Sunday, 11 January 2015

This week in whisk(e)y #16

As you might know if you read this blog regularly, we get a fair few interesting press releases and news articles here at TimeforWhisky, and usually try to feature them with our own spin, experiences or comments. Sometimes though, they come thick and fast, and we just don't have time to do them all justice.

So we've decided to take a leaf out of some other excellent whisky blogs, and feature a "PR roundup" every now and then - basically a wrap-up of relevant press releases we've received in the previous week or so (including other interesting whisk(e)y news Steph & I think you might enjoy). So on with it then...


Teeling Whiskey, set to expand in Australia in a big way, sees first new copper pot stills arrive in Dublin in over 125 years
We first brought word of Teeling Whiskey Company's Small Batch Irish Whiskey in December 2013, and over 12 months later we note that it's still punching well above its $49.90AUD price point Australia.

Good news then, that in just a month or two we hear that Dan's will soon stock 5 more of the Teeling lineup, including: Single Grain, 21YO, 26YO, 30YO, and Poitin. Whilst we haven't yet tried any of those releases, we've heard very good things about the Single Grain and 21yo (the latter which seemed to be very popular during our recent trip to Japan).

It seems the popularity isn't limited to Australia, with demand being such that the company are building a new distillery right in Dublin, with three new copper pot stills (crafted in Italy) - a 15,000 litre wash still, 10,000 litre intermediate still and 9,000 litre spirit still

"The Teeling Whiskey distillery is the first new distillery in Dublin in over 125 years and will have the capacity to produce 500,000 litres of whiskey on an annual basis. The Teeling Whiskey brand is already on sale in Ireland and is currently in over 30 export markets.  The construction of the new distillery will guarantee future supply for the Teeling Whiskey brands and allow the creation of a range of innovative and authentic Irish whiskeys based on the traditional and unique Dublin style of distillation 
Jack Teeling, founder and managing director of the Teeling Whiskey Company commented “Today is a major milestone in the development of the new Teeling Distillery, with the final pieces of the jigsaw, the copper pot stills, finally positioned in their new home in Newmarket. We are extremely proud to be returning to our ancestral distilling roots and bringing whiskey distillation back to Dublin. We look forward to the first spirit flowing from our new stills and opening our doors to the public to come see a real Dublin distillery in operation in 2015. ”
The new Teeling Whiskey distillery received planning permission in January 2014 and started work on site in August with over 100 people employed during the construction of the distillery with 30 permanent jobs planned for following its completion. Commission of the new distillery will happen early in the New Year and with the distillery opening its door to visitors soon afterwards.
For more on Teeling Whiskey Company and its award winning Irish whiskeys, visit www.teelingwhiskey.com"
We hope to bring you tasting notes of the full range in due course. No word yet on a possible Hong Kong release, but we'll be sure to let HK readers know.


Johnnie Walker Blue Label launches “The Year of the Ram Limited Edition”
Hot on the heels of the 2015 Johnnie Walker Blue Label launch, which Steph and I attended recently, comes a special release for 2015 - "Year of the Ram", just in time for Chinese New Year.
"Inspired by the famous Chinese brush-painting “Three Rams”, created during the Emperor Qianlong era, employing techniques of traditional Chinese ink painting with a light-as-air white brushstroke, the bottle’s design seamlessly merges visual art with calligraphy. The royal blue-tinted bottle symbolizes the Chinese tradition of celadon porcelain and on each of the four sides conveys the written characters for Ram. When four bottles are placed side by side, they unfold into a representation of the magnificent Chinese scroll painting “Three Rams”, to depict a New Year of great fortune. This tasteful limited edition is of particular value to collectors, especially during the all-important gifting season this Chinese New Year. 
The Ram’s character being naturally fearless of heights, unswerving in its determination and ability to conquer new heights, echoes the characteristics of JOHNNIE WALKER BLUE LABEL – the pinnacle of Blended Scotch Whisky from the House of Johnnie Walker. Created by the Master Blender with his decades of experience in selecting only the rarest casks from Johnnie Walker to create this powerful, complex, smooth character of Blue Label, only 1 from every 10,000 casks are selected to create Johnnie Walker Blue Label. 
Drew Mills, Marketing Director of Diageo Brands noted, “JOHNNIE WALKER BLUE LABEL Year of the Ram Special Release truly marries the best of Chinese ceramic art with the very finest blend of Scottish whisky. This classic combination introduces unrivaled creative elements to the global whisky market, and I’m confident it will quickly become the premier choice for discerning collectors." 
JOHNNIE WALKER BLUE LABEL The Year of the Ram Special Release (750ml) is now officially for sale at all major wine and spirit retailers. To personalise the Limited Edition for gifting, customers purchasing the Limited Edition at SOGO on 17th, 24th and 31st January 2015 will enjoy free engraving service."


Malt Masters HK: A Celebration of Single Malt Whisky
Steph and I arrived a little late in the year to hear about most of the Hong Kong whisky festivals last year, but we'll make sure that doesn't happen this year. First up, "Malt Masters Hong Kong", held at the ever-changing and always enjoyable PMQ.

"Malt Masters Hong Kong returns with Hong Kong’s Premium Whisky Festival.  The 2015 Festival will take place on Saturday 7th March at The Qube, PMQ, 25 Aberdeen Street, Central.  After the success of last year’s inaugural event, the 2015 Festival includes some new features.  In addition to accessing some of Scotland’s leading single malt distilleries, guests will experience the addition of ‘Dream Drams’ as well as gaining access to a variety of companies offering expertise throughout the world of whisky such as whisky investment and accessories, and the opportunity to buy whisky directly from the companies. 
A casual and relaxed general tasting session around many of the best loved whiskies will be supported by brand ambassadors from the various distilleries as well as other leading figures from the whisky industry. Meanwhile, individual masterclasses will allow participants to explore particular whisky distilleries and themes in more depth within a focused but intimate setting. 
There are two main sessions, each lasting three and a half hours: from 1.30pm to 5pm and from 6pm to 9.30pm. The main tasting event has the following benefits: 
  • Single Malt Whisky stalls featuring a variety of expressions
  • Access to brand ambassadors
  • Access to other whisky industry experts
  • Showcase of whisky accessories, available for purchase
  • Glencairn whisky tasting glass on arrival (included in ticket price)
  • Opportunity for onsite purchases
Over 20 companies and distilleries will be in attendance with each stall offering a selection of different expressions for tasting.  Masterclasses will run throughout the day, with the full masterclass schedule advertised online by early February.  Tickets must be bought in advance and spaces are limited so early booking is advised. 
Dream Drams - This year we are introducing Dream Drams.  All visitors to the 2015 event will receive a Dream Dram token to redeem against a range of truly outstanding whiskies from the exhibitors. These whiskies are extremely hard to find and are consequently very expensive.  Further Dream Dram tokens will be available to buy online before the event, offering visitors the opportunity of tasting a large variety of incredibly unique and expensive single malts.  
Tickets are priced at HKD 800 and are sold via www.maltmastershk.com. There will be a charity raffle offering a variety of excellent whiskies and whisky accessories in aid of 2 Hong Kong based charities."

Steph and I will be there, and you can bet we'll be checking out the "dream drams"!


Cheers, 
- Martin.

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