• SCOTCH – THE GOLDEN DRAM DVD and Digital Release = Scotch Whisky News November 15, 2019

    Cinderella tale of legendary master distiller is a treat this Christmas

    DVD and Digital Release

     “A heartfelt tribute to a meticulous craftsman and the tipple that is the lifeblood of Scotland” RADIO TIMES

    “A loving, beautifully shot tribute to Scotland’s original national drink” THE HERALD

    Whisky lovers rejoice this Christmas, as feature documentary Scotch – The Golden Dram heads for a DVD and digital release in time for the festive season.

    Andrew Peat’s handsomely crafted feature documentary, which tells the story of the Scotch whisky industry through its most ardent enthusiasts, is released on DVD on November 18. It is available now on digital platforms.While capturing stunning Scottish landscapes, the heart of the film is the fascinating men and women who bring Scotch whisky to life. This includes the Cinderella tale of legendary master distiller Jim McEwan, an industry veteran who takes on a dilapidated distillery on his home island of Islay in the Inner Hebrides and turns it into an award-winning blend.

    Scotch – The Golden Dram premiered at the Glasgow Film Festival this year ahead of its cinema release in March. Now Peat’s spirited feature can be enjoyed in the home. The DVD is released on November 18, available to order from online stores including and to buy at select retail outlets. It is available to buy or rent now on digital platforms; iTunes, Sky Store, Amazon Prime, Google Play and Rakuten.

    For further details, please visit

    Featured participants:

    Jim McEwan, Richard Paterson, Dr Bill Lumsden, Ian MacMillan, Charles MacLean, Lynne McEwan, Brodie Nairn, Georgie Bell and Robbie Hughes.

    Featured distilleries:

    BRUICHLADDICH (Islay), LAPHROAIG (Islay), GLENMORANGIE (Tain, Ross-shire), TOMATIN (near Inverness), LAGAVULIN (Islay), THE DALMORE (Alness), GLENGOYNE (Dumgoyne, nr Killearn)

    DVD/Digital Release by Parkland Entertainment and Munro Films, through Spirit Entertainment.

    Watch the trailer

    For more than a century, Scotch whisky has been the premier international spirit of choice. Uisge beatha, Gaelic for “water of life”, is enjoyed in more than 200 countries, generating over $6 billion in exports each year. While capturing stunning Scottish landscapes, the real heart of the film is the fascinating people who make Scotch whisky. This includes the Cinderella tale of legendary master distiller Jim McEwan, an industry veteran who takes on a dilapidated distillery on his home island of Islay in the Inner Hebrides and turns it into an award-winning blend. Directed by Andrew Peat.




    Rising prices mean investing in whisky is an increasingly popular investment option. But the downside is that the market is now attracting the unwelcome attention of counterfeiters. With the potential for fake whisky on the rise, online auctioneers Just Whisky will be travelling to venues across Scotland in November holding a series of free valuation sessions and advising customers on what’s fake and what’s not.

    To coincide with the valuation roadshow, Just Whisky is launching a simple guide to help buyers invest safely and know the tell-tale signs of a fake. It aims to arm investors with the basic information needed to avoid forgeries and make intelligent investment decisions. Crucially, the guide defines what a fake actually is. That can range from a basic label swap (taking a label from a more expensive bottle and transferring it to a cheaper bottle) to refilling an empty bottle with a cheaper whisky, to counterfeiters simply creating their own labels.

    The guide also offers tips on what else to look for to avoid purchasing a fake in error. For example, bottle codes can also be a very useful tool. Sometimes, on more modern bottles, the glass is imprinted with a unique code. Usually it’s a code printed directly to the glass, which the distillery will do as part of the bottling process, including information about where it was bottled, what time and even what the whisky is inside. Sometimes, the difference between a £500 bottle and £3000 one will be a vintage identifier shoulder label. It may well say ‘1937’ or similar. Check that the label hasn’t been replaced as that’s one of the most common attempts at counterfeit.

    But Just Whisky offers reassurance that there’s no need to be Sherlock Holmes when it comes to identifying the real thing. Graham Crane, Co-founder of Just Whisky, explained:

    “Paying attention to something as simple as the colour of the whisky is a simple but effective way of identifying that all is not well. Buyers should ask is the colour what they would expect – How does it compare with other sold examples?

    “Where a bottle is being sourced is also an indication of whether it may be fake. Is it from a reputable supplier, does it have a box and certificate as it should? If in doubt, always buy from a reputable source, then the buyer has some form of comeback. Auction houses will deal with any discrepancies swiftly as it is not in their interest to sell fakes or to damage their reputations.

    “Investing in an appreciating asset like whisky is both enjoyable but carries an element of risk when bought privately – for buyers parting with substantial cash, it is essential that it is the genuine article. Our roadshow and guide are designed to take some of the guesswork out of making what might be a very costly mistake.”

    The Just Whisky Valuation Roadshow will be taking place in the following locations:

    • Islay on 25th November at The Bowmore Hotel
    • Glasgow on 27th November at the Hallmark Hotel
    • Aberlour on 30th November at Speyside Whisky Shop

    To register your interest to attend one of these events please visit


    About Just Whisky

    Just Whisky Auctions, owned by Just Whisky Limited, specialise in selling Whisky online to a worldwide market.

    Just Whisky is a whisky auctioneer setting new records in prices achieved. Hosting a monthly online sale, customers can browse the catalogue of whiskies and bid to win some of the most rare and collectable malts in the world.

  • Malt Messenger Bulletin – Whisky Advent Calendars Are In, Fall Super SALE & More! – Whisky News November 15, 2019

    Malt Messenger Bulletin: 

    KWM 2019 Whisky Advent Calendars Are Here!

    We Have a Berry Bros. Tasting Wednesday

    Save the Date for Our Fall Super Sale


    New Whiskies We Can’t Wait to Tell You About!

    I hope you all had a good weekend and took a moment to reflect yesterday (November 11th, Remembrance Day).

    We’ve had a busy couple of weeks at KWM. Since Sunday October 27 we’ve had 11 whisky tastings at KWM, including 5 Scotch Malt Whisky Society Outturn tastings and the first of two sold out Fall Single Malts Festivals. While this was taking place we completed work on the Kensington Wine Market 2019 Whisky Advent Calendar™. The calendar is more than 85% sold, and available for pickup and purchase in-store.

    The next two weeks won’t be any less busy. We have a Berry Bros. whisky tasting tomorrow night with Hannah Dickie and Johnny Roberts. The cost is just $25 for 8 whiskies including the Berry’s Perspective Series Blends (21, 25 & 35 Year olds). This is our last scheduled whisky tasting at KWM in 2019 with room for registration. Sorry! WI could not publish this in time!

    Friday is the start of our Fall Super Sale. This is our biggest and most anticipated Sale of the year. All in-stock whisky, with the exception of most Scotch Malt Whisky Society whiskies, the Whisky Advent Calendar™ and other select new releases, will be 10-35% off in-store and online. I will be putting out a special Malt Messenger Bulletin on Friday morning, highlighting the best deals.

    We have a few new whiskies to tell you about as well. Firstly, we have four new releases from Bruichladdich: Black Art 1994 7.1, Port Charlotte 2012 Islay Barley and a pair of Octomores 10.1 & 10.3. We weren’t expecting these whiskies so soon, Christmas has come early.

    We are also thrilled to be the only place in Alberta with the Shelter Point Smoke Point, a whisky finished in ex-Laphroaig Quarter Casks. Staying in the Canadian theme, we also have the latest 40+ year old release from Canadian Club, the Chronicles 42 Year. The oldest Canadian whisky ever botttled! And last but not least the Highland Park Valfather has arrived, the most heavily peated Highland Park ever bottled.

    I hope this Malt Messenger Bulletin finds you well. Please let me know if you have any comments, questions or requests. As always, in the event of a discrepancy in price, the Point of Sale at KWM will be taken as correct.


    Andrew Ferguson

    In This Edition

    1. Save the Date to Save… Our Fall Super Sale Starts Friday!
    2. Our KWM 2019 Whisky Advent Calendars Are In-Stock!
    3. Berry Bros. Tasting with Johnny & Hannah
    4. New Whiskies from Bruichladdich Including a Pair of Octomore
    5. Introducing: Shelter Point Smoke Point
    6. Introducing: Canadian Club 42 Year
    7. Introducing: Highland Park Valfather

    Andrew Ferguson

    Kensington Wine Market

    PS – Don’t forget you can follow me on Twitter:

    @scotch_guy, Instagram: @thescotch_guy/

    or @kwmwhisky and Facebook:

    Save the Date to Save – Our Fall Super Sale Starts Friday! 

    Save 5-40% Throughout the Store – November 15-17! 

    We have 3 big annual sales at KWM, and the biggest and most anticipated is our annual Fall Super Sale. Friday-Sunday this weekend we will have huge discounts in-store and online on Whisky, Wine, Beer and other Spirits. The discounts will range from 5-40%. We will send out a sale notice with a link to the biggest whisky deals on Friday morning.

    The KWM 2019 Whisky Advent Calendar™ Is In-Stock and Ready for Pickup and Purchase! 

    Less Than 55 of the 384 Calendars Produced Remain! 

    We are all about value at KWM, and we have managed to drop the price on this year’s Calendar $15 over the 2018 edition. Our  Kensington Wine Market 2019 Whisky Advent Calendar™ makes a great gift and is a great way to get into the Holiday spirit. The 2019 edition consists of 25 premium whiskies, including 24 50ml (One is actually 40ml) bottles and a special 100ml Scotch Malt Whisky Society single cask bottling. This year’s Society whisky is a true one-off, it will only be available in the KWM Whisky Advent Calendar, never to be see again. The KWM Whisky Advent Calendar also includes a custom logo Glencairn Scotch Whisky Glass and a Discount Card.

    You can follow along each day of Advent (or at your own pace), as we introduce you to each whisky on our blog and through our social media channels. We are really excited about this year’s edition, and we hope you are too. As in past years, we are taking a $150 deposit for each Calendar ordered, at the time it is ordered. The balance of payment will be due a few days before the Calendars are ready for pickup, which we estimate to be around the beginning of November. If you would like to order one or more Calendars, please be prepared to provide a credit card for payment of the deposit. The same card will be used to bill the remainder of the balance closer to the date it is ready for pickup.

    At the time of writing, more than 85% of this year’s calendars are sold!

    Order a Kensington Wine Market 2019 Whisky Advent Calendar™!

    *The Kensington Wine Market Whisky Advent Calendar is produced under license from Secret Spirits, Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar™ 

    Berry Bros. Whisky Tasting with Johnny & Hannah 

    The Company With Nearly 325 Years in Business – Discussed Over 8 Drams!

    We are thrilled to welcome Hannah Dickie and Johnny Robert to Kensington Wine Market for a Berry Bros Whisky tasting on Wednesday November 13, at 6PM. Johnny and Hannah will guide us through a range of Berry’s whiskies, including the our 1995 KWM Cask, and the Berry’s Perspectives Series 21, 25 & 30 Year Olds. The tasting is only $25 for 8 whiskies, you won’t want to miss it.

    Call 403-283-8000 or register online!

    New Whiskies from Bruichladdich 

    Including a Pair of Octomores 

    We weren’t expecting this quartet until later in the year or early in 2020. I suppose you could say Christmas has come early for fans of the Laddie!

    1. Bruichladdich Black Art 1994 7.1 – 48.8% – 25 Year – A secret mix of casks selected by Head Distiller Adam Hannet – Producer Tasting Note: “Nose: Unbelievable complexity, each cask that has played a role in maturing this whisky has a presence, the aromas lift from the glass in an almost orderly procession. First a rich marzipan, then walnut, crème caramel, turkish delight, hints of strawberry, violet, and coconut. There is a heavy fruit style with plum, poached pears, raisin and grapefruit and after opening further wood spice, nutmeg, toasted oak, roasted coffee beans, and muscovado sugar. An absolute delight to nose and discover the depth of flavour. Palate: A little sharpness is a nod to the strength but quickly the satin texture covers the palate to give a viscous, round mouthfeel. The oak’s power and poise give a hint of dryness but also waves of coconut, Turkish delight, soft caramel, and spiced orange. The layers of oak and fruit that come through softly melt into one another; each sip brings a new level of discovery within this most complex of assemblages. While on the palate there appears less complexity than on the nose, an important balance, texture, and defined style serves to highlight the aromatic aspect of this whisky. Finish: It seems that this whisky will go on forever, the incredible viscous texture of this whisky extends the finish and it lingers on the palate. Roasted nuts, then tropical fruit, baked pineapple, and butterscotch give a sweetness that is sure to be remembered. Mood: As ever the mystery of its creation serves to intrigue. Black Art 07.1 gives a moment to reflect on the past and to welcome the possibilities of the future.” – $355
    2. Bruichladdich Port Charlotte 2012 Islay Barley – 50% – 6 Year – Barley from 8 different Islay Farms – Peated to 40PPM – 75% First Fill ex-American oak and 25% Second Fill French oak ex-Wine Casks –Producer Tasting Note: “Nose: Initially a fresh linen and sandy sea breeze note stands out. Zesty lemon, a green fruit signature, apple sauce and crunchy pears follow. Floral geranium notes come through with sea pinks and gooseberry. then creamy coconut dipped in chocolate opens up quickly with muddy peat smoke, burnt heather and peach skin. hints of vanilla and toasted malt. The aromas speak of the spirit, the distillation and the barley. Palate: On the lips it’s soft and sweet, texturally there is a thin honey style that slips across the palate. Immediately there is more from the cask here, vanilla, milk chocolate and light cedar and black pepper. Warmed scones and honey from the malt wrapped in earthy smoke and soft apricot. creamy, minty, tablet brings a sweetness and a warm salty sand hint of Islay. Finish: The finish is coconut and peat smoke, mildly iodine-y and hints of almond and geranium. The peat smoke gently fades away. Character: Wonderfully balanced to show the fruity style of the spirit on the nose and the delicate influence of the cask on the palate. The peat smoke weaves its way gently through the whisky highlighting the softer sweeter notes. This 2012 vintage has a freshness and balance that tells the story of the place to which it belongs.” – $90
    3. Bruichladdich Octomore 10.1 – 59.8% – 5 Year – 107PPM – Producer Description: “Distilled from Scottish barley in 2013, Octomore 10.1 is the benchmark of the 10s series. Deliberately stripped back to an ex- American oak maturation, aged just 5 years old, the .1 edition exposes the structure and presence of the Octomore spirit. Combining smoke with a modest maturation, this 10.1 first and foremost demonstrates the true potential of a considered, patient distillation.” – Producer Tasting Note: “Character: Lithe, supple, powerfully confident and a dram more than the sum of its parts. Slow trickle distillation is the hallmark of this muscular, oily spirit. Aroma: Vanilla led, caramel, hints of smoke but tamed back. candied apple, gooseberry and marzipan. Taste: Soft yet powerful and warming on the palate, peppery, barley sugar, smokey – dried earth and hints of rubber. Warm sand, sweetness of charred oak and pineapple. Finish: Sweetness from tablet/fudge and a strong peat smoke and cold marine air combination.” – $145
    4. Bruichladdich Octomore 10.3 – 61.3% – 6 Year – 114PPM – Producer Description: “Distilled in 2013 from the 2012 harvest, the Octomore 10.3 has been brought home by farmer James Brown. Taking on the challenge of growing Islay Barley, he braces the conditions of the wet and wild west coast to combine an exploration of Islay terroir and stratospheric smoke. For the first time, the .3 is matured for six aged years but crucially only in ex-American oak. These top-quality casks have gently coaxed this Octomore spirit into life in Warehouse 16, next to our 10.1 edition. The components of our 10.1 and 10.3 are so similar, the distinct flavour difference must be owed to the barley’s respective growing location.” – Producer Tasting Note: “Character: Marine freshness, Islay air and a deep rooted level of fruitiness from the distillation characterise this release. Aroma: Earthy peat smoke, dry and a little medicinal, lemon drops, and thyme come through and then marine, sea shell notes along with some vanilla and fudge from the oak. Taste: Salt on the lips and more honey and lemon on the palate, then the peat sweeps in with the oak and heat from the high strength. Deeper flavours from the spirit, pear and gooseberry are more defined and richer. Finish: Sweet on the finish initially with pastry and chocolate but then bitter notes of rubbery smoke and spice towards the end.” – $172

    Introducing Shelter Point Smoke Point 

    The First Peated Shelter Point Release 

    Exclusive to KWM in Alberta, the Shelter Point Smoke Point is the distillery’s first ever peated expression. The whisky was matured 5 years in ex-Bourbon before finishing for 9 months in ex-Laphroaig Quarter Casks. 1044 bottles were produced with just 36 coming to Alberta.

    Shelter Point Smoke Point – 55% – Matured 5 Years Before Finishing in ex-Laphroaig Quarter Casks – Producer Description: “Introducing Shelter Point’s first ever peat influenced whisky. This single grain smoky delight has been aged in American oak ex-bourbon casks for 5 years and finished in casks previously used by a famous Islay distillery for 8 months. This special bottling consists of only 1044 hand numbered bottles. The whisky is made from malted and unmalted barley and picks up influences of bourbon from the American oak cask and peated whisky from the ex-Islay casks. Sweet, smoky and complex, this whisky is perfect for a dram by the fire.” – Producer Tasting Note: “Smoke Point whisky is sweet, medicinal and smoky on the nose with barley sugars, iodine and campfire. The palate is sweet caramel, vanilla and sea salt, with peated warmth comforting the soul. The satisfying finish is a delicious combination of creamy pudding and a brand new first aid kit.” – $94

    Introducing: Canadian Club Chronicles 42 Year 

    The Oldest Canadian Whisky for the 3rd Year Running: 40, 41 & Now 42!

    Distilled in 1977, this second batch in the Canadian Club Chronicles series is called the Dock Man. Made of corn whisky matured in American Oak barrels. It is the oldest Canadian whisky ever bottled, and in the words of Davin de Kergommeaux, the foremost expert on Canadian whisky, “it is spectacular”.

    Canadian Club Chronicles 42 Year – 45% – Producer Description: “With this 2nd release in the CC Chronicles series, we pay tribute to the dock men who operated floating liquor stores & bars aboard their vessels. Despite the presence of many counterfeit makers of CC, savvy bar owners and whisky fans knew they could count on the dock men to provide only genuine Canadian Club®. With this 42-year-old whisky, we celebrate their uncompromising commitment to origin, authenticity, quality and craftsmanship.” – Tasting Note Davin de Kergommeaux: “The Dock Man is a sweet luscious whisky with a deep, complex nose and palate. Fruity and floral notes entwine delicately with Canadian Club’s signature prunes and black raisins followed by tartish apple skins, and apricots. Mild peppery spices evolve into sweetish baking spices, while woody notes are restrained, with soft tannins pulling gently on the cheeks. Dark fruit returns in a long spicy finish.” – $275 

    Introducing: Highland Park Valfather 

    The Third & Final Release in the Viking Legends Series 

    The final bottling in the “Viking Legends” series, Valfather is the most heavily peated whisky ever released by the distillery. Matured exclusively in Refill casks to allow the spirit to dominate the profile. Valfather, or father of the slain, is one of Odin’s (the most powerful Norse God) many names and a reference to his place presiding over the Golden Hall in Valhala.

    Producer Description

    “VALFATHER – the final whisky in a series of three special edition Viking Legend releases – is inspired by Odin, the mightiest of the Norse gods. The most peated whisky we have released to date, it is matured entirely in refill casks to give beautifully balanced layers of flavour and a character as complex as Odin himself.

    “Odin is associated with wisdom and knowledge; with sorcery and poetry; with battle, frenzy and death. The old legends also tell us of the tame beasts who bring him both protection and support – Sleipnir the eight-legged flying horse; the tame wolves, Geri and Freki; and Huginn and Muninn, his loyal ravens – but is at the jaws of the savage wolf, Fenrir, that Odin finally meets his end at Ragnarök.”

     Highland Park Valfather – 47% – Matured in Refill Casks – Producer Tasting Note

    “Sweet apple | Fragrant pear | Crème brûlée | Toasted cedar wood | Smoked paprika | Aromatic peat smoke” – $104

    There is also still stock available of the two previous releases:

    1. Highland Park Vakyrie – 45.9% – First Fill American oak and Ex-Sherry – Producer’s Tasting Note: “Green apples | Sun-ripened lemons | Oriental spices | Vanilla | Preserved ginger | Dark chocolate | Salty liquorice | Warm aromatic smoke.” – $105
    2. Highland Park Valknut – 46.8% – Predominantly Matured in Sherry Seasoned Casks – Producer’s Tasting Note: “Toasted vanilla pods | Cracked black pepper | Oak shavings | Cloves | Aniseed | Aromatic peat smoke” – $105   

    Thank You for Reading the Malt Messenger! 

    Contact & Disclaimers 

    If you have any whisky questions or comments concerning The Malt Messenger please contact me by e-mail, phone, or drop by the store.

    All of the products mentioned in THE MALT MESSENGER can be purchased in store, over the phone or from our website at All prices quoted in the Malt Messenger are subject to change and don’t include GST. In the case of discrepancies in pricing, the price in our in store point of sale will be taken as correct.

    Thanks for reading the Malt Messenger.


    Andrew Ferguson

    Owner & Scotchguy
    Kensington Wine Market
    Calgary, Alberta, Canada

  • Islay whisky collection up for auction in aid of RNLI – Scotch Whisky News November 15, 2019

    Islay whisky collection up for auction in aid of RNLI

    The Islay Sea Collection, a group of seven malt whiskies from each of Islay’s coastal distilleries presented in a one of a kind display case is set to go under the hammer in this month’s Just Whisky auction with all proceeds going to the Portrush and Islay volunteer lifeboat crews. The bottles and cask staves, which form the display case, were collected by a group of keen sailors who rowed 110 miles from Northern Ireland to Islay earlier this year.

    The crew of seven, all passionate supporters of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) and the Scottish islands, wanted to recreate the journey made over the generations using only manpower to raise money for the volunteer lifeboat crews based in Portrush and Islay.

    Setting off from Ballintoy on the north coast of Northern Ireland, the group rowed in the ‘Home to Portrush’, a local boat famous for crossing the Atlantic in record time in February 2018. The expedition to Islay took nine and a half hours to complete and followed by three days rowing around the Hebridean Island, visiting each coastal distillery to gather the whisky.

    Following the return row to Northern Ireland, team member and architect Graeme Montgomery designed and created a unique display case to hold the bottles with each piece of wood marked with its origin. It’s a one of its kind piece and will attract attention from Islay whisky fans.

    The team created a short film documenting the adventure and how the display case was made. View it at

    Commenting on the charity auction, Graham Crane, Director at Just Whisky said: “This is a really exciting collection and we are honoured to have been asked to auction it in support of the RNLI. We are in awe of the journey these men took and hope to fetch a substantial amount for the charity. We look forward to seeing the bids rolling in.”

    Keith Gilmore Lifeboat Operations Manager at Portrush Station said: “This is a really exciting and novel way to raise funds for the two stations. We often have to work with Islay, and this is a great way to work with one of our neighbours and local supporters to raise funds for the RNLI.”

    There is no reserve on The Islay Sea Collection and all proceeds, including the registration fee, will go to the charity. The collection includes;

    • Bespoke cask created with wood from each distillery
    • Bowmore 15 Years Old – Feis Ile 2018 52.5%
    • Caol Ila 12 Years Old 43%
    • Bruichladdich Scottish Barley – The Classic Laddie 50%
    • Bunnahabhain 12 Years Old – Small Batch Distilled 46.3%
    • Laphroaig 10 Years Old 40%
    • Ardbeg An Oa 46.6%
    • Lagavulin 16 Years Old 43%

    The auction will until 8pm Sunday 17th November and uses a proxy system which bids on the customers behalf up to their maximum bid. Visit to take part.


    About Just Whisky

    Just Whisky Auctions, owned by Just Whisky Limited, specialise in selling Whisky online to a worldwide market. Just Whisky is a whisky auctioneer setting new records in prices achieved. Hosting a monthly online sale, customers can browse the catalogue of whiskies and bid to win some of the most rare and collectable malts in the world.

  • A K&L Exclusive Barrel that will Delight Fans of Pappy & Old Fitz – American Whiskey News November 15, 2019

    A K&L Exclusive Barrel that will Delight Fans of Pappy & Old Fitz
    Maker’s Mark 46 K&L Exclusive “Barrel #5” Private Select Kentucky Bourbon (750ml) ($69.99)
    “This is simply a perfect high-proof wheater, and just in time for the holidays.”
    — Andrew Whiteley, K&L NorCal Spirits Buyer

    If you enjoy high-proof, wheated bourbons in the mold of Pappy Van Winkle and Old Fitzgerald, then you’re bound to love our most recent K&L exclusive barrel from Maker’s Mark. Through an innovative program, our spirits buyers are given the opportunity to blend their own unique K&L bottling based on the addition of different wood stave types to a barrel of Maker’s 46. The barrel is then stored in a specially designed warehouse carved into the side of a hill that allows the perfect aging conditions. The results carry the trademark characteristics of Maker’s Mark yet possess their own distinctive stamps. Barrel #5 leans heavily on Baked American Pure 2 stave, which constitutes half of the ten stave mix. This result is otherworldly and is sure to make waves in the bourbon crowd. Serving up a panoply of sweet fruit, vanilla, coconut, and exotic spice, Barrel #5 is bourbon at its very best. These Maker’s Mark exclusives always sell out in a flash, and we expect that trend to continue here. $70 is a bargain for a spirit of this caliber. You won’t want to miss it.

    Maker’s Mark 46 K&L Exclusive “Barrel #5” Private Select Kentucky Bourbon (750ml) ($69.99)

    The unique blending process for the Maker’s Mark Private Select casks offers a seemingly endless array of possibilities (it’s actually 1,001 possible combinations, but it’ll take us a while to do them all). The basic premise of the program is this: Maker’s Mark selects and vats 30 casks of the regular cask strength Maker’s Mark together, then they refill the barrels from that vatting with the now small batch whisky and add in a ten-stave recipe. No more, no less. The “recipes” are selected by the buyer of the barrel and can be in any combination from their five unique wood/toasting regimes. The only additional rule is that you cannot do ten of the same stave. Barrel #5 doubles down on the Baked American Pure 2 stave. It represents half of the staves in the recipe. There are two Seared French Cuvée staves to kick up the French oak spice, one Maker’s 46 as a nod to the program that started it all, and two Toasted French Spice staves for added complexity. The heavy use of the Pure 2 leaves even more of the original Maker’s cask strength flavors intact. It was like asking them to only use five staves instead of ten (against the rules…). The result is pretty dang close to a true single barrel, but with a subtle twist.

    Andrew Whiteley | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: October 12, 2019

    My first inclination for this barrel was to pick nine of the Baked American Pure 2 staves to really double down on the natural character of Maker’s Mark. I figured that was the closest thing I could get to an actual single cask. I was sorely mistaken. The added depth and complexity achievable through this unique cask program is astonishing. While maintaining a Maker’s Mark backbone of sweet vanilla and mellow wheat, the combination of the five Pure 2 staves, the seared and toasted French staves, and the single Maker’s 46 stave improves the length and breadth of the whiskey. Instead of the just the sharper, peaked aromatics of American oak, the bass tones of spice fill out the feel of the nose. Heady cooking spices abound but still with a focus on the sweet spices and ever-present sweet vanillins. It fills the glass, your nose, and the room. On the palate, the intense tip-of-the-tongue sweetness of Maker’s is carried all the way to the far corners of your mouth. It’s a full-palate whiskey in a way that the classic just isn’t. The finish lingers with hints of cocoa nibs and cinnamon. This is simply a perfect high-proof wheater, and just in time for the holidays.

    Jeffrey Jones | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: October 14, 2019

    The Maker’s Mark Private Select single barrels are a great variation on a theme. There is the nice, soft sweetness of the regular Maker’s Mark 46, but the volume is turned up with more flavors and nuances. This barrel is mouth coating, rich, and sweet with wonderful spice and honey notes. With a touch of water it is still intense but becomes more elegant and pretty. I think that one could drink this whiskey with and without water.

    Neal Fischer | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: October 12, 2019

    This was such a fun project, and I’m glad that Maker’s Mark invited Andrew and me to blend not just one but TWO batches of Private Select for K&L. It was amazing how different the bourbon could be with slight changes to the stave additions. So it isn’t too much of a surprise that Andrew’s barrel is vastly different from mine. The Neal barrel is clearly superior, but this barrel of Andrew’s is really killer too. When I sip this, I think to myself that this is classic Maker’s Mark… but greatly intensified. Luscious caramel spills out of the glass with apricot and a little buttered popcorn. There’s very soft baking spices with a bit of coconut coming from the high amount of baked American oak staves that give Andrew’s batch its central character. This decadent bourbon is a sweetie, but it ain’t a pushover.

    Stefanie Juelsgaard | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: October 08, 2019

    Marker’s Mark’s focus has always been on producing quality whiskey rather than simply pumping out quantity. In this unique, single barrel designed by our K&L Spirits team, you get something that is totally one-off, special, and won’t be seen again. Boasting more bold, rich, true to bourbon flavors of butterscotch, biscuit, and vanilla bean, this whiskey is everything you would want in a classic American spirit. Very smooth and a little sweet with a crème brûlée-like character.