craigCraig MacLellan

All articles by craig

 

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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February’s Whisky News

After a sluggish start to the year, February was choc-a-block with whisky news. And you can find a round-up of all the highlights below. Industry Updates Single malt exports have topped £1bn for the first time (BBC News), with whisky helping exports to Japan to hit the £100m mark for the first time (The Scotsman).
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Oban Gin – The Full Story

These blogs originally appeared over the course of a week between Monday 20 and Friday 24 February 2017. However, for those who want to read the story of Oban Gin all in one go, I’ve brought the whole thing together in a Guardian-style long read. Just an initial warming – the whole article runs close
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The Story of Oban Gin – Part 5: My thoughts and where things go now

Part 4 of the blog, where I speak about my meeting with Mr Robertson, brings us right up to the current day.  Everything up until this point has been the factual story of Oban Gin, which anyone could have brought together in one place with a bit of hard work and some digging around. But
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The Story of Oban Gin – Part 4: Meeting Mr Robertson

Yesterday’s blog pretty much brings us up to the present day, and as I’m sure you’ll agree, there are still a number of questions around the whole Oban Gin project. And in a bid to get to some answers, I thought the best option was to give Mr Robertson the right to respond. The Questions
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The Story of Oban Gin – Part 3: The Past Six Months

So, now we’ve a good idea who is behind the Oban Gin project. And towards the end of the summer and into the autumn, things seemed to step up a gear. Adopt A Barrel I’ll start here by saying that the information I’m able to provide in this section isn’t as detailed as the other blogs
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The Story of Oban Gin – Part 2: Who’s Behind It?

Yesterday, we kicked off the story of Oban Gin with a look at the project and how it started. But whose behind all this? Let me introduce you to Dave Robertson. Who? From what I’ve been told by a few friends at home, Mr Robertson appears to be a native of Oban. His most recent
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The Story of Oban Gin – Part 1: The Origins

Over the festive period, I headed home to Oban for a well-earned rest and Hogmanay celebrations. When meeting-up with friends and family, one question was on everyone’s lips – what do you know about Oban Gin? Well, where to begin? Although I’ve been aware of the concept of Oban Gin for over two and a
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Tamdhu Batch Strength 002

Tamdhu is one of the distilleries to have benefited from the current demand for Scotch whisky – in fact, it actually saved it. Built at the end of the nineteenth century, Tamdhu was envisaged as being the most advanced distillery ever devised. Unfortunately, the distillery’s whisky never gained the unenviable reputation its founders sought, with
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Dishoom Edinburgh

Dishoom has been creating plenty of buzz since it arrived on St Andrew Square last November. The brand – which calls a beautiful 1920s-era Grade-A listed building its home – made Edinburgh its first stop outside of London and its been well worth the trip up the East Coast mainline. On its official opening night,
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Paul John Whisky – Brilliance & Bold

John Distillery – the brains behind Paul John whisky – has been running since 1992 and is currently the third largest whisky brand in India. However, much of this output is comprised of molasses style Indian whisky; very little of which is either seen or consumed outside its home country. However, recognising the growth in
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Indian Whisky: An Introduction

India. Loves. Whisky. Simple as that.  The country’s biggest brand, Officer’s Choice, sold an astounding 400 million bottles in 2015. This must be great for Scotland and the Scotch whisky industry? Well, not quite, as the world of Indian whisky is a bit of a labyrinth. The Technicalities In India, the guidelines for what constitutes
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Gordon & MacPhail Speyside Collection – Part 2

Last week, Steven Kersley and I looked at the three “youngest” bottles from the new Gordon & MacPhail Speyside Collection. So, without further delay, here’s our thoughts on the three other bottles which make up the exclusive range. Gordon & MacPhail Strathisla 1953 Queen Elizabeth II is crowned at her Coronation on 2 June; Watson
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January’s Whisky News

New year, new news – here’s your round up of all the latest whisky news from across the industry. Industry Updates Weakness in Sterling following June’s Brexit vote has helped to push Scotch whisky exports back into growth after three successive years of decline (The Herald). And the Scotch Whisky Association has announced that Scotch
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Gordon & MacPhail Speyside Collection – Part 1

At the tail end of last year, leading independent whisky bottler Gordon & MacPhail launched its new Speyside Collection. Comprising six bottlings, the range brings together 329 years of whisky knowledge and history, with expressions from as far back as 1948. Whiskies such as this deserve time and respect, so I managed to keep a
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Alternative Burns Night in Edinburgh

Burns Night is a great time to sit down with friends and family, and enjoy Scotland’s national food and drink. Thankfully, listening to Burns’ poetry isn’t mandatory and can you always nip to the toilet whilst someone is droning on in some oft forgotten language. But what if you fancy doing something a wee bit
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Uncle Duke’s

So, Uncle Duke’s is a whisky that I’ve been excited about for a long time. Not because it’s the first release from BrewDog spirits division, but because it’s the creation of one of my best friends, Steven Kersley. Although the barrels for this were laid down well before Steven took up his role as Brewdog
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