Day eight if advent is here, so it is time to open another door on the 2019 KWM Whisky Calendar. Today’s bottle comes to us from the Isle of Arran’s Lochranza Distillery, but has a different name on it. The name of Scotland’s most famous of poets, and Scotch Whisky’s unofficial poet laureate – Robert Burns.
For a man that passed away at 37 years of age, Robert Burns was a fairly prolific and popular poet. He started along the path of poetry at 15 years of age and his first collection was first published in 1786 with a second edition following hot on its heels the following year. Born in 1759, Burns would have been between 26 and 28 years old at the time of his rising popularity.
While he did become more popular, especially in the cliques of artists and litterati in Edinburgh, this did not make his financial life easier, so he was forced to undertake a day job working for Customs and Excise. The work allowed him to live a bit more comfortable and also provide for his family. While there is evidence that he did not enjoy being THE MAN or working for THE MAN, he remained at this station until his until his untimely passing on the 21st of July, 1796.
A defaced portrait of Robert Burns. The culprits have never been identified.
The man, the myth, the legend that was Robert Burns has become a larger than life character since his passing 235 years ago. He has this Single Malt as well as the Robert Burns Blended Scotch bearing his name. His birthday on January 25th is celebrated world ’round with Burns Suppers, Scotch Tastings and Festivals. Haggis, Kilts, and bagpipes are typically involved to some degree, lest you forget he was Scottish. Continue reading
I have been looking forward to this one. If you have come to any of our recent Scotch Malt Whisky Society Outturn Tastings, or have previously read my blog post for Day One of this year’s KWM Whisky Calendar, you know that I have been enjoying the bottlings from Loch Lomond. Today, we get to try the heavily peated end of the spectrum from the distillery with Inchmoan 12 Year Old.
As mentioned on Day One, Loch Lomond Distillery distills a multitude of different styles of spirit thanks to operating a variety of stills. Another point worth mentioning that goes along with this: Loch Lomond also uses a total of three different types of yeast in fermenting the malt. The yeast used is selected based on the style they are looking to create. They of course use a Distiller’s Yeast, which does have different strains but is typically meant to be high yield when it comes to converting sugars to alcohol in the mash. The other two yeasts used are actually meant for wine fermentation though, including one typically used for Chardonnay grapes. The bottom line for all of this is that no matter how strange you think Loch Lomond might be, they have found even more ways to be confounding that we probably don’t even know about yet. Continue reading
Getting close to the end here.
Of 2019 I mean. December is here. The tree and the lights are up. The kids are working their way through their chocolate-filled Advent Calendars. The adults are working on their 2019 KWM Whisky Advent Calendars (and so am I). Both the young and the young-at-heart in the family are trying to avoid the temptation of binge-imbibing their way to an early Christmas. We must have patience, for the holidays will arrive soon enough.
Luckily we have a new batch of seven Scotch Malt Whisky Society bottles just released to help us bide our time. This round has some very interesting bottles, and also some very well-priced buys. Five of the bottles in this lineup weigh in at $160 bucks.ca or less. Only one bottle is priced at over $200.
Day six brings us another change in style. In the past two days we went from Kentucky Bourbon to Single Cask Single Malt Scotch. Now, we enter the territory of Blended Malt Scotch with The Epicurean.
Douglas Laing is an independent bottler that was founded in 1948 by Fred Douglas Laing after he acquired the rights for the King Of Scots Blend. Fred and his wife had two sons. Fred Hamilton Laing was born in 1950. Stewart Hunter Laing was born in 1947 or 1948. Both brothers eventually joined their father, working at Douglas Laing. Before that though, they both had apprenticeships at other Scotch Whisky companies, something that seems to be a hallmark of families who make Scotch Whisky their trade.
Day five. Where are we at? Back in Scotland (kind of). Some of you may be breathing a sigh of relief after day four’s American Whiskey. Hopefully some of you enjoyed our Bourbon interlude though. Flavour can be found in all types of whisky, even if they insist on adding an extra letter to the word. We are getting serious in day five with a Single Malt Scotch from a single cask.
Not just any single cask, either. This one was selected by Curt, Andrew and myself after a grueling sampling session that if memory serves (and it might not) included more than a dozen samples, most of which were very good or better than very good. In that assortment of samples, two single casks were picked. One is already sold out. In fact, it sold out after only eight days in the store. This is the other one – luckily we still have this guy around. This is our KWM Cask of Ben Nevis 22 year old from Elixir Distiller’s Single Malts of Scotland Label.
About Ben Nevis: Did you know that this Scottish distillery might be partially responsible for some of your favourite Japanese Whiskies?
Wow. This is a first. A Bourbon? In our Whisky Calendar?
Take a look outside if you must. I can nearly guarantee that is not not currently raining cats and dogs. And the concept of a Bourbon in the KWM Calendar is not that weird, is it? Over the years we have featured whisky from Scotland, Ireland, Japan, England, Canada, France, Taiwan, and possibly a country or two that I am forgetting. I am not one hundred percent sure, but this may be the first American Whiskey in our calendar. It is definitely the first Bourbon. As a unabashed Bourbon lover, I am all for it. Hell, it took me four years of harassing Andrew to put some Bourbon in year, so I guess it is at least partially my fault.
Just remember that he still agreed to it, though! Continue reading
Wow, these big peaty bottles don’t usually come this early in the Calendar, but here we are on day three and we are already having a cask strength Kilchoman. Brace yourselves!
We are big fans of this Islay distillery at Kensington Wine Market. Kilchoman is relatively young by Scottish standards, as they have only been distilling since 2005. Even though much of their single malt releases would still be considered young, Kilchoman produces a robust, rich, and moderate to heavily peated spirit that shows tremendous complexity even at well under 10 years of age. Continue reading
What awaits us behind door number two in the 2019 KWM Whisky Advent Calendar? It is the Glenfarclas 15 Year Old!
Going legal in 1836 and run by the Grant Family since 1870, Glenfarclas as a brand has been a model of consistency for quite a long time. This consistency is refreshing compared to the vast and often confusing changes other Scotch Whisky labels have gone through over the past decade or more. One popular brand has shifted from age statements to colour codes and now back again, but not the same as it once was. It can be difficult to be a fan of a brand that can’t even maintain a core range well. Continue reading
Welcome to the Kensington Wine Market 2019 Whisky Advent Calendar!
For the sixth straight year, we have curated and assembled our own bespoke Whisky Advent Calendar. We hope you will follow our journey of whisky discovery over the next 25 days. Each and every day of Advent we will describe the whisky in question and publish our own tasting note for the day in questionâ€™s whisky. We will also give you a background on the distillery and producer.
You can follow along each day on the Kensington Wine Market Blog, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. We encourage your comments and feedback and look forward to hearing your own thoughts on the whiskies as they are presented!
We are very happy with the design for the 2019 Calendar. For that, we would like to thank KWM Alumni Jean-Paul Berube, who has created the artwork on all six annual editions. We also have Kensington Wine Market 2019 Whisky Advent Tree, which youâ€™ll be seeing a lot more of as we work our way through the next four weeks!
We are excited to share the contents of this year’s calendar along with you.
I hope you enjoy the Kensington Wine Market 2019 Whisky Advent Calendar, 25 Days of Dram Fine Whisky!
Wow! November arrived in full force here at Kensington Wine Market. In the first full week of the month we held a sold out whisky festival, which itself was sandwiched betwixt two days of SMWS tastings. As with October, the November tastings for SMWS at our shop sold out incredibly fast. Due to this, we added a FIFTH tasting, which itself sold out as well! All told, We hosted five SMWS whisky tastings and at our whisky festival over four straight days. It was like running a sprint and a marathon at the same time. Luckily, the groups at every one of these events were fun to hang out and chat whisky with, which made the time fly!