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Continuing our 20th anniversary celebrations, we’re selling a fabled bottle of whisky for its original 1999 price – a whisky selling for £7,500 in 2019 for just £99. There’s just one catch: we’ve only got one to sell at that price. Head to the bottom of this post to learn more about the ballot we’re running for the chance to buy the bottle, but read on to learn a bit more about the whisky itself – Ardbeg 1976 Manager’s Choice .
In the beginning…
Just as The Whisky Exchange made its first tentative steps online twenty years ago, Ardbeg distillery...
There are lots of technical terms bandied around when talking about casks. This list will demystify some of them.
Amburana – a South American hardwood, occasionally used for maturing cachaça and very occasionally for maturing whiskey. It imparts a distinctive tonka-bean flavour, combining vanilla, coconut and cherries.
American Oak – an oak native to America, Most commonly used to mature American whiskey when new, but reused to age and rest many other spirits around the world. Also known as Quercus Alba.
American Standard Barrel – a 200 litre cask.
Angel’s Share – the spirit that evaporates from cask while it...
The theme of Whisky Show 2019 is The Journey of the Cask – a journey which begins prior to, then runs parallel to, the journey of whisky itself. To help you get excited about casks and, hopefully, about this year’s Whisky Show (not to mention provide a fun and engaging way to learn about wood, whisky, and the relationship between the two) we’ve put together this fun quiz to determine, more or less, what kind of cask you most resemble.
How big is a barrel? Or a hogshead, or a butt? Casks play a big part in the making of some of the most famous wines and spirits in the world, but navigating what they are can be confusing. With many different types and sizes in use, each with its own name, how can you tell your hogsheads from your puncheons?
CASK SIZES IN A NUTSHELL
Starting with the smallest casks, blood-tubs are between 30 and 40 litres in size and are almost never used commercially. Mostly these are used for private casks, allowing for a small, more manageable...
The concept of the wooden cask hasn’t changed much since it first came into being , but the practice of making it has gradually been refined over the past few millennia.
That’s not to say there wasn’t trial and error involved – things like the collapsible shipping cask and the Da Vinci-esque cask cleaning machine, both beautifully illustrated in Scientific American in the 1800s, have fallen by the wayside – but today making casks is a superb blend of art and science.
Coopers – professional cask-makers – will craft casks to a distillery’s...
It maj be sweltering outside, but it’s time for us to start the process for an annual winter event – the unveiling of The Whisky Exchange Whisky of the Year !
Whisky of the Year
Every year since 2014, we have crowned one whisky with the illustrious title of our Whisky of the Year. Until now, the process has been quite simple: we asked the Whisky Exchange team and industry experts to nominate whiskies, whittled that list down to just eight, and then ran a tasting in London where the attendees voted for the winner.
We’ve had an excellent range...
In honour of this year’s Whisky Show and its theme – The Journey of the Cask – we’ve put together a brief rundown of the various types of wood used in whisky maturation, and what effect they might have on spirit.
The primary function of oak in whisk(e)y – apart from the positives of being both readily accessible in lots of places that make whisk(e)y, and the fact that it’s pretty good, structurally, at being formed into shapes – is to impart flavour. But the way in which the modern whisky industry functions means that, rather than the wood...
We take casks for granted. In fact, we take all waterproof containers for granted. I think it’s fair to say that in all of human history it’s never been so easy to transport liquids, from the soon-to-be-less-ubiquitous plastic water bottles and coffee cups to IV bags and fuel tankers.
Yet despite all these inventions the cask is still special, and it’s been special ever since people smashed their amphorae with joy at the realisation they’d found something leak-proof that was easier to stack. So when did the cask, to which booze owes so much, come into...
The Cù Bòcan range of lightly peated whiskies (+/- 15 ppm), produced in Winter for one month at Tomatin distillery has recently been relaunched. It now contains three expressions, presented in a nicely reworked bottle:
- Cù Bòcan Signature : a combination of ex-bourbon, ex-Oloroso and virgin American oak casks (same as before)
- Cù Bòcan Creations #1 : matured in Black Isle Imperial Stout casks and Bacalhôa Moscatel de Setúbal wine casks
- Cù Bòcan Creations # 2: matured in ex-Shochu and virgin European oak casks
These last two have pretty funky recipes. More Creations will follow in the future.
Lagavulin 21 Year Old – Islay Jazz Festival 2019
A 21 year-old Lagavulin at cask strength, if that doesn’t get you excited, then what does? It is released for the Islay Jazz Festival 2019 , to celebrate the 21st edition.
Matured in a combination of refill American oak hogsheads and freshly charred hogsheads, the tasting notes mention dried fruits, briny smoke, sandalwood, bacon and a hint of gunpowder. There will be 2004 bottles, available at the distillery only for £ 395.
New bottler: The Whisky Jury
Belgium has a new independent bottler called The Whisky Jury , looking...