World Whisky Review is a year old!
Happy birthday to us… I'm delighted to announce that World Whisky review is now a year old - and going from strength to strength.
This is the sixth issue and in that time the magazine has covered whisky from New Zealand to near the North Pole and from India to the West Coast of america.
We've even got a sponsor - welcome on board Glencairn, who make those ever so excellent whisky tasting glasses. I won't drink whisky from anything else. The Glasgow-based company is also supplying my Wizards of Whisky Awards winners with trophies.
As for the magazine, well I haven't started yet. Expect lots more where these came from!
By George! Paul John… but no Ringo
Bloody awful headline I know but I couldn't resist it. And no, I'm not announcing an Indian version of The Beatles.
But Paul John is the latest Indian distiller to launch in to the international malt whisky market.
The distillery is one of the biggest i India and like many others in the country, produces multi million litre blends for domestic consumption.
But it has now launched a single barrel cask strength single malt - and it's great, with big fruity flavours, some distinctive chill notes from the oak, and an earthiness which keeps the whole mouth-coating whisky in balance. It's unpeated but you wouldn't guess it, it's complex, and it has some of the sort of menthol-tinged aromatic flavours you expect from the better Amruts.
Expect a peaty version of the whisky in the New Year - and a more in-depth feature in a future issue.
And while on the subject of Amrut, a stunning new limited edition bottling is set to be released. It's a whopper of a whisky - laced with big tropical fruit, a liqueur-like heart, and lashings and lashings of red liquorice.
The Owl's in flight
Belgian Owl has made an investment in its future - with a three-pronged progression in its operation.
The distillery, which is recognised in the European category of The Wizards of Whisky Awards published in this issue, is installing new stills, bought from a closed Scottish distillery, launched a new cask purchasing scheme and opened a visitors' centre.
The distillery, owned by progressive whisky maker Etienne Boullion, has previously made whisky spirit on stills dating back to 1880. But the time has come to replace them, so it has bought the stills that used to be at Caperdonich. The wash still has a capacity of 11,000 litres and the spirits still has a capacity of 8,000 litres.
To make the new installation the distillery is also making 200 casks available for private purchase. Called the Private Angels, the casks will be stored at the distillery. The casks will be available to visit at a newly-launched visitor centre.
"We are well aware of the interest that such a project can excite, from the growing of the barley to its final processing into single malt whisky," says Etienne. "This being the case we have made certain that our visit centre will be an innovating centre for all to discover."
New Zealand looks to new distilleries
Talks are underway to set up new distilleries in New Zealand. At least two projects are in the pipeline - and one of them is looking to a leading European consortium for funding. Distilling in New Zealand on a commercial basis ceased a few years ago but in the last year the New Zealand Whisky Company has started bottling remaining stocks from The Willowbank Distillery.