craigCraig MacLellan

All articles by craig

 

Oban Gin: An Update – Part 1

Oban Gin: The Last Six Months – Part 1 Earlier this year, I carried out an in-depth dissection of the debacle behind Oban Gin. People in my home town had been asking questions about it for months – if not years – due to the lack of progress with the product and the general confusion
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Tomatin Distillery – My Top Drams

As I said earlier in the week, the Tomatin Distillery Taste of Tomatin Tour culminates in a vertical tasting of six expressions, comprising: Legacy 12 year old Cask Strength 14 Year Old Port Wood Finish 18 Year Old Cù Bòcan (Tomatin’s peated whisky) Unfortunately, I was the driver for our visit. However, many distilleries are
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Visiting Tomatin Distillery

In recent years, I’ve gradually become a massive fan of Tomatin Distillery. And in this time, I feel like the distillery has grown with me; becoming a major player in the single malt market, with a new look and ambitions to push into new markets. So, finding myself in Inverness a few weekends ago, it
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Ardbeg An Oa

I’ll let you in on a secret – I think that Ardbeg is my favourite distillery on Islay. For someone who isn’t a massive fan of peaty whiskies, it offers the perfect level for smoke, alongside fresh, citrusy flavours. It’s also got one of the strongest core ranges in the Scotch whisky industry, formed of
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September’s Whisky News

Lots of new whiskies AND new distilleries in this month’s whisky news round-up, so let’s get stuck in… Industry Updates R&B Distillers’ Raasay Distillery has officially opened (BBC News). Community owned distillery, Glenwyvis, is running a second share offer in the hope of raising £750,000, with the first of its new make spirit due in
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Edinburgh Cocktail Weekend Preview

Edinburgh’s cocktail scene is positively booming right now. The city’s cocktail bars and their bartenders are regularly competing at the world’s top competitions; the city recently welcomed Tales of the Cocktails on tour; and August saw the first ever Edinburgh Cocktail Festival take place. And joining this roster of highlights is the Edinburgh Cocktail Weekend,
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Diageo Special Releases 2017 – Part 2

A week later than expected, here’s my top five drams from the Diageo Special Releases launch. Blair Athol 23 Year Old – 58.4% 5,514 bottles available £400 More famous as the spiritual home of Bells, this is the first new release of Blair Athol since 2003.Originally founded as Aldour in 1798, it was one of
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Diageo Special Releases 2017 – Part 1

The Diageo Special Releases are a bit like Christmas Day…although much better! The annual release whips up an unprecedented level of excitement within whisky circles, as Diageo groups together its limited-edition whiskies and launches then all at the same time. In fact, launching them in the autumn my just be a ploy to get them
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Glenmorangie Astar

Comebacks. They can often be fraught with danger; danger that’ll ruin happy memories of the past. For every Doctor Who, there’s Richard Ayoade’s Crystal Maze. So there’s a need to tread carefully, for fear of ruining fond memories. But how will the return to Glenmoragnie Astar fair? Back in 2008, the Glenmorangie Astar hit the
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Taisteal, Edinburgh

Have you ever been on holiday, tasted some fantastic food, and then attempted to re-create it at home? I have, with very little success (just like most of my culinary creations). Thankfully, there’s experts for this sort of thing, with the team at Taisteal bringing the best foods and flavours from across the world to
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Inchmoan 12 Year Old & Vintage 1992

Over the past three years, Loch Lomond Group have done a fantastic job at creating a solid range of whiskies with, what is seen by many, to be some of the best spirit in the country. Theirs is a number of expressions in the range and I’ve had the chance to sample two of them
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August’s Whisky News

As the summer fades into the distance, there’s still plenty of time to catch-up on all the latest whisky news. Industry Updates The market for rare whisky has surged in the first six months of 2017, according to Rare Whisky 101 (BQ Magazine). Scotch Whisky is one of the first applicants for New Zealand’s ‘authentic
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Kokoro Gin

The latest sample to drop through my letterbox is Kokoro Gin, which promises an “exceptional London dry gin with a distinctive Japanese heart”. Kokoro is the brainchild of brothers-in-law James Nicol and Barry Darnell. A financial consultant and design agency head by day, the pair were inspired by a family connection to the Afan woodland
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The Dining Room @ The Scotch Malt Whisky Society

Last summer, The Dining Room at the Scotch Malt Whisky Society on Queen Street underwent a substantial refurb, in advance of throwing its doors open to non-members. I’d dined in the bar area previously but the restaurant had always come across as slightly stuffy. But I’d been hearing good things about The Dining Room post-refurb,
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Glen Moray Mastery

Many happy returns to Glen Moray Distillery, which marked its 120th anniversary earlier this summer with the release of the new Glen Moray Mastery. Only five men have held the title of Glen Moray Master Distiller over the past twelve decades and it has fallen to the current incumbent, Graham Coull, to bring together a
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Boozy Shows @ The Edinburgh Festivals

You’ll not struggle to find a drink during the Edinburgh festivals, with pop-ups located right across the city. But why buy your own booze, when there are plenty of alcohol-themed shows running across the city this August, which come with a free drink…or five. The Thinking Drinkers: History of Alcohol With FIVE free drinks during
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Dram & Smoke @ The Biscuit Factory – Campfire Feasts

Following a sold out run last year, Dram & Smoke has returned to Edinburgh for a second year as part of the Edinburgh festivals. The one-off restaurant was one of my favourite festivals experiences in 2016, so I was buzzing to see the team return to the city. Running from 3 – 27 August, the
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Edinburgh Festival Pop-ups

The Edinburgh festivals (International, Fringe, Book, et al.) are now in full flow. There’s so many reasons to love the Edinburgh festivals, with the world descending on a place I’m lucky enough to call home and over 3,000 shows to pick from. And here’s a round-up of the best Edinburgh festival pop-ups that’ll be appearing
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July’s Whisky News

My summer break was great – thanks for asking. But there’s been a whole load of whisky news since I’ve been away. So, let’s dive right in! Industry Updates Douglas Laing & Co has announced plans to build a £10 million distillery, visitor centre and restaurant on the banks of the River Clyde (The Scotsman).
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June’s Whisky News

I’m off on my summer break, but before I go, here’s all the latest whisky news. Industry Updates The Ncn’ean distillery, which claims to be Scotland’s first fully organic distillery, has opened on the Morvern peninsular (The Drinks Business). Holyrood Distillery, which will return distilling to Edinburgh after a 90-year absence, is looking to raise
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Dark Matter Spiced Rum

Think Scotland’s national drink and you think whisky, right? Right…although gin is fast becoming one of the country’s top food and drink exports. BrewDog is one of the brewers currently leading the craft beer revolution. But could rum be Scotland’s next great export? Yes, rum. Aberdeenshire might not resemble the hot climbs of the Caribbean,
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Arran Distillery – My Top Drams

When visiting Arran Distillery, we upgraded our standard tour (£8) to include a tasting (£20), although the latter can be bought separately for £15. We were promised a tasting of four Arran malts on our tasting, but thankfully our tour guide was in a sharing mood, and we ended up tasting a lot more. So
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Visiting Arran Distillery

With so many new distilleries currently popping up across Scotland, I often think how they’ll establish a reputation for themselves against the big brands, many of which have over two centuries of history and heritage to tap into. But my recent visit to Arran Distillery proves that there’s plenty of interest in new, start-up whisky
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Shackleton Whisky

Shackleton Whisky is the latest creation from Whyte & Mackay master blender, and all round whisky celebrity, Richard Paterson. Paterson is currently celebrating 50 years in the whisky industry, but his latest creation has been almost a century in the making and is inspired by one of history’s greatest explorers – Sir Ernest Shackleton. When
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Whisky Gifts for Father’s Day

For the past few weeks, I’ve been bombarded with emails about the perfect whisky to give your dad this Father’s Day. To be honest, there’s hardly anything unique about most of these whiskies, with the basic presumption that dads like whisky, so you can give them any old bottle on Father’s Day. So instead, here’s
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Ginvent – The Best Bits

I kicked the week off with gin, so why not continue in the same vein. Today’s blog is another that has been a long time coming – a look back at the highlights of my Ginvent calendar. The Ginvent concept is deliciously simple. The guys at the Gin Foundry teamed up with the team from
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Edinburgh Juniper Festival

I love June, as June means the Edinburgh Juniper Festival. Returning to its home of Summerhall for the fourth time, the event is up there with the Whisky Fringe as one of my favourite boozy events of the year. From small origins, the festival has grown each year, with 42 gin brands exhibiting this year.
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Battle of the Blends – Round 2

Ding ding! Round two. Back in September 2015, I had the pleasure of judging the inaugural Battle of the Blends. The battle saw Whisky Magazine and Master of the Malt pit whisky aficionados Dave Broom and Neil Ridley against each other, to see who could come up with the best blends. Neil came out on
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May’s Whisky News

In Scotland, May is whisky month. And in case you were too busy drinking whisky than to read about it, here’s a round-up of all the latest whisky news. Industry Updates Glenrothes Distillery has been bought back by previous owners, Edrington, from wine and spirits merchant, Berry Bros & Rudd (Scotch Whisky). Aldi’s Highland Black
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Stewart Brewing’s Craft Beer Kitchen – Part 2

Earlier this week, I filled you in on my experience of Stewart Brewing’s Craft Beer Kitchen. However, this is very much a story to two-part. So here’s part two. The magic begins! Although we were as pleased as punch with the “beer” we had produced, it was still simply malty, warm water. The yeast were
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Stewart Brewing’s Craft Beer Kitchen – Part 1

This time last year (yes, this blog has been a LONG time coming), I was just seven weeks out from my wedding. My partner and I had been pretty laid back in our organising duties up until this point, but things were starting to get serious. And the one thing we hadn’t considered were wedding
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The Pocket Guide to Whisky & Whisky Tube Map

I love whisky. I love trains. So Blair Bowman has struck gold with the launch of his first ever book – The Pocket Guide to Whisky featuring the Whisky Tube Map. Launched to coincide with World Whisky Day, the book has been written in collaboration with Nicky Welsh, who created the Wine Tube Map. I
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World Whisky Day 2017

World Whisky Day takes place this Saturday and, to mark the occasion, I planned on sharing with you my thoughts on a whole range of world whiskies which are currently sitting on my shelves. However, due to the volume of whisky I’ve currently got open, I’m imposed a self-imposed moratorium on myself which prevents me
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Top Dalmore Whiskies

When you’re invited on fancy press trips, like my visit to Dalmore that I filled you in on earlier in the week, there’s a lot of whisky on show. But let’s be honest, you don’t need to hear me drone on about absolutely everything I tasted. So instead, here are my top picks from the
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Visiting Dalmore Distillery

Last week, I made my way northwards to visit Dalmore Distillery, as part of celebrations to mark master blender Richard Paterson’s 50 years in the whisky industry. The distillery is perched on the beautifully rugged banks of the ever-changing Cromarty Firth. Previously a hub for the oil and gas industry, many rigs are now floated
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Whisky Month 2017

Having first launched it in 2013, VisitScotland seems to have lost interest in Whisky Month, which is a shame as I think it was a great way to market the country’s fantastic whisky events to an international audience. Thankfully, most of the events have survived, so be sure to get yourself along to one of
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April’s Whisky News

With all these Bank Holidays, you must be well behind on your whisky news. Well, lucky I’ve got a round-up for you below. Industry Updates The Craigellachie 31 Year Old was named the World’s Best Single Malt at the World Whiskies Awards (Bar Magazine). The Scotch Whisky Association has announced that exports increased in the
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Tomatin Five Virtues – Wood & Fire

I’ve said it before and I’ll happily say it again – Tomatin Distillery is one of my favourite whisky producers at the moment. I first stumbled across the distillery at 2012’s Whisky Fringe and I’ve been a big fan ever since. The team at Tomatin has created some smashing whiskies over the years, which crucially,
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An Evening with the Blenders 2017

The stars of Marvel’s Avengers have recently descended on Edinburgh for the filming of the Hollywood juggernaut’s latest instalment. And at the same time, ten whisky superheroes arrived at The Scotch Whisky Experience for the attraction’s annual An Evening with the Blenders event. Now in its sixth year, the event takes place off the back
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King’s County Whiskies

Last week, I filled you in on my visit to Kings County distillery in Brooklyn. But how do their whiskies taste? Well, here’s a rundown of the whiskies I sampled at the end of my tour, and we kick things off with something intensely American – Moonshine. Moonshine Corn Whiskey Now, this a novelty. Kings
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Black Bottle presents The Eclectica Experiment – Preview

This Thursday, Black Bottle whisky will be taking over The Caves in Edinburgh, as part of The Eclectica Experiment. The event, which promises to be “unconventional”, will bring together music, spoken word, contemporary dance, short film and comedy, in a celebration of Edinburgh’s creative music and arts scene. Oh, and not forgetting cocktails – whisky
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Visiting Kings County Distillery

After visiting Brooklyn Brewery on my trip to New York, I couldn’t possibly leave the Big Apple without swinging by a distillery. There are a few in New York state but an increasing number are found within the boundaries of the city itself. The oldest of which is Kings County Distillery. Now, the term “oldest”
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Gordon & MacPhail – Latest Releases

A few weeks ago, some samples from Gordon & MacPhail’s the Wood Makes the Whisky campaign dropped through my letterbox. The aim of these releases and the wider campaign is to highlight the influence which wood has over the final character of Scotch whisky Just a quick reminder from the outset that Gordon & MacPhail
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March’s Whisky News

Another month means another month of freshly distilled whisky news. Industry Updates The Scotch Whisky Association has named Karen Betts as its new chief executive – the first woman in the organisation’s 105-year history to take on the role (BBC News). Inverclyde Council gave the green light for plans to build a new distillery in
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The Macallan 12 Year Old…s

At the start of the year (yes, I’m running very late with this one) I took part in a Tweeting Tasting – courtesy of Steve Rush at The Whisky Wire – of some of The Macallan’s core expressions. On the night, the line-up comprised three 12 year old malts from the Speyside distillery. I tasted
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Dishoom Breakfast

I told you it would happen. Back when I attended the launch of Dishoom Edinburgh, I spied a breakfast menu which was just calling out to me. So, just four weeks later, I found myself invited back and was ready to be impressed. Chai Chai Chai! We were shown to a table overlooking the beautiful
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Benromach Sassicaia 2009

Since Gordon & MacPhail breathed live back into Benromach back in the late 1990s, the distillery has gradually been building up a sterling back catalogue of single malts. Some come and go without making much of a scene; whilst others return again and again, increasingly with popularity each time. So how does the Benromach Sassicaia
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Visiting Brooklyn Brewery

At the end of March, I was lucky enough to jet off to New York for the very first time. Whilst there, I saw all the usual sights – mainly tall buildings – but being a drinks bore, I wanted to squeeze in a couple of distilleries and breweries. And when in New York, there’s
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Glenmorangie Bacalta

The Glenmorangie Private Edition range has always struck me as one of the best limited edition ranges the Scotch whisky industry has to offer. Over a number of years, the Tain-based distiller has built up a solid range of interesting and adventurous expressions. Best of all, a punter can usually pick one of these up
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Confessions of a Whisky Blogger

Warning: Today’s blog is slightly self-indulgent…but aren’t most of them. Enjoy! I’ve been writing this blog for around two and a half years now, and it’s been a great adventure thus far. After years of simply boring friends and family with my whisky knowledge and rants, I was finally able to share my passion with
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