The exceptionally rare Bowmore Queens Cask 1980 has previously only appeared a handful of times, exclusively through charity auctions.
9th September 2019 – An exceptionally rare bottling of Bowmore Single Malt whisky has been donated by Beam Suntory to an online charity auction in support of cancer care in Scotland. The Scotch Whisky Industry Charity Auction for Beatson Cancer Charity will feature over 100 rare and prestigious whiskies from Scotland’s finest distilleries with an estimated auction hammer price value of over £110,000. The rare bottle of 1980 Bowmore Queen’s Cask donated by Beam Suntory, is expected to fetch a record sum.
In 1980 a cask of whisky was filled to commemorate Her Majesty the Queen’s visit to Bowmore Distillery on the Isle of Islay. In 2002, Her Majesty requested that the cask was bottled to mark the Golden Jubilee. A select number of bottles were delivered to the cellars at Royal Palaces, with a small amount retained in the Bowmore distillery archive. Beam Suntory, owners of Bowmore distillery, donated the bottling with permission of the royal household. To date only a hand full of bottles have been seen exclusively at charity auctions, making this one of the rarest and most collectable whiskies in the world.
Pryce Greenow, International President at Beam Suntory, stated: “Beam Suntory is honoured to support such an incredible cause and raise awareness of the work of the Beatson Cancer Charity in Scotland. The Queens cask 1980 Jubilee bottling is an exceptional single malt celebrating an iconic moment in Bowmore’s distilling history. Matched by some incredible donations from the wider scotch whisky industry, we’re anticipating a record sum to be raised for this world-leading cancer charity.”
The online auction will run from 13th-23rd September on Whisky Auctioneer.com, which is waiving its seller fee and donating its buyer commission to the charity.
For more information on the auction or to register to participate, please visit
To buy or sell on the Whisky Auctioneer website, an account must be first set up here:
9th September 2019: The winners in the inaugural competition to assess the business of Scotch whisky have been revealed at a sell-out event held in Edinburgh last week.
The Scottish Whisky Awards welcomed over 400 guests to celebrate and to hear who had been crowned the best in the wide-ranging competition which assesses taste and business performance.
Scottish Whisky Distillery of the Year 2019 was presented to The GlenAllachie Distillery in recognition of an outstanding year of business and after winning five medals in the blind tasting competition. The distillery has successfully served a full range of single malt into the market, opened a visitor centre and created a strong distribution network. Their awards haul included two gold medals for their 18 and 12 year old single malts. Craigellachie, Glen Scotia, Highland Park and Loch Lomond Distilleries were also nominated in the category.
Angus-based Arbikie Distilling collected the award for the Newcomer of the Year and were applauded by the judging panel for their field to bottle ethos and innovative approach. They also collected a silver medal for Arbikie Highland Rye in the single grain category.
Other winners on the night included Johnnie Walker White Walker for their Game Of Thrones campaign whilst the Glasgow Distillery Company triumphed with multiple awards for their recently launched 1770 Single Malt.
Professor Alan Wolstenholme, Chair of the Judging panel commented;
“Very many congratulations to the winners in the inaugural Scottish Whisky Awards. Winning a Scottish Whisky Award is a huge opportunity to further the promotion of Scotch whisky at home and abroad. I hope that all the medallists and winners take the opportunity to promote their success and achievements in what was a very tough competition.”
The awards are supported by commercial sponsors including Shawbrook Bank and Bruce Stevenson.
Kevin Boyd, Managing Director at Shawbrook Bank commented;
“Congratulations to all the finalists and winners in the inaugural Scottish Whisky Awards. Shawbrook Bank are proud supporters of our whisky industry and we are delighted to support these awards and their work to promote the business of Scotch and all our wonderful whiskies at home and abroad.”
Graeme Dempster, Account Executive at Bruce Stevenson Insurance Brokers commented;
“We’d like to congratulate all the finalists and winners at the Scottish Whisky Awards. The quality of talent up for nomination clearly demonstrates the strength of the Scotch Whisky industry today. At
Bruce Stevenson, we’re very proud to have a wide-ranging and deep involvement in such an exciting and growing sector.”
The awards also recognised one of the whisky industry’s most accomplished scientific and technical advisers with a special award presented posthumously to Dr Jim Swan. The award for outstanding contribution to Scotch whisky was accepted by Dr Swan’s daughters and was presented in recognition of his forty-year career as a research scientist and trusted adviser to whisky distilleries around the world. The award will be presented annually as The Jim Swan Award for Services to Scotch Whisky to an individual making a significant contribution to the Scotch Whisky industry.
Full results in the competition were unveiled for the first-time last night after being held as a closely guarded secret since the business and taste competitions were carried out in May. In the taste sessions, adjudicated by the international sensory management consultancy, Cara Technology, over 100 whiskies were blind tasted and scored by a 32-strong judging panel from the UK, mainland Europe and Asia.
The awards which will now become an annual fixture and will be hosted in Glasgow next year, were also a fundraiser for two charities; The BEN, the Benevolent Society of the Licensed Trade of Scotland and the My Name’5 Doddie Foundation, set up by rugby legend Doddie Weir to help improve the lives of those affected by Motor Neurone Disease.
Littlemill 29 year old, the latest expression from Littlemill’s Private Cellar collection, will be released this September, using liquid carefully selected from some of the last remaining casks to be laid down at the Littlemill Distillery.
Now recognised to have been the oldest licensed distillery in Scotland, the distillery fell silent in 1994 and was destroyed by fire in 2004, making this liquid exceptionally rare and covetable.
Littlemill 29 year old (RRP £2,750; 47.3% ABV) is the third release from the Private Cellar Collection, each crafted by Master Blender Michael Henry in Littlemill’s traditional Lowland ‘floral’ style. This latest release places particular emphasis on developing the wood character and only 600 bottles will be released across the world.
The liquid is contained within a bespoke Glencairn crystal decanter etched with an illustration of the River Clyde and a silver star signifying the Littlemill distillery’s location. Situated in Bowling on the banks for the River Clyde, it would prove to be a defining factor in the distillery’s success, opening important trade routes to key cities including Glasgow and Edinburgh when the Forth and Clyde Canal was completed in the 1790s.
Hand-engraved and hand-infilled by Glencairn’s specialist in-house team, each decanter is truly one of a kind and is individually numbered for exclusivity and collectability.
The beautifully crafted presentation box also includes a 5cl miniature of the liquid, a piece of an original Littlemill cask, and a booklet sharing the fascinating history of the Littlemill distillery with tasting notes from Master Blender Michael Henry.
Master Blender Michael Henry explains how each of the Private Cellar releases have been crafted to deliver different flavour profiles while still retaining the original character of the Littlemill distillery:
“The latest expression in the Private Cellar collection helps to tell another piece of the Littlemill story. Littlemill has always represented the traditional Lowland ‘floral’ style, and over the years the distillation and maturation processes evolved to maintain this flavour profile.
“The first Private Cellar release in 2015 was designed to reflect Littlemill’s original quality and style. The second release in 2017 focussed more on the distillery influence, and by maturing the liquid in refill bourbon casks the distilling process became the main factor in defining the whisky’s character. Littlemill 29 year old, our 2019 release, focuses on the influence of wood.”
“The original liquid was laid down in refill bourbon casks in 1990. Seven of these were selected and combined, then finished in first-fill oloroso sherry and Limousin oak casks. The oloroso sherry adds further floral notes, similar to the traditional sherry casks used at the Littlemill distillery, while the Limousin oak provides the European oak influence. The result is unmistakably Littlemill, with delicious caramel sweetness layered with spice.”
Littlemill Distillery has long laid claim to an extensive and fascinating history, but new historic documentary evidence unearthed from the archives now conclusively proves that it was the oldest licensed whisky distillery in Scotland, with recent records unearthed with dates the license from 2nd November 1773.
Brothers George and Archibald Buchanan – the original owners of Littlemill – were trailblazers for the rich tradition of Scottish whisky production, and Littlemill continued to lead the industry for over two centuries. Notably, it was one of the first distilleries to have a female licensee, Jane MacGregor, in 1823. Later, in 1931, under the stewardship of the American Duncan Thomas, Littlemill was at the forefront of still innovation with technical designs that could create three styles of single malts from full-bodied to light.
Whisky production at Littlemill, situated in Bowling on the banks of the River Clyde near Glasgow, continued until the distillery fell silent in 1994 and was subsequently destroyed by fire in 2004, never to produce a drop again.
For further information visit www.littlemilldistillery.com.
Highland Park single malt Scotch Whisky has launched a special edition whisky, Valfather, the final part of the Viking Legend series inspired by the Orkney based distillery’s Viking history.
The trilogy highlights the journey to Ragnarök, the battle at the end of the world and has inspired the packaging and taste profiles of the whiskies created by Highland Park’s master whisky maker, Gordon Motion.
Valfather, named after Odin, the mightiest of the Norse Gods, is the distillery’s most peated release to date. Created using whisky matured in refill casks to reflect the ethereal and lighter feel of Valhalla, Odin’s hall, the whisky’s higher phenolic level displays Odin’s power.
Gordon Motion, master whisky maker, Highland Park, said: “Valfather and the whiskies in the Viking Legend series uses more of our heavily peated malt, making the series more like cousins, rather than a brother or sister to the core range. Overall, this whisky is the richest and smokiest in taste profile compared to the rest of the series and our classic whiskies.
“As well as our hallmark aromatic peat smoke, it tastes of creamy vanilla, toasted cedar wood with a long floral aromatic finish offset by notes of crisp apple and sweet fragrant pear.”
The Viking Legend series rise in phenolic level throughout the collection and each have their own distinctive taste profile. Valkyrie the first in the series, uses predominantly European sherry seasoned oak, while Valknut uses American sherry seasoned oak and Orkney’s tartan barley.
Inspiration for the packaging design came from the ancient picture stones from Stora Hammars in Gotland, Sweden. The brand has partnered with Danish designer, Jim Lyndvild, to bring the collection to life.
Valfather will be released globally from August 2019. To find out more visit: www.highlandparkwhisky.com
Whisky Illuminati, an independent bottler specialising in premium single cask Scotch whisky, today unveils what it believes to be an industry first with the launch of the Solaria Series: a three-part bottling of five Speyside single malt whiskies.
Offering something genuinely unique to whisky enthusiasts, the Solaria Series will give consumers the opportunity to explore how Scotch whisky evolves in the cask over time, thanks to its three-part bottling which will be released over the next four years. Following the first edition (1:3) release in 2019, there will be a second release in 2021, with the final batch set for release in 2023.
In edition one of the Solaria Series, only 150 bottles from three of the Sherry Butts, 120 from another lower fill Butt and 100 from the Hogshead will be released. The remaining whisky will stay in the cask for a further two years before Edition 2:3 is released, followed by Edition 3:3 in 2023.
The Solaria Series comprises five single malt Scotch whiskies from Speyside distilleries:
Each release was matured in first-fill Spanish Oak Sherry Butt casks, with the exception of the Solaria Series from Craigellachie Distillery, which was matured in a first-fill Spanish Oak Sherry Hogshead cask. Described by Whisky Illuminati co-founder, Keith Bonnington, as a “rare first for the Scotch whisky industry”, each of the 2011 Vintage Single Casks bottled as part of the Solaria Series were hand selected by a panel of experts with over 200 years of industry experience.
Bonnington noted: “This is a unique opportunity for whisky drinkers to buy into a developing cask of single malt Scotch whisky, and to fully appreciate how the character evolves in the wood over a period of four years.
“We selected 100% first fill ex-Sherry Casks from Spain to mature the new-make spirit, with the aim of drawing out maximum impact from the wood to deliver the depth of flavour and colour desired over time.”
Bonnington added: “Our policy of bottling at natural cask strength without adding colour or chill-filtering means that each whisky is bottled at between 63% and 68% alcohol by volume, exactly as they appear right now in the cask. To fully enjoy the multitude of complex flavours, gradually adding water to taste is encouraged.
“How they develop in the oak over the duration of the three releases is completely in the hands of mother nature and that anticipation of their natural development is what makes this series so exciting.
“What is certain, is that these 2011 Vintage casks are made from the highest quality European oak, sourced from one of Spain’s finest Sherry Bodegas, and I’m confident that the whisky will develop and mellow marvellously over the next few years”.
The launch of the Solaria Series follows Whisky Illuminati’s inaugural Candlelight Series, which was released in 2018 to high acclaim from many leading whisky writers and experts², and sold internationally in markets including China, Taiwan, South Africa and the United States.
The Solaria Series will be available to purchase from select specialist whisky retailers this month, August, including Master of Malt and Selfridges, at a UK RRP of around £120 each. Buyers of the first release will automatically be offered the opportunity to purchase the second and third editions upon release.
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