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New Releases

1988 25 Year Old 43% 5cl
Cask Strength Batch 6 56.1% 70cl
Irish Grain Whiskey Double Barrel 42% 70cl
by Sweetdram 34% 70cl
Celler De Capçanes Tasting
12th April 7pm
Virginia Black
American Whiskey 75cl
Ben Nevis
1996 Adelphi 11 Year Old 60.1% 70cl
Highland Park
1989 Adelphi 47.2% 70Cl
21 Year Old Adelphi 46% 70cl
1983 Adelphi 45.6% 70cl
1991 Adelphi 55.5% 70cl
Breath of the Highlands
22 Year Old Adelphi 55.2% 70cl
1996 Adelphi 49.1% 70cl
1993 Adelphi 54.7% 70cl
Sweetdram Cocktail Night
18th April 7pm
Eden Mill Tasting
8th May 8pm
Roe & Co
Irish Blended Whiskey 45% 70cl Batch 1
Pure Scot
Blended Whisky 40% 70cl
Samsara 46.3% 70cl
1953 58 Year Old 43.9% 70cl
25 Year Old Talia 49.2% 70cl
13 Year Old Single Malt Whiskey 46% 70cl
The Dubliner
10 Year Old Single Malt Whiskey 42% 70cl
Wild Botanicals Gin 41% 70cl

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Latest from our blog

The ‘What is Whisky?’ debate of the late 19th and early 20th Century was a public and legal dispute seen as a watershed moment on the journey to the modern definition of whisky. The discussion was varied, at times heated, and the path to setting the terms of whisky as we know it was not a foregone conclusion. Some of the topics debated in court, newspapers and medical journals were:  
  • Whether there should be a legal minimum aging requirement.
  • If spirit distilled from maize in a patent still (grain whisky) could even be called whisky.
  • If any blends containing grain could bear the name whisky.
  • If so, what should the malt to grain ratio be.
[caption id="attachment_161" align="alignright" width="350"]What is whisky postcards Postcards from the height of the What Is Whisky debate[/caption] If the modern world was to discuss this issue today, we can assume the argument would be about quality and price: grain whisky generally has less complexity and flavour, but reduces the final cost to the drinker of blended whisky. At the turn of the last century however, health was a big part of the debate, with doctors passing commentary on which form of spirit was seen as being more hazardous to health. Advertising would proudly proclaim their whisky was free from ‘fusel oils’ and that there would not be a ‘headache in a gallon’. Adulteration was also a major concern with fresh memories of milk-watering scandals, chicory passed off as coffee, and butterine (as it sounds, a mixture of butter and margarine). The event most cited in the whisky books is the 1906 Islington Borough Council prosecution of retailers selling whisky that was ‘not of the nature, substance and quality demanded'.  The judgement, later overturned by a report from the Royal Commission published in 1909, was that what we now know as grain whisky and blends containing grain whisky, were not actually whisky at all.   As far as we are aware, no whisky book or article has referred to this fascinating 1907 article published in the New Zealand Truth and made available below.  The text refers to research completed by Australian State Analyst Mann in Perth throughout 1905, beginning before the Islington incident.  Mr Mann does not understate the quality concerns of whisky in Western Australia at the time claiming “There is probably no matter over which more public disquiet and distrust exists.” This was a surprise to us, but the British postcards shown above seem to reinforce how members of the general public were aware of and were keenly interested in the debate. We were also fascinated to see how far the concerns about whisky quality stretched across the globe.   We don’t want to spend a long time critiquing this article as we are not qualified as historians to give it proper analysis, but it really interested us. Suffice it to say that Mr Mann’s findings are curious, and despite some fascinating columns of ‘data’ against each whisky his method employed to get to these numbers is not explained, nor is his reasoning for classifying whiskies as ‘genuine’ or otherwise. It is easy to suspect his own personal response to flavour trumped the empirical findings.  With that caveat in place, we suggest you take the time to read an article that gives evidence to the depth and distance of feeling over the What is Whisky? debate.   [caption id="attachment_159" align="aligncenter" width="500"]Page from the New Zealand Truth newspaper Page from the New Zealand Truth newspaper [Click for full page][/caption]
As well as old bottles of whisky, we have a particular love and affection for objects and documents from the whisky industry's past, so we are going to share these with you in a new series. We are not historians so will limit our analysis and conjecture, but hope that the dusty ephemera we choose delights or at least intrigues you. Let's start small, with matchbooks, which were an important form of advertising for whisky. Brand identity, testaments of quality, and even a pricelist could be cheaply put in the hands of the whisky drinker.  
     Matchbook pricelist, date unknown
  • Glentarras was a distillery in Langholm that was closed by 1915.
  • Note that despite its relative youth, Talisker commands the highest price.
  • It is often said that such old age statements and single malts are a post Sixties phenomenon. This would seem to contradict this.
     Laphroaig matchbox cover, date unknown
  • Scotsmen Balmer and Lawrie were pioneers in tea production, and became sole agents for 'Laphroag' in Calcutta by the 1880s.
  • Note the bucolic image of Scotland, and how romantic that must have been to the colonialists in steamy Calcutta.
     Niblick matchbook, date unknown
  • A Niblick is an obsolete golf club, somewhere between 7 and 9 iron.
  • While the market is now dominated by a few big blends, in the 19th and first half of the 20th century there were many small companies often with highly localised markets.

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Malt Producing Region

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