The Whisky Round Table was asked: If you could reopen a mothballed distillery, which one would it be and why?

Whisky Round Table, meeting number “Sweet Sixteen”…

Just over a year ago, Jason Johnstone-Yellin of had a great idea: bring together 12 prominent whisky bloggers and hold a monthly conversation regarding whisky; the ins, the outs… everything and anything whisky-related.

In case you’ve missed the previous year’s Whisky Round Table Discussions: click here to catch up.

Here we are at the sixteenth month/sixteenth meeting of the Knights of the Whisky Round Table and we are presented with this seeming simple yet intriguing question from Ruben of Whisky Notes:

If you could reopen a mothballed or demolished distillery, which one would it be and why?

So, who’s for whisky cocktails and who’s against them.

Click here to find out our very varied answers (and please chime in on Ruben’s post – there’s a great discussion going on there right now).

As a reminder, the valiant Knights (and links to their blogs) of this round table are:

Chris – Nonjatta
Keith – Whisky Emporium
Karen & Matt – Whisky For Everyone
Ruben – Whisky Notes
Mark – Glasgow’s Whisky (And Ale)
Neil & Joel –
Lucas & Chris – Edinburgh Whisky Blog
Jason – Guid Scotch Drink
Gal – Whisky Israel
Mike – Whisky Party
Peter – The Casks
Joshua (hey, that’s me!)– The Jewish Single Malt Whisky Society

Again, for all of the Whisky Round Table discussions, click here.

1996 Arran Premier Sherry Single Cask exclusively for the US market

Islands Region – Single cask limited bottling, 165 bottles total (and interestingly low number of bottles from a single cask…), first-fill Oloroso Sherry, Cask # 1785 – 56%ABV – $125 (or so)

Apologies for letting a week or so pass by with out a post/review.  It’s that busy time of year where I’m out on the road; sales calls, trade shows, training seminars, etc…

OK, enough with the apologies, let’s get talking about whisky.  One thing I’d like to call to your attention on today’s post is the title of today’s post.  More specifically, the last five words in the title of today’s post: “…exclusively for the US market”.  While many brands out there seem to focus on special releases for Duty Free, the French market, etc…  Arran seems to be doing a bang up job sending the US some special release stuff.  Most notably, single cask releases.  True, the US did not get any of the “Icons of Arran” such as the Peacock, The Rowan Tree or The Westie.  And no, we did not see the beautiful “Sleeping Warrior“.

However, being that more and more single cask product (E.G. Single Ex-Bourbon, 8yo Sherry Cask bottling and today’s topic, the Premier Sherry Cask) is being sent our way, my guess/hope is that we’ll also start seeing more of the other “limited” releases sent our way – at least a small portion of the bottlings.  Fingers crossed!

A wise man once told me that the Arran spirit is perhaps too light and delicate to do well in a first fill sherry casks for an extended period of time.  This whisky is 15yo and was matured for that entire length of time in a first-fill Oloroso sherry butt.  Hmmm, let’s see how the spirit held up:

Color Really dark – perhaps the darkest I’ve seen in an Arran whisky.  Dark yet translucent, deep brown fluid.  Like an Oloroso sherry.  The picture of the bottle shown above does not do the liquid justice in the color department.

On the nose  Sticky cherry sauce followed by green apples – super fresh and very prominent.

Caramel and coriander notes are found here too.

Sherry soaked angel food cake (if there were such a thing).

Very hot and alcoholic nose.

Celery leaves then something slightly acrid (highly browned fruits perhaps) but yet… fitting and very pleasant in the context.

Water balloons (sans the water) – nice little rubbery notes.

On the mouth Chocolates and chilis and loads (loads!) of stewed prunes and chocolate sauce.

Assorted dried fruits and even a little banana.

Sugared and sweet black plums.

More apples and way in the back, some saltiness and even some notes of plum pudding (and… tobacco??).

Ooey melted caramel.  Really quite scrumptious.

Finish  Lasting warmth and just the right amount of drying.  Salty yet sweet.

In sum There’s a reason Arran has been making headlines and headway within the community of whisky drinks but this is not it.

Actually, this takes Arran in another direction but it only helps to show that the Arran spirit can do well in sherry casks — it can hold its own as a heavily sherried whisky.

I’d suggest this whisky as an after dinner treat.  It’s an indulgence – grab the bottle and a glass, hide yourself away with a book, maybe a warm fire and a little plate of turkish delights and, enjoy some YOU time.

Top notch stuff.  Arran, I tip my hat to you.

Special thanks goes out to Andy H for the sample!

The Whisky Guild’s “Whisky on the Hudson” cruise is next week and I have a discount code for you!



September 8, 2011, (6:00PM VIP) 7:00pm-10:00
Pier 61, West 23rd Street New York, NY


VIP Boarding Time: 6:00pm
Boarding Time: 7:00-7:30
Sail Time: 7:30-10:00

Tickets Are non-refundable.  And can not be transferred to a future event.

What 10% off your tickets?  When you buy tickets (using the link below), make sure you use the coupon code: wgmember

Click here for full details on the whisky list and how to buy tickets.

I hope to see you there!

Want to win a VIP trip for 2 to Balblair plus a bottle of Balblair 1965?

I know.  Just the other day I said that I rarely post up press releases and here I am posting the 2nd press release in one week…  Well, I’m doing so with very good reason!

I would think that you’d want to know about an opportunity to enter a contest to win a VIP trip to the Balblair distillery in Scotland PLUS a bottle of their 1965 vintage whisky (I know I do!).

Here are the details:

1st September 2011

Balblair Single Malt whisky and WIRED Magazine collaborated to create an exclusive photography competition for Balblair fans and WIRED readers, with exceptional prizes to be won. In September and October we will be encouraging talented amateur photographers to submit their work to the WIRED team. The brief for entrants is Balblair’s motto: timed to perfection. Entries will be judged by WIRED picture Editor Steve Peck and Editorial Photographer of the Year 2010 – Edmund Clark.

First prize in the competition is a VIP trip for two to Balblair distillery and a bottle of the oldest and most exclusive Balblair vintage, the superb 1965 (worth £1,500)

Runner-up will be treated to bottles of each of the vintages from the Balblair core range, currently including 2000, 1989 and 1978

Additionally, the winning entries will be presented in the January 2012 issue of WIRED (available from 8th December).

Not-so-dry facts

  • Competition runs from 1st September to 14th October
  • Entrants are asked to submit photographs (their own work) which encapsulate thephrase timed to perfection
  • All the entries should be sent to WIRED magazine at
  • Photographs will be judged by an expert panel including an award-winning editorial photographer Edmund Clark
  • For full entry details and T&Cs please visit WIRED Insider at