• Saint Kilian is happy…. A new star is born PART 1 by Ernst J. Scheiner, The Gateway to Distilleries April 5, 2020

    Saint Kilian is happy….

    A new star is born 

    Ernie – Ernst J. Scheiner, The Gateway to Distilleries at

    Saint Kilian celebrated his birthday again. Distillery Manager Mario Rudolf and his team presented their first three-year-old single malt whisky which they had distilled in Rüdenau in Lower Franconia in May 2019. Hundreds of friends and retailers joined the big party.

    They celebrated the inauguration of Sankt Kilian Signature Edition One. The brand new German single malt whisky appeared in shining amber colours in a specially designed bottle which interpreted the shape and proportions of its pot still where the spirit had been distilled. The elegant and much acclaimed designer bottle was filled with a young whisky at 45% abv in natural colour. The three year old Sankt Kilian German Single Malt was double-distilled from 100 % German malted barley. „The first edition is not chill-filtered in order to preserve its full aroma and taste for the connoisseurs,“ Mario Rudolf pointed out. The Frank was born in the nearby town of Amorbach, which has strong family-links with Queen Victoria’s mother Victoire of Sachsen-Coburg-Saalfeld.

    “It is an incredibly good feeling standing here, three years after we filled the first cask with our whisky which is a result of experimenting with different types of casks and wood.” The newly born whisky was the achievement of a dedicated dynamic young team. Special distillation methods in a state of the art distillery of the finest quality led to spirits which matured in a great variety of different casks on site. Today Sankt Kilian is the largest whisky distillery in Germany and produces about 210 000 LPA.  Four Signature Editions have been released so far plus innumerous special casks bottlings.

    The beginnings

    The fancy idea had started in Ireland. The friendship between the investor and whisky collector Andreas Thümmler, who is also from the Lower Franconia, and the experienced Irish distiller and developer David F. Hynes formed the foundation of a groundbreaking cooperation. The former managing director of Cooley had been responsible for the brilliant development of world-renowned whiskeys like Tyrconnell, Connemara, Greenore or Kilbeggan. The oldest Irish working distillery Kilbeggan got the two whisky specialists together. Thümmler’s idea to build a Scottish type of distillery in the hills of his home village near the Main River Valley was a splendid one indeed. Today tourists are flocking in visiting the new attraction near the medieval trading centre of Miltenberg. The aromatic result of an oily, almost creamy fruity, apple and pear-scented spirit without pungent alcohols is also sweet and malty on the palate. Thümmler’s huge investment decision is rewarded by the high quality of the whisky and its positive reception by customers and critics. The distillery site was indeed the perfect choice. Since Roman times the area has been known for the exeptional quality of its water sources. A disused textile factory provided the ideal production and warehousing site.

    A state-of-the-art distillery emerges

    The Irishman David Hynes designed the structure and size of the pot stills, the lauter tun – 12,000 litres – and the four wooden fermenting vats – 10,800 litres each. The world-famous coppersmiths of Forsyths from Rothes in Speyside manufactured two copper stills each having a capacity of 6,000 litres. Coopers from Dufftown in Speyside set up the wooden fermenters according to traditional Scottish patterns. The pine wood came from the American state of Oregon at the Pacific coast. The system of a temperature-controlled fermentation of the wort is a reminiscence of Irish tradition. By installing large cooling plates inside the wooden washbacks the mashmen are able to ferment various kinds of beers for distillation. Pitching the yeast starts normally at 28 degrees Celsius. Fermentation ends usually after 65 hours. At weekends it is longer of course. Dried yeast from Lallemand is the standard. The beer with a concentration of 8% abv is very fruity and only double distilled into water and alcohol in onion-shaped stills.

    Pot stills under bond

    German customs authorities require special modifications for this type of grain distillery. The spirit still is placed completely sealed behind framed glass walls. All screws of the metal frames and doors were even individually sealed by the officers. Free access to the pot still kettels is hermetically denied by a completely locked steel and sealed door. Stillmen are kept out totally, any access is fully denied. They are only allowed to open the doors in case of justified emergency. Only officials of the tax and revenue office have the legal right to break the seals for inspection. Nobody can trace any alcohol from the distilling line unless the seals will be taken off. Even the top flange of the lyne arm of the wash still is hermetically sealed. Well before distilling the distiller has to notify the very day and time to the regional revenue office. During the first months memebers of the revenue office controlled all distilling procedures. Officers have got the legal right of free access to any spot of the production premises and bonded warehouses at any time without prior appointment. They do control all steps of production and check the bonded warehouses.

    When distilling Mario Rudolf and his colleagues are only able to control the aroma profil of the destillate after it has run through a completely sealed alcohol gauge meter. They may take only a very small sample at a special tap positioned just outside of the spirit safe which is also behind sealed glass frames. Any of these samples will also be taxed in the end. However, the Scottish-like pot still distillation system of St. Kilian has got a very special technical feature which reflects Irish distilling tradition: Hynes installed a dephlegmator or reflux condenser with spirial water pipes in the voluminous and slightly ascending lyne arm of the spirit still. Thus the stillman is able to control the particular temperature and amount of cooling water of the reflux condenser. By varying temperatures he might increase or decrease the reflux of the ascending heavy alcohol vapours back into the kettle. The distillate gets either purer or heavier during these monitored reflux phases. This versatile purification method of the destillates is resulting in a new make which is almost free of sulphurous aromas. Hynes: “We are approaching a two and a half times distillation and above, if you like.” A typical tripple Irish distillation has not been intended at Sankt Kilian Distillery so far. The graduate chemist from the University of Dublin had already installed a similar system at Cooley Distillery in Riverstown, Co Louth. There he fixed a serpent water pipe in the ascending lyne arm of the spirit still. Almost the same kind of purifying system was also implemented at the new Great Northern Distillery in Dundalk north of Dublin, where Hynes is one of the directors alongside Dr John Teeling.  At the former Harp Brewery he also modified the spirit stills. Hynes installed circular cooling pipes in the horizontal lyne arm. The reflux of heavy alcohols run directly through an additional copper pipe into the former brew kettle, where once brewers used to boil Harp Lager beer.

    The result is a spirit full of fruity aromas

    The Sankt Kilian new make reaches the spirit safe at an alcohol level of 70 to 75% abv. Like Scottish stillmen the Kilian Team recycles foreshots and feints within the low wines mixture. Although it is quite common by German distillers – mainly fruit distillers – not to rediststil the foreshots and feints. They only use the pure middle cut for maturation, the heads and tails are waste. In contrast to the Scottish Regulations, which only allow oak barrels for whisky maturation, the European Union legalizes the use of casks in Germany which are made of all kinds of wood. Rudolf matures his Kilian whisky in about 180 different small and large cask types of red and white wines such as Amarone or sweet wines like Sauternes or Tokay. In the onsite-bonded warehouses and in very unique former U.S. bunkers nearby you may spot casks which held Caribbean rum, Andalusian Pedro Ximénez, Oloroso, Moscatel, Bourbon, cider or beer etc. Juvenile casks may also shape the aroma profile of the Kilian whiskies. Mario Rudolf is very keen on experiments. Though the wood management is highly diversified. He even traced very old Sherry toneles from Sanlúcar de Barrameda and Pedro Ximénez seasoned casks from Montilla. He is now setting up long term relationships with bodegas and tonelerias in Montilla and Jerez. Like in Scotland, the new make is reduced to 63.5% abv before filling the casks. Since the start of production on Saint Patricks Day 2016, the spirits have been maturing in around 5000 barrels on the distillation site. Among them are now also distillates from beech-wood smoked Franconian malt and Scottish peated malt from Paul’s Malt in Glenesk, south of Aberdeen.


    Text and Photos remain Copyright The Gateway to Distilleries 2019




    Isle of Raasay Distillery today unveiled the fifth and final instalment of its While We Wait single malt Scotch whisky series, ahead of the island’s highly anticipated inaugural Isle of Raasay Single Malt release later this year.

    Raasay While We Wait – Last Orders ends the distillery’s five-year countdown towards the releasing of the first legal single malt Scotch Whisky from an island rooted in centuries of expertise.

    The Last Orders release combines peated and unpeated spirit expressions to provide discerning whisky drinkers with an accurate representation of the tastes and flavour to expect from the Isle of Raasay’s inaugural spirit. Matured in bourbon barrels and finished in first and second fill Tuscan red wine French oak casks for 18 months, Last Orders imparts a bounty of dark fruit flavours and character. This lightly peated, fruity single malt offers smokiness on first nosing, a dry peatiness on the palate, and a dash of orange zest from the nose, with an oaky and buttery finish.

    Co-founder Alasdair Day said: “This fifth and final release of our While We Wait series is a highly significant step forward for our distillery. Our team are constantly looking to push the boundaries of whisky making, exploring the effect that different finishes and casks have on the flavour profile, and this spirit is the perfect embodiment of our ethos.

    Raasay While We Wait – Last Orders marks the last opportunity to purchase a piece of history, to be a part of our journey and to enjoy the final release of something we are very proud of as we look forward to bottling our inaugural Isle of Raasay Single Malt later this year.”

    Isle of Raasay Distillery is one of Scotland’s newest, pioneering distilleries. Located between the Isle of Skye and Scotland’s spectacular west coast, Isle of Raasay Distillery’s vision is to create the finest Hebridean single malt Scotch whisky and fully immerse whisky lovers in the Raasay experience at its five-star visitor centre and Victorian guesthouse with spectacular views of Skye’s Cuillin peaks.

    Raasay While We Wait: Last Orders is priced at £45 and available to purchase on and Master of Malt. Customers can also pre-order the Inaugural Isle of Raasay Single Malt via

    Raasay While We Wait Tasting Notes

    A welcome smokiness on first nosing, mixed with red berries, lemon and grassy notes. With more time; pear, tangerine and melon.

    Dry peatiness on the palate, mixed in with red wine notes. A good dash of orange zest from the nose.

    Oaky and buttery finish.

    Food Pairings:
    Pairs well with Sconser scallops, smoked salmon, game, grouse, woodcock, venison, creamy blue cheese, bacon, haggis.

    About Raasay:

    With its sweeping views of the Isle of Skye’s Cuillin peaks, stunning forest trails, secluded beaches, and iconic flat-topped peak offering dramatic views of Skye’s famous vistas, Raasay is best known as the birthplace of celebrated Gaelic poet, the late Sorley MacLean, and Queen Victoria’s first piper, Angus Mackay.

    The Isle of Raasay Distillery is producing island single malt Scotch whisky.

    • Capacity: 188,000 LPA
    • Mash Tun: 1 Tonne
    • Washback Size: 6 x 5,000 L
    • Fermentation Time: up to 118 hours
    • Wash Still: 5,000 L
    • Spirit Still: 3,600 L
    • Maturation: All maturation takes place on the Isle of Raasay.

    Raasay Distillery, Borodale House, Isle of Raasay, Kyle IV40 8PB
    Instagram/ Facebook: @raasaydistillery, Twitter: @RaasayWhisky

  • Jack Daniel’s New Creative “With Love, Jack” – American Whiskey News April 4, 2020

    A first look at the new creative spot Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey is releasing today. It marks the first work to come from Brown-Forman’s new creative agency partner, Energy BBDO.

    The spot shares the new reality we are all facing as humanity and how our friends around the world are adapting. It shows the genuine moments that people are having to continue to feel connected.

    The spot is titled “With Love, Jack” and will be launched digitally across Jack Daniel’s social platforms beginning March 26. You can take a look at the work here.

    The video was created from user-generated footage of real human interactions that were filmed authentically, and safely, from home. It features a new rendition of Cyndi Lauper’s “True Colors,” which was also recorded from home by the singers featured in the video.

    “Showcasing how our friends around the world are rallying and uniting together during these times was our goal,” said Matt Blevins, Jack Daniel’s Global Brand Director. “It was about capturing real moments that are helping folks find social connection, which is something Jack Daniel’s celebrates.”

    “We’ve all had to rapidly adapt to this new reality, and we discovered this magical thing where people are finding really creative and beautiful ways to stay connected during this time of social distancing,” said Josh Gross, Co-Chief Creative Officer of Energy BBDO. “This idea is a celebration of humanity at its best. It’s a timely message of optimism and hope,” added Pedro Pérez, Co-Chief Creative Officer of Energy BBDO.

    Jack Daniel’s parent company Brown-Forman has been doing its part to help in these unprecedented times. Last week the organization announced a $1 million donation to COVID-19 response funds and the Jack Daniel Distillery has begun aiding production of hand sanitizer for first responders.

  • New Milroy’s Mackmyra! – Whisky News April 4, 2020

    New Milroy’s Mackmyra!

    Back over in Soho, we have been working with a number of brands to bring you virtual tastings, so you can feel as though you are hunkered down in the back of Milroys for the evening, all from your own couch.

    The first of these will feature our brand new range with Mackmyra. Join Eddie and Katie to talk through our three shiny new expressions, a PX, Grand Cuvee Champagne and Cloudberry Wine cask (more information about this to follow!!)



  • The Price of our Tyndrum Gold Batch 3 has dropped! – Scotch Whisky News April 4, 2020

    Tyndrum Gold Batch 3.

    Courtesy of


    Gold rarely drops in price, but given the circumstances, plus we’ve only a limited amount of this release left, AND our shop (and main business) is closed,

    we’re offering this release at a substantially discount, with £8 OFF.

    From the fantastic BenRiach distillery, and matured in a Sherry cask,  this release is not to be missed!

    Please note – we are still dispatching orders.

    Order your bottle Now >>