does. She embodies the commitment and talent required to produce fine Irish whiskey and joins a group of exceptional whiskey creators in the Whisky Magazine Hall of Fame.”

Dewar’s launch new bar at Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2

Working in close partnership with duty free operator Eraman (owned by Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad), Bacardi Global Travel Retail introduces Bar Metropole, an intriguing new Dewar’s destination bar at Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2, Malaysia, adapting the creative themes of the successful John Dewar & Sons Fine Scotch Whisky Emporium.

Bacardi sponsored the design and build of the bar, featuring natural woods and contemporary copper fixtures, in-bar displays and wall fixtures to share elements of the Dewar’s story, giving customers a taste of the brand’s heritage and meticulous production process. A contemporary edge is added with intriguing on-bar, glass-domed vapour machines that transform Dewar’s premium blends and single malts into liquid vapour to provide an extraordinary multi-sensory experience, enabling customers discover the aromatic personality of the Dewar’s range.

Zulhikam Ahmad, Malaysia Airports (Niaga) General Manager, adds: “We are delighted to host the world’s first Dewar’s bar atKuala Lumpur International Airport 2. Celebrating our 25th anniversary this year we are determined to offer travellers exciting new experiences across the airport and this innovative bar will attract passengers to spend more time at the airport, giving them an original and memorable place to enjoy a Dewar’s whisky before they fly.”

Clydeside Distillery launches Whisky and Chocolate Tour

The Clydeside Distillery has introduced two brand new tours as part of its visitor experience.

Now available to book online and from the distillery itself, The Whisky & Chocolate Tour offers visitors a unique combination of delicious artisan chocolates, made by local Glasgow chocolatier Stacy Hannah Chocolates, with five carefully selected 10ml drams of Single Malt Scotch Whisky and The Clydeside’s New Make Spirit.

A perfect conclusion to The Clydeside’s self-guided tour where guests can discover the fascinating story about the distillery and its location, each dram is perfectly paired with a different flavoured chocolate, made freshly by hand using superior cocoa beans and specially sourced ingredients.

Hosted by your Clydeside guide in the Blender’s Room, the Whisky & Chocolate Tour will offer visitors magnificent views of The Clydeside’s stunning copper stills, as well as the River Clyde and the surrounding sights.

The selection of hand-made chocolates from Stacy Hannah Chocolates includes: Pear & Cardamom, Salted Caramel, Berry & Lavender and Passionfruit, Ginger & Chilli. Made using specially prepared fruit purées, coconut oil and coconut milk, the chocolates are dairy free making them suitable for vegans and those with a lactose intolerance.

In addition to the Whisky & Chocolate Tour, The Clydeside has also introduced the Distillery Manager Tour, an exclusive tour personally hosted by Distillery Manager Alistair McDonald. Offering a maximum of six guests a unique experience, this tour includes the self-guided element telling The Dockyard Story followed by samples of a selection of 10-year-old whiskies and canapés in the Blender’s Room with gifts to take home including branded glasses and a bottle of Clydeside New Make Spirit.

Taking guests on a step-by-step journey of the craftsmanship behind The Clydeside’s New Make Spirit, Alistair will take you on a behind the scenes tour of the distillery, where our team use traditional methods and time-honoured skills to produce the distillery’s spirit, now in casks as we wait patiently as it matures.

Bridgeen Mullen, Visitor Centre Manager at The Clydeside said: “It’s very exciting to have these new tours available for our guests. Not only are they perfect for whisky fans of all knowledge and experience, with Christmas fast approaching they also make ideal gifts.

“Pairing whisky with chocolate has become incredibly popular so being able to work with Stacy Hannah chocolate who are based near us here in Glasgow was an added bonus. Like us, Stacy is passionate about quality, provenance and locally-sourced products and we look forward to giving our visitors the opportunity to combine whisky with delicious artisan chocolates.”

Visitors, tourists and whisky enthusiasts have the choice of three different bottles of 10-year-old whiskies which they can label. The Islay, Lowland and Highland expressions are part of the distillery tour and each have their own characteristics and tasting notes. Visitors can handwrite a bespoke label with their, or a loved one’s, details – making for a truly special memento from their visit and a stunning gift.

The three 70cl bottles are priced at £35 each for the Lowland, Highland and Islay and can be purchased either as part of a distillery tour or individually from the distillery shop. Guests taking a distillery tour are eligible for a 5% discount of the label your own bottle price.

The Whisky & Chocolate Tour is priced at £28pp and limited to six people maximum per tour.

The Distillery Manager’s tour is priced at £120pp and available weekly on a Thursday at 2.00pm.

For more information, visit: www.theclydeside.com

The Macallan 1926 60-Year-Old Malt: Achieves a World Auction Record for a bottle of whisky

On 29 November 2018, The Macallan 1926 60-Year-Old presented in a unique bottle painted by the Irish artist Michael Dillon (estimate on request) sold for £1,200,000 / $1,528,800 / €1,352,400 in Christie’s Finest & Rarest Wines & Spirits auction in London, achieving a world auction record for a bottle of whisky.

In 1926 John Logie Baird gave the first public demonstration of television; Route 66 was established between Chicago and Los Angeles; and Agatha Christie mysteriously disappeared for 11 days. Meanwhile, the whisky-makers at The Macallan distillery filled cask no. 263 — which had begun its life in Jerez de la Frontera in Spain — with clear, ‘new make’ spirit from one of its famous ‘Curiously Small Stills’. Then they left it, and they waited for the Spanish oak — which had been ‘seasoned’ with Oloroso sherry — to work its magic.

The Macallan distillery located near the river Spey in North East Scotland was founded in 1824 and produces stunning examples of cask-matured single malts, particularly their highly prized single-cask, limited edition bottlings and Fine & Rare Collection. The Macallan 60-Year-Old 1926 takes this rarity to new heights for collectors of Macallan whisky. Peter Blake, the renowned artist responsible for the album cover of the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, and Valerio Adami were each asked to design a label for this special 1926 Macallan 60-Year-Old malt, and 12 individually numbered bottles from each artist were released after the whisky had spent 60 years maturing in ex-sherry casks prior to bottling in 1986.

Less well-known was that one bottle of this ultra-rare elixir was commissioned and hand-painted by Irish artist Michael Dillon. The bottle, which beautifully depicts the Easter Elchies House of The Macallan against the backdrop of the Scottish Highlands, is truly one-of-a-kind.

Tim Triptree MW, Christie’s International Director of Wine: “The sale represents a landmark moment in the whisky market with The Macallan 1926 60-Year-Old achieving £1,200,000 / $1,528,800 / €1,352,400 and establishing a world auction record for a bottle of whisky.

Scott McCroskie, Managing Director, The Macallan: “This 1926 60-Year-Old bottle of The Macallan, hand-painted by the Irish artist Michael Dillon is very rare, so it is exciting to see it come to market and establish another auction record for Single Malt Scotch. The Macallan is renowned for its quality and desirability, and the Christie’s auction marks a significant achievement for the brand.”

Ardbeg – on the hunt for a National Brand Ambassador in the USA

If you are the No.1 fan of this delightful smokey and peaty whisky, this must surely be the job for you.  Ardbeg are currently looking for a National Brand Ambassador who knows there way around a mash tun, to help promote the brand in the USA.

The Ardbeg Ambassador is self-made with a strong personality, yet approachable and witty, never taking themselves too seriously. He/She is open-minded and happy to challenge or be challenged. Ardbeg is his/her passion, and this passion is highly contagious as they win hearts and minds with a unique, inviting and unconventional style of storytelling. Extremely knowledgeable about whisky, yet breaking the mold with out-of-the-box ideas, he/she is the embodiment of the Ardbeg brand.

To help see who will don the crown of ‘Ardbeg National Brand Ambassador’, candidates who pass the initial screening will be invited to post a short video of  one minute or less.  So if you  own a Jack Russell, are a champion peat bog snorkeler or cook breakfast on a peat burning stove, or favourite destination is heading East out of Port Ellen, they want to here from you!


Bowmore Launches 52 Year Old Expression – One of the World’s Rarest Single Malts

Bowmore has announced the release of Bowmore 1965, the latest expression in the Vaults Series. Having matured for 52 years at Bowmore distillery the home of the world’s oldest scotch maturation warehouse, and benefitting from a careful aging process over the course of many decades, Bowmore 1965 is one of the rarest and most refined whiskies the distillery has ever produced.

Over this time, the limited-edition whisky has unlocked the flavours of rich and balanced smoke, so distinctive of 1960s Bowmore whiskies. The expression is testament to the craft and patience of Bowmore’s esteemed whisky makers who allowed the liquid to mature for so long.

With a rich natural colour, complexity and intensity that has rarely been seen in a single malt. On the nose, Bowmore 1965, tasted at cask strength (42% abv) offers elegant bursts of fragrant fruits, sweet bees wax and intense dark chocolate, developing into burnt heather and a fresh spring flower finish. Perfectly balanced with a touch of jasmine, dried fruit and apricots, this single malt is best savoured neat.

David Turner, Bowmore Distillery Manager, stated; “This is the 3rd Bowmore release under my tenancy and is certainly one of the most remarkable whiskies we have produced during my time here. Bowmore 1965 demonstrates the rewards of our meticulous aging process and showcases the quality of whiskies coming from our talented and dedicated distillery team.

“I have always been incredibly passionate about whisky and I have absolutely no doubt that the latest addition in our 50-year-old Vaults series is sure to obtain legendary status among collectors and whisky enthusiasts alike.”

Loch Lomond Single Malt create a toast with golden twist

Loch Lomond Single Malt has crafted the perfect serve for revellers planning to welcome the New Year.

Marrying whisky and fizz, the Loch Lomond Sparkling Gold is designed to satisfy the staunchest of traditionalists, while also providing the ever-pleasing pop of a cork.

Made with Loch Lomond’s award-winning 12 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky, the Loch Lomond Sparkling Gold pays tribute to the Scots tradition of Hogmanay, celebrated on December 31. Known in other countries as New Year’s Eve, Scotland’s Hogmanay celebrations regularly attract visitors from all over the world and have become the benchmark for welcoming the New Year.

Originating from the Viking celebration of the winter solstice, Hogmanay now marks a time for friends and family to gather together to toast the future – typically with a dram.

Other Scottish Hogmanay traditions include cleaning the house before the bells chime, singing Robert Burns’ Auld Lang Syne and first-footing. The first-foot is the first person to enter a household on New Year’s Day bringing several gifts, including a coin, coal and a drink (usually whisky), which represent financial prosperity, food, warmth and good cheer.

Alternatively, those who wish to cover all three could sip a Loch Lomond Sparkling Gold…


  • 25ml of Loch Lomond 12 Year Old
  • 15ml of Golden Honey
  • 15ml of Ginger syrup
  • Prosecco
  • Gold Flakes (optional)


Combine Loch Lomond 12 Year Old with the golden honey and ginger syrup and chill down over ice before straining into at chilled flute glass and topping with sparkling Prosecco. To add a little glitz, top with a pinch of edible gold flakes.

Anonymous Whisky Illuminati launches its first collection

A collective of whisky industry experts have come together to form an independent whisky bottling brand, known as the Whisky Illuminati. With over 200 years combined experience, Whisky Illuminati’s members are a panel of the most discerning and respected noses and palates in the whisky industry to showcase one-off series’ of exceptional, limited edition malts.

Whisky Illuminati was established by Scotch whisky industry executive, Keith Bonnington, formerly of Edrington, and digital marketing entrepreneur, Stephen Gorman. On the launch, Keith said: “We’re a group of like-minded, quality-obsessed individuals who have come together through a love for good Scotch whisky to assess and acquire outstanding single cask malt whiskies worthy of the Whisky Illuminati seal of approval”

“Our members don’t crave the limelight, we simply want to bring exceptional whiskies to market. Not constrained by age or style, the Whisky Illuminati’s releases are individually first-class but a complete one-off as a collection.”

The Whisky Illuminati assesses hundreds of single cask samples in a rigorous selection process, hand-selecting less than 10% of all of the malts assessed for bottling. Seeking out malts that are distinct from each other but uniquely can be presented as a series, the collections will include three or more stand-out malt whiskies from distilleries around Scotland.

The collective’s first release, The Candlelight Series, is made up of four single cask malts – three from Speyside and one from the Highland region. Co-founder, Keith, said: “For our inaugural release, we traversed one of the most coveted whisky regions of the world in search of whiskies that we considered to be among the best examples of the chosen distillery’s signature style, from a muscular and bold Sherry-Oak aged Mortlach to a delicately sweet and fragrant Glentauchers.”

The first release, ‘The Candlelight Series’, features a series of four distinct casks, each one bottled and individually hand numbered. This series, which is limited to just 150 of the full series, includes:

  • Mortlach Distillery, Dufftown, Speyside; 1998 aged 19 years; Spanish Oak Sherry Butt – RRP £260
  • Linkwood Distillery, Elgin, Speyside, 1998 aged 19 years; American Oak Hogshead – RRP £260
  • Clynelish Distillery, Brora, Highland, 1997 aged 20 years; American Oak Hogshead – RRP £270
  • Glentauchers Distillery, Mulben, Speyside, 1997 aged 20 years; American Oak Barrel – RRP £270

10 year conservation partnership supports the Black Grouse and welcomes a rise in numbers

RSPB Scotland and The Famous Grouse celebrate a decade of wildlife conservation work this month and announce further plans to continue to protect the enigmatic black grouse that takes centre stage on the new design of The Famous Grouse Smoky Black bottle.

The partnership between RSPB Scotland and Scotland’s favourite whisky was forged in 2008 and associated with The Black Grouse blend which was renamed The Famous Grouse Smoky Black in 2015. This year, The Famous Grouse Smoky Black packaging has been refreshed, offering a more premium finish inspired by the Black Grouse.

The partnership was established to improve habitats for resident black grouse on four RSPB reserves in the UK following a rapid decline of the species between 1995 and 2005. To date, the partnership with the smooth, sweet and peaty blend has raised over £650,000 for black grouse conservation and has helped to drive an overall 30% increase of black grouse on these reserves

The conservation efforts have enabled the charity to deliver work across 85,000 acres of land including planting 185,000 trees, marking deer fences to avoid collisions and the mowing of 75 acres of heather.

The success in the early years of the partnership has allowed the RSPB to extend conservation management to a further two sites as well as help purchase RSPB Scotland’s Crannach nature reserve in Deeside, Scotland. Going forward, donations from The Famous Grouse Smoky Black will allow the charity to continue their work on their current reserves.

The Famous Grouse has supported the RSPB as they attend a number of events around the country. Through tasting and sampling sessions, the aromatic whisky featuring the black grouse on its bottle’s design is a unique tool to engage and educate the community on the charity’s black grouse conservation work.

Chris Bailey, Advisory Manager at RSPB Scotland, said “The recent reports on black grouse numbers across southern Scotland remind us how vital it is to work in partnership to help this species. Our relationship with The Famous Grouse has provided the RSPB with an amazing opportunity to deliver so much positive management aimed at black grouse conservation on our reserves”.

The Famous Grouse partnership manager, Stephanie Harvey, said “We are proud to have supported the RSPB’s black grouse conservation efforts over these last 10 years. In protecting the habitat of our flagship species, we are helping Scotland’s wildlife to thrive so that it can be enjoyed by future generations. Our common values make this partnership feel like a natural fit and we look forward to continuing our work to protect the enigmatic black grouse.”

The Famous Grouse Smoky Black is the first expression in the Blender’s Edition range – a unique collection of blended whiskies, each with distinctive signature flavours and characters. The Famous Grouse Smoky Black uses a rare peated version of Glenturret Single Malt, from Scotland’s oldest working distillery, to create a perfectly balanced smooth, sweet and peaty blend.

North British Distillery unveils 58-year-old limited Edition Scotch Whisky

The North British Distillery, which was incorporated on this very day (October 24th) 1885, has joined forces with Scotch Whisky specialist Douglas Laing & Co to release a remarkable one-off 58-year-old limited edition of only 222 bottles, distilled in July 1960.

This is the first ever commercial North British release and they have ensured that the cask selected is nothing short of exceptional. The 58-year-old single cask single grain Scotch Whisky was bottled at its natural cask strength of 51.6% vol, without colouring or chill-filtration.

After nearly six decades resting in its hogshead, the resulting spirit shows butterscotch, caramelised pineapple and coconut on the nose, with a palate full of toasted oak, cinnamon and cloves; leading to a spiced toffee and molasses finish.

The packaging of the “Incorporation Edition”, including its weighty hand-made oak casket, has been carefully crafted to reflect the quality, rarity and age of the whisky. Each bottle is accompanied by a stitched booklet which has been hand signed and individually numbered by Alan Kilpatrick, the distillery’s Managing Director.

He comments: “As the eleventh Managing Director, it is my great honour and privilege to release this single cask, our first ever commercial bottling. It was distilled in 1960 on the same Edinburgh site as the company commenced production in 1885 and still does to this day.”

Fred Laing, Chairman at Douglas Laing, adds: “We are excited to be working with North British on such a special release. As a family, we have long been single grain enthusiasts and as a business, we have equally been long term proponents of the single grain category – the fit is ideal. Handling the sales and marketing for such an exceptional spirit is both an honour and a great personal pleasure, such is its quality.”

The North British 58-Year-Old (70cl) will be available at specialist retailers from November with an RRP of £1,700.00.

Glen Scotia to create a buzz with Plan Bee

To mark National Honey Week (22-28 October), independent Scottish distiller, Glen Scotia, has adopted 100,000 bees.

The Campbeltown-based distillery teamed up with the Plan Bee, Scotland’s leading beekeepers, as part of its plan to position the Kintyre peninsula at the forefront of Scotland’s food and drink map.

The honey produced on-site will be available to purchase at the distillery in spring 2019. It is hoped it will be on sale at the next Glen Scotia Open Day, which is to be held as part of the Campbeltown Malts Festival in May 2019.

At this year’s Glen Scotia Open Day, the distillery hosted a number of food and drink stalls to showcase local producers and offer visitors the very best produce hailing from Campbeltown.

Iain McAlister, Distillery Manager at Glen Scotia said: “We’re dedicated to improving our corporate sustainability, and by partnering up with Plan Bee, we can help one of the world’s hardest workers.

“We are very excited about the arrival of the beehives at the distillery. They will help us to progress our plans to be more sustainable and protect Scotland’s beautiful countryside, which is so crucial to the distilling industry.

Plan Bee is an eco-innovation business offering beehive adoption, management and educational services to individuals and organisations. By providing an area where the bees can thrive, Glen Scotia is helping to preserve the endangered species.

Alison Bell, Managing Director at Plan Bee Ltd said: “This year has been a remarkable year for Plan Bee. We’ve seen more businesses than ever sign up to support the cause of protecting British pollinators.

“Much like bees in a hive, as we work together the more successful we all become. Together with Glen Scotia, we’re demonstrating how putting Mother Nature first can have commercial benefit – not just for business but for entire communities. We are looking forward to working with Glen Scotia as Campbeltown becomes Scotland’s next food and drink must-visit destination.”

Glen Scotia has also confirmed it is switching its diesel boiler to LPG as part of its commitment to becoming more sustainable. This will help the distillery to cut its fuel consumption and significantly reduce its carbon footprint.