whisky & whiskey news
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Does the whisky industry have its head up its ass?

At the same time, the role of the press has fundamentally changed.
These days, many online and offline publications are more than happy
to simply re-publish press releases as actual news without comments.
Often, there’s little room for research or reflection on the topic.

I hope to be able to integrate a more ‘modern’
news feed into the Malt Madness site in due time.

During the 1990s, the release of a new malt whisky bottling was actually
noteworthy news (to whisky geeks), because that was something that
didn’t occur every day. But these days the whisky world has grown a
lot bigger - it’s bustling and new varieties appear (almost) every day.

So, it’s safe to say that I don’t deem all so-called
‘whisky news’ to be very newsworthy these days.

Due to the ancient technology
behind Malt Madness, I can only
incorporate a handful of external
links on this site. Resolving that
is somewhere on my to-do list.

On the other hand, I still have to keep track of it
anyway in order to keep Malt Madness up-to-date.
So, I’ve added a very small selection to this page.

The column at the left of each page shows a handful of
short news snippets and assorted tweets. I’m quite
selective when it comes to the news I deem ‘shareable’,
but please let me know if I missed something significant.
You can follow me on Twitter for whisky updates and
this site now has a MM Facebook Page as well...

Aberfeldy 16 years old malt whisky

November 27, 2015 - Dewar’s launches a new Aberfeldy 16yo

John Dewar & Sons (a subsidiary of Bacardi) have released a new version of
their Aberfeldy 16yo expression with a suggested retail price of +/- GB £62.00.
That price might explain why the makers themselves call it ‘The Golden Dram’.

According to the press blurb, the new Aberfeldy 16yo is “entirely finished” in
“premium” Oloroso sherry casks, I don’t want to be a spoil-sport, but It would
seem to me that a ‘finish’ is a PARTIAL maturation by definition. This makes
the statement slightly misleading - or just dumb. And given the scarcity of
Oloroso sherry casks, I’m sure all of them are at a premium these days...

On the bright side, the press release also mentions an interesting
technical detail. The Aberfeldy distillery in Perthshire employs an
unusually long fermentation time of 70 hours. Supposedly, this
produces more esters, which give a whisky a more fruity character.

The new Aberfeldy 16 Years Old is bottled at 40% ABV, just like its
12yo and 21yo siblings. Apparently, Dewar’s plans to expand their
Aberfeldy portfolio to five ‘regular’ expressions, but at the moment
there seem to be just three. The new 16yo expression is available
in 11 markets around the world: Belgium, Canada, Germany, France,
Japan, Lebanon, Netherlands, Russia, Sweden, Taiwan and the UK.

I’ve sampled both a younger and older official bottling in 2009.
The 12yo OB didn’t appear particularly fruity to me at the time; it
actually seemed mostly sweetish like nectar or honeysuckle to me.
The 21yo OB was much more complex and did indeed show fruits.

The Aberfeldy distillery was founded by the Dewar family, starting
production in 1898. It’s one of just a few remaining in Perthshire.

December 7, 2015 - Tomatin distillery reveals new packaging

The Tomatin distillery chose Waverly station in
Edinburgh as the location to proudly present their
rebranded range. It now includes a ‘Legacy’ and
‘Cask Strength’ without an age statement, a 12yo,
a 14yo, an 18yo and a 36yo - and some vintages.

According to the press release: “The new look
aims to refine the current branding to create a
fresh, contemporary identity which better
reflects the product inside, whilst still retaining
the quality and tradition of the brand.”

Fair enough - but perhaps the ‘refinement’ that
is provided by a white poodle is a little bit TOO
much for some people? On the other hand, they
manage to give the presentation a surreal twist
by having the stars of their promotion posters
available for interviews and autographs...

January 1, 2016 - Updated Scotch Whisky Industry Overview

Happy new year everybody! Progress with the reconstruction is still slowed down because of SSL issues,
but at least the updated Scotch whisky industry overview is live. It divides the malt whisky distilleries in
Scotland across the various corporations and conglomerates that (usually) own them.

D&L whisky glass

January 14, 2016 - Denver & Liely design a new whisky glass

Denver Cramer just informed me that their Australian company D&L
have designed a new whisky glass - and I must say that the shape
looks quite promising in the pictures. The ‘funneling’ of the aromas in
the whisky towards the nose could work better than with a (slightly less
bulby) Glencairn glass, which seems to be the ‘standard’ these days.

The glasses are hand-blown and the “wide base maximises the
surface area of a standard measure, funnelling the aromas through
the tapered body to the optimally sized opening.”
   Especially if the size
is luscious enough (my cognac bowls are 66cl) that might just work!
But will those glasses be as sturdy as the familiar Glencairn glass?

Well, I should be able to find out for myself, because they offered to
send me a sample glass when I asked about some more background
details about these glasses. And that might be the perfect opportunity
for a new GLASSWARE TEST on Malt Madness - it has been a while.

February 5, 2016 - Whisky Lexicon (A-D)

The Whisky Lexicon was quietly published a few months ago with small pages for A, B and C.
The pages with whisky words starting with A, B or C have been expanded and the ‘D’ page is live too.
Now it’s time to tackle the Distillery Data section - I’ll start with the Aberlour distillery profile...

April 1, 2016 - Re-refurbished Beginner’s Guide

I managed to publish a brand new version of the Beginner’s Guide (10 chapters with advice for novices)
last year, but I already found a few points that needed to be expanded on - so I did. It also seems that the
tricky SSL issue has been partly fixed. It’s not working 100% as it should, but for now I’ll leave it be, .

Benriach whisky bottle

June 1, 2016 - Brown Forman buys Benriach

It wasn’t final until today, but now drinks giant Brown Forman has aquired the formerly
independent Benriach Group. This entity started in 2004 when Scotsman Billy Walker
(Burn Stewart’s former operations manager) and two South African partners purchased
the Benriach distillery. They successfully turned this floundering distillery around and
added the Glendronach and Glenglassaugh distilleries to the group in later years.

The price was £281 million, so Billy Walker deserves his ‘Entrepreneur of 2016’ award.
I suspect that this is the end of the entrepreneurial spirit that brought us some fantastic
Benriachs over the past decade. Brown Forman is a huge drinks conglomerate; the type
of corporation that usually puts next quarter’s profits above everything else.

Some Twitter followers already noticed a price increase with Benriach’s latest releases;
a Cask Strength expression without age statement (launched in March 2016) and a
peated NAS ‘Quarter Cask’ release. So, they are running a decade behind Laphroaig.

September 1, 2016 - A New Day Job

My sincere apologies for the lack of news lately. I’ve been looking for a new part-time job and had to
invest some time in updating my skill-set for a few free-lance gigs. I’ve now found a new ‘steady’ job,
so I should have more time for reconstructing the Malt Madness website.

September 30, 2016 - Distillery Data Progress

I’ve just published six refreshed pages about the whisky regions of Scotland in the Distillery Data section.
Also finished (for now): new distillery profiles for Aberfeldy - Aberlour - Abhainn Dearg - Aisla Bay -
Allt-A-Bhainne - Ardbeg - Ardmore - Arran - Daftmill (partly) and Scapa on the Orkney isles.

October 5, 2016 - Malt Madness on Facebook (again...)

After a complete ‘break’ from Facebook since 2014 I gave in and joined the unwashed masses again...
I’ve started using my personal Facebook account again and I launched a Malt Madness Facebook page too.
Members of the public have already started to provide useful feedback.

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