Myriam’s Distillery Focuses – Lindores Abbey & Isle of Harris Distillery

Myriam’s Distillery Focuses – Lindores Abbey & Isle of Harris Distillery


Sales and Marketing Manager Myriam Mackenzie had the pleasure of returning to her Scottish roots on a recent trip to Scotch-land, where she enjoyed visiting a few fantastic distilleries.

Lindores Abbey Distillery

Lindores Abbey Distillery

A recent visit to Scotland included a tour around Lindores Abbey Distillery in Fife. A relatively new distillery, founded in 2017, it is referred to as the spiritual home of Scotch whisky. The site and abbey ruins are steeped in history and lay claim to the first written record of whisky production dating back to 1494. Friar John Cor, a monk at the Abbey of Lindores, wrote a letter whereby he stated that by order of King James IV, he was instructed to make “aqua vitae, VIII bolls of malt”. Distillation of aqua vitae (meaning ‘water of life’ in Latin) was popular in monasteries at the time and later commonly referred to as ‘uisge beatha’ in Scottish Gaelic. Today, this historic spirit is widely known as whisky.

Lindores Abbey Distillery

With a modest annual production of 225,000 litres which is set to expand further this year, the family-owned distillery shows clear dedication to heritage and craft. They use local barley grown in the surrounding fields which were under the original ownership of the abbey in the 15th century. This year saw the release of their very first whisky: the Lindores Lowland Single Malt Scotch Whisky matured in a selection of ex-bourbon barrels, ex-sherry casks and ex-wine barriques. A visit to the warehouse gives the impression that the owners are open to experimentation with different types of cask maturation. Among the typical bourbon barrels used in the industry, I also noted an interesting selection of casks of varying sizes from Spain, Portugal, and even Australian wineries. They proudly refer to their cask selection and ‘Kingdom of Fife’ barley on the label, but notably also their team of ‘Lindores people’, as well as a thank you to those who have contributed to their story by buying a bottle.

A beautifully presented distillery inside and out, when you visit it you instantly feel you are part of their story. The still room has an impressive view which overlooks the abbey ruins and the visitor centre contains local historical artefacts, including some of the original pillars of the abbey. The tour involves a great deal of history too which is what ultimately inspired the building of this new distillery and community at Lindores. In the words of the late whisky writer, Michael Jackson, “for the whisky-lover, it is a pilgrimage”.

Isle of Harris Distillery

Isle of Harris Distillery

Located in the Outer Hebrides on the west coast of Scotland, the Isle of Harris Distillery was founded in 2014 by a group of investors who shared a passion for whisky, the island community, and the landscape of Harris. Among them, a former marketing director for Glenmorangie who now manages the distillery. The core values behind this unique enterprise represent the rich heritage and warm hospitality of the island. Known as ‘the social distillery’, they seek to employ people with connections to Harris or from the island itself and train them in the art of whisky-making. This brings much-needed employment to a modest island population and it’s beneficial for tourism too. Harris distillery now welcomes over 100,000 visitors a year.

Isle of Harris Distillery

Everything about this community-driven project has been carefully crafted, from the distillery layout to the final product. When you walk into the warehouse, there’s a sense of creativity and individuality as well as a homage to tradition. The casks bear the emblematic Harris logo as well as the hand-written messages and names of the investors who bought the first casks laid down by the distillery. Also in the warehouse is an art installation of staves, another thoughtful addition and dedication to those that helped fund the beginnings of the distillery. I’m proud to say ‘The Mackenzie Spirit’ is engraved into one of these staves!

Today the core product is Harris gin; a smooth refreshing gin made from nine botanicals with locally harvested sugar kelp, presented in an iconic bottle that is inspired by the sea. Yet to come, is the whisky – a non-chill filter natural colour whisky which is to be named the Hearach (translating as a person from Harris in Scottish Gaelic). There is no release date yet for their whisky, all we’re told on the tour is that ‘we’re not in a hurry’. In the meantime, you can taste the peated new-make spirit made from concerto barley and at the end of the tour you are offered a dram of Highland Park 12-Year-Old as a nod to the style of whisky the distillery aspires to create.

To find out more about investing in Whisky Casks and to speak to the Masters themselves, contact the Team today!

Whisky Tasting at Tanner De Witt – HK

Whisky Tasting at Tanner De Witt – HK

 

Last week Cask Trade HK hosted a fantastic and insightful whisky tasting event at Tanner De Witt.

Sales Director John Wong and Exec Alan NG were in their element as they delved deep into the whiskies’ histories and presented their knowledge on a variety of Speyside expressions, explaining to guests the joys and opportunities of cask ownership. Attendees were treated to some delicious drinks, including the ‘Talisker with a twist Highball’ and drams of ‘Ancient’ and ‘Modern’ Talisker.

A pair of delightful cask samples drawn from 2008 Glen Moray and Linkwood casks, followed by a classic eight-year-old Glen Moray bottled in the 1990s. A 1994 Secret Speyside matured in a sherry puncheon was the last dram featured in the tantalising tasting line-up.

Following the success of the event there is already talk of another one due to popular request, so watch this space…

To find out more about John and our new Hong Kong office and offerings, get in touch today.

 

Whisky & Biltong Evening with The Hebrew Order of David Barmitzvah Project

Whisky & Biltong Evening with The Hebrew Order of David Barmitzvah Project

 

Whisky sampling

Last Sunday, September 5th the Masters teamed up with the Hebrew Order of David Barmitzvah  Project at the lavish Hartsbourne Country Park to host an evening of whisky tasting and biltong – truly a match made in heaven…

Event guests

The event featured a decadent spread of shawarma and salads, as well as a guest appearance from England Cricket Legend Graham Gooch. The tasting itself consisted of a variety of four very different Cask Strength single malt Whiskies and was expertly lead by Cask Trade’s Brand Executive Phil Huckle, who guided the guests on a journey of Whisky Discovery.

Graham Gooch Phil Huckle

Attendees were treated to a dram of a Glen Moray 12-year-old, a Royal Brackla 14-year-old, a 10-year Armore, and a 13-year Orkney Islands single malt, all of which were sampled along with a side of humour as Phil entertained and educated the crowd.

Whisky samples

MD Simon was at the helm of the charity auction, allocating a variety of exciting prizes to the highest bidder. Cask Trade donated a few prizes that the team really wished they could bid for themselves, including a guided Whisky and Cheese pairing night for six guests in our Regent Street tasting room, a bottle of delicious 27-year-old Glen Garioch, and a divine 25-year-old Mortlach.

Simon Aron

A special thank you to Masters Jess Simmons and Joel Luumi who helped keep the whisky flowing throughout the evening and to organiser Laurence Gishen. Slàinte!

Interested in investing in Whisky Casks? Contact the team today.

 

Meet the Masters – Alan Ng

Meet the Masters – Alan Ng

Alan


As the newest member of the Cask Trade family, Alan is helping John Wong head up our new Hong Kong office and is joining us as a Sales & Marketing Executive and fellow Whisky nerd.

How long have you worked for Cask Trade?
I started working in Cask Trade at the end of July. So I have worked for almost a month!

What first ignited your passion for Whisky?
I joined a wonderful whisky tour when I was traveling in Edinburgh. That was the first time I tried single malt Scotch Whisky and I have fallen in love with whisky ever since.

What are your top three favourite World whiskies and why?
1. Caol Ila from Scotland
It has a taste of soft smoke and peat which makes a perfect balanced whisky.
2. Cooley from Ireland.
Irish Whiskey often gives a smooth mouthfeel and elegant fruit flavour because of its unique triple distilled method.
3. Kavalan from Taiwan
Kavalan whisky provides a strong oaky and spicy flavour, especially those matured in a sherry cask. You will definitely love it if you are a sherry-casked whisky lover.

What are your favourite flavours? Which aspects of whisky are the most important for you?
It is really hard to pick one favourite because I like many of them. But if I really had to choose one, it would be peat.
I would say the taste of the whisky is the most important for me. Every single whisky has its own distinctive taste because of its uniqueness. I will never get tired of having whisky every day.

Your favourite whisky cocktail?
My favourite whisky cocktail would be an Old Fashion. I like the flavour when the whisky is mixed with the bitters, it tastes so amazing!

Whisky with water or straight cask strength?
It depends. Straight cask strength can give you a strong, powerful and full flavour of the whisky, meanwhile, whisky with water has a nice elegant and comfortable taste. So, why not both?

What do you like most about Cask Trade?
I like working with the people here in Cask Trade, very friendly and helpful to each other.

Why should people invest in Whisky Casks?
Whisky Casks are really a nice long-term investment as older whiskies are getting more and more rare and expensive, so it would be a very good foresight to invest in Whisky Casks.

To find out more about what Cask Trade can do for you, don’t hesitate to contact the team today and let’s talk whisky!

Mauritius Rum (La Bourdonnaise)

Mauritius Rum (La Bourdonnaise)

 

Mauritius Rum is produced on Mauritius, a tropical island paradise situated east of Madagascar in the Indian Ocean. The island was first a Dutch, then French, then British colony but even though they have been growing an abundance of sugar cane for centuries there was no history of rum production.

This would seem surprising at first glance, but as the locals don’t drink, and the British had an abundance of rum being produced from their Caribbean islands, a law was passed banning production. Even more surprising was that this wasn’t repealed until 2006…! Now there are six producers on the island and La Bourdonnaise Distillery is slowly getting recognised.

A number of bottlings of Mauritius Rum from La Bourdonnaise Distillery have started to appear and there is a particularly good one available by Masters of Malt which has been aged in Sherry Butts – the reviews are good. The rum is made from sugar cane juice and distilled in column stills situated in a stunning old plantation house. Production is currently quite small, but sales are starting to take off around Asia. 

One thing for certain is that rum is finally on the rise after threatening to increase in popularity for many years. Mauritius Rum Casks are the new kids on the block but an exciting addition to any portfolio.

We currently have some scrumptious 2010 Marituius Rum Sherry Butts on our stock list. To find out more about Rum Cask Investment, contact The Masters today!

Meet the Masters – Hugh Troup

Meet the Masters – Hugh Troup

Meet the Masters - Hugh Troup

From juvenile pallet to Whisky Master, new Sales & Marketing Executive Hugh Troup explains how whisky lit a fire in his belly fairly early on, influencing his decision to follow his passion.

How long have you worked for Cask Trade? 

Two weeks now and loving every minute!

What first ignited your passion for Whisky?
My Godfather purchased a cask of whisky when I was born and 14 years later had it bottled. He let me try a sample when I turned 18 and I must admit, I thought it was way too rich and powerful for my delicate, juvenile palate…! As the years went by and my skill and knowledge increased, I was digging through some old boxes and found he had left me two cases of the stuff! I examined the bottle again, opened a fresh one up was delighted to sample this independently bottled 14-year-old Springbank at 56% ABV. This experience lit a fire in my belly (metaphorically and literally speaking) and drove me onward to learn and develop my knowledge further. 

What are your top three favourite World Whiskies and why?
What are your top three favourite songs? It’s an impossible question for me as my palate is always changing but there are some drams that I’ll always fall back on -1994 Tomatin Single Cask 21-year-old, Laphroaig Lore, and Highland Park 18-year-old are just brilliant, always. 

What are your favourite flavours? Which aspects of Whisky are the most important for you?
Flavour-wise, I love Islay Peat; that rich iodine, seaweed brine and oily smoke is just iconic and instantly recognisable. I also love anything that is all vanilla and cream-soda, and finally I love a nutty rancio flavour. For me the texture of the dram is definitely up there, I love the broad spectrum you can get so long as it’s not confused and muddled.

Your favourite Whisky cocktail?
Blood & Sand, unusual but a good one is a real delight. 

Whisky with water or straight cask strength?
Always straight from the cask for me, then add some water after to open it up and explore the more subtle and nuanced flavours.

What do you like most about Cask Trade?
The people. The team’s passion, knowledge and humour are infectious, and I’m enthralled by the day-to-day conversations, debates and wit that fly around the office.

Why should people invest in Whisky Casks?
Because it’s exciting, lucrative and an ever-evolving investment. There are few other alternative investments out there that you can watch mature over the years, sample and quite literally taste the fruits of your labours!

To find out more about what Cask Trade can do for you, don’t hesitate to contact the team today and let’s talk whisky!

Cheese & Whisky Pairing Night

Cheese & Whisky Pairing Night

Cheese & Whisky pairing

It was our pleasure last Friday to welcome some new customers to our tasting room at Cask Trade HQ. As lockdown is slowly easing this is something that we love to do. At the end of the day, we are all whisky enthusiasts here!

We take any opportunity we have to share our passion and consume some high-quality Single Malt Scotch of course! Whisky actually pairs very well with cheese. Therefore, a quick trip to the local delicatessen (many advantages to having Mayfair and Soho on your doorstep) saw five kinds of cheese matched with five delicious single cask bottlings.

Cheese & Whisky pairing

In no particular order, we enjoyed whisky from Ardmore paired with Gorgonzola, Glen Moray with stilton, Glenrothes with brie and Royal Brackla paired with Cornish Yarg and mature cheddar. We then finished off with a very special 23-year-old Sherry Cask bottling from the wonderful Speyside Distillery. (Thanks again Simon!).

A very memorable evening was had by all and finally a special thank you to our customers for attending and our Cask Trade hosts Simon, Jess & Phil.

Contemplating adding a Whisky Casks to your Investment Portfolio? Feel free to try before you buy. Contact the team today to arrange your very own tasting session in our Sampling Room casktrade.com/contact-us/

Women in Whisky – Lauren Mustard, William Grant & Sons

Women in Whisky – Lauren Mustard, William Grant & Sons

Lauren Mustard


As we continue on our Women in Whisky journey, this week we spoke to VIP Ambassador Lauren Mustard. With over 12 years in the industry and a background in working for the legendary Spirit of Speyside Festival, we were keen to find out what fills her dram…

Where are you from originally?

Speyside, a small place in the country called Mosstowie.

What is your current role/ title/ company you work for? 

Dufftown Distilleries & VIP Ambassador, William Grant & Sons.

How many years in the industry? How did you get started?

12 years now. I started out as a tour guide at Glenfiddich when I turned 18 and did many summer seasons whilst I was at university. I went on to work at Macallan for a few months before starting the International Brand Ambassador graduate programme with Chivas Brothers, based in London. That took me back to Speyside in 2017 and on to working for the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival. Now I’m back where it all began!

Do you have any female mentors that helped you on the way?

I would say many! Ann Miller in particular.

Have you noticed more women drinking whisky in general (maybe amongst your friends for example)?

Yes I think so. More than when I first started working in whisky!

What is your desert island dram?

Balvenie DoubleWood 17.

What is your favourite whisky under £40 per bottle?

Can I choose Glenfiddich 15? It’s a little over £40 but can be found for under £40 sometimes!

What is your favourite whisky, money no object?

That’s a tricky one… Can we say availability no object too? The Glenfiddich Snow Phoenix would be my choice

Do you gravitate towards whiskies aged in certain casks?

Hmm I thought I did but over the last few years I’ve found myself on a more level playing field when it comes to that. Some whiskies have taken me by surprise – some pleasantly and some not so! 

Looking into your crystal ball where do you see Scotch whisky in 5/10 years?

Continued experimentation and innovation with both whisky and whisky-related experiences. Looking after the advocates we already have and capturing those that are yet to venture into the world of whisky! We are all ambassadors for Scotch whisky and the community is one of the best things about it. I hope that continues to grow and develop. 

Any advice for women wanting to start out and forge a career in Scotch whisky?

Firstly, go for it. Secondly, reach out to others. I’m sure I speak on behalf of many other women in the industry when I say we’d be happy to help where we can and would be delighted to offer advice!

At Cask Trade our female Masters all certainly know their way around a whisky cask. If you want to find out more about adding whisky to your investment portfolio, get in touch and let’s talk whisky!

Water of Life, by the Water – Josh’s Whisky Wanderings

Water of Life, by the Water – Josh’s Whisky Wanderings

 

Josh exploring Scottish distilleries

I’m not sure Hemingway ever actually said ‘Write Drunk, Edit Sober’, but I must confess most of my (strictly amateur) fiction writing has been its strongest when inspired by a strong dram. I think it was inevitable that when I organised my first ‘Writing Week’ in 2017 (now an annual event) that the words would flow as the whisky flowed – and that I’d save rereading anything back until armed with a coffee the next morning.

My first trip grew out of a desire to see if I could write a book, rather than just loudly proclaiming after a few whiskies that I wanted to write a book. I wanted to find somewhere completely separate to my daily life in South-East England, but still somewhere I could speak the language, with a nice writing desk with a view of some water, and ideally a host sympathetic to me enjoying a cigar or two whilst typing away. Needless to say, there weren’t many places that offered it all!

Views from the Air B&B

Sometimes, though, the stories of our lives have a funny way of writing themselves, and so it was that I found the B&B in Aberdour, Fife, that would become my annual base, hosted by Celia who quickly became a lifelong friend. I started each day with a walk around the water, had a large breakfast, and usually lit my first cigar around 9:30 am. I’d write solidly throughout, working the same hours on my passion project that I worked on my career back in London, pausing occasionally to appreciate the crashing of the waves or to see if the weather was allowing me to see Edinburgh across the water (30 minutes by train) or restricting my vision to the end of the garden – usually both several times each day.

Johnnie Walker

I’d start pouring Whisky straight after lunch and usually wrote most in the afternoons – a dram at 2 pm, another at 6 pm, and a double after dinner, was usually my rule. My first year I bought a bottle of Glen Scotia Double Wood and used it to complete the first draft of my first novella, in 2018 a bottle of Johnnie Walker 18 helped me write a small collection of short stories, and in 2019 I wrote my second novella with a bottle of Dalmore Cigar Malt. I switched the Whisky up a bit in 2020 (writing the first four episodes of my first Sitcom) and 2021 (back to short stories) and took an array of miniatures and sample bottles filled with different drams for each day.

Perhaps reflective of my good fortune to move into the Whisky Industry in my Professional Life this last trip certainly featured the most impressive liquid.  From my case of miniatures the highlight was undoubtedly a Sherried Springbank from 1992 (my birth year!) – a very kind gift from Sir Colin Hampden-White, which I paired with a special cigar gifted to me by Simon. It seemed fitting as Springbank is his favourite distillery!

Josh's trip staples

Usually on these trips I scarcely look up from my writing desk, but with Celia selling up and retiring I knew this would be my last time in Aberdour and added on a couple of days to try to explore a little more of Scotland. On the Friday I ventured into Edinburgh and very quickly broke my ‘no new Whisky bottles until after moving house’ rule (I blame Cadenheads…) so felt it was safer to dive into Sandy Bells and start buying by the Dram again. I was blown away by a Single Cask Aberfeldy but the real star of the show was the Port Charlotte Valinch which I can still taste now and frankly haven’t shut up about since!

On the Saturday I visited my friend Colin Campbell, who took me to my first Whisky show some years ago and who ultimately is responsible for turning my interest in Whisky into a fully-fledged lifelong passion. Colin and I haven’t seen each other since he moved back to Scotland last year so there was much catching up to do, and naturally a visit to Deanston Distillery was essential! We had an incredible time in the Warehouse 4 Tasting Experience, and my favourite Whisky was actually the first one we tried – a 2013 Refill Bourbon Barrel. It was lovely to find this often overlooked Cask Type being allowed to sing and really let the character of the distillery shine through.

Deanston Distillery

Once again I broke my ‘no more bottles’ rule in the gift shop (oops), although I suppose now everybody knows my enthusiasm for the Deanston Barrels on our stocklist is coming from first-hand experience! Colin and I later made a list of all the distilleries we want to visit in Scotland (basically, a list of all the distilleries in Scotland and a few we’re going to try to save by inventing time-travel) and once I was back to Aberdour and savouring my last view of the water I thought not only of all the time I’ve enjoyed North of the Boarder, but of how many visits I no doubt still have to come.

I don’t think I can ever really say goodbye to Aberdour or to Scotland, rather I repeat myself (as I’m prone to doing) ‘That’s me away the noo…’

Enjoying a dram

To find out more about investing in Whisky Casks and to speak to the Masters themselves, contact the Team today!

Women In Whisky – Dawn Davies, The Whisky Exchange

Women In Whisky – Dawn Davies, The Whisky Exchange

Dawn Davies

With over two decades working in the drinks industry under her belt, Dawn Davies certainly knows her alcohol and the way around a whisky cask. The Head Buyer at The Whisky Exchange, Master of Wine and all-around drinks guru sits down with us to talk about a subject close to her heart…

Where are you from originally?

The UK, although I grew up in the States.

 Current role / title / company you work for?

Head Buyer for Speciality Drinks/ The Whisky Exchange

 How many years in the industry / how did you get started?

 20 years and counting. I started out in restaurants as a waitress and a sommelier, working for Zuma, Gordon Ramsay, The Square, and the Ledbury. This was before joining Selfridges as their head wine and spirits buyer. Nine years later, I joined Speciality Drinks.

 Did you have any female mentors that helped you along the way? 
Absolutely – the first person who gave me a chance with wine was Nobuko Okamura. She took me under her wing and taught me so much.  Since that time, I have been fortunate enough to know so many inspiring women who have had faith in me. From Angela Hartnett to Helena Hell and many more.

 Have you noticed more women drinking whisky in recent years?

 Yes, I see it most at Whisky Show where the demographic is slowly changing and becoming more female which is fantastic to see!

 Your desert island dram? 

 Can it be a rum 😉 Clairin Sajous!

 Your favourite whisky at under £40 per bottle?

I am loving everything coming out of Loch Lomond at the moment, just for easy drinking fruitiness. 

 Favourite money no object whisky? 

Half of the whiskies in Sukhinders collection 😉

 Best distillery trip you’ve ever been on and why? 

I was lucky enough to go on the malts advocate trip with Diageo years ago with Dave Broom. He has very much been my whisky guru and has graciously, over the years, answered all my stupid questions. Traveling with him round all the distilleries was amazing.  The highlight however had to be fresh oysters from the bay drizzled with Talisker 10 at the distillery itself.

 If there is one thing you could change in the industry what would that be? 

More diversity in top roles in the industry. We are changing but far too slowly…

 What have been the major challenges in your career and what advice would you give to any young women starting out? 
This industry can and will take over your life. I have had to work insanely hard to get to where I am today, but I have been very lucky to have fallen on my feet career-wise. Work hard and be yourself.  Don’t be afraid to be strong and speak your mind. You will have to work harder and be more aggressive than your male counterparts at times but there are plenty of amazing women and men who will have your back.

Looking into your crystal ball where do you see the Scotch whisky industry in five to 10 years’ time? 

The Scotch Whisky industry is going to face some stiff competition from all these new whiskies from all over the world. It cannot rest on its laurels, it must talk to younger consumers but not dumb down its liquid.

At Cask Trade our female Masters all certainly know their way around a whisky cask. If you want to find out more about adding whisky to your investment portfolio, get in touch and let’s talk whisky!