Ballantines Hard FiredBallantine’s Blended Scotch Whisky has announced the launch of a new expression, which is said to have had its taste profile developed through the transformative power of fire.

Ballantine’s Hard Fired (40% ABV) has been made using American oak barrels which were chosen by the Ballantine’s wood management team. The barrels were then sent to the cooperage to be charred for a second time, a process known as ‘hard firing’ where the char length and intensity is judged by sight. Master Blender Sandy Hyslop then nosed each barrel and selected those best to be filled with a Ballantine’s blend for resting.

This latest expression is said to introduce a bespoke process in the production of Scotch whisky and provide a unique experience within the Ballantine’s family, which aimed at whisky drinkers seeking authenticity and craftsmanship in new Scotch styles.

Commenting on the launch, Sandy Hyslop said: “Ballantine’s Hard Fired showcases the natural and unique results that American oak and fire produce on Scotch whisky. When charred, casks form a natural layer of caramelised wood sugars that react with whisky and a double char understandably intensifies this effect. The result is a smooth, creamy and subtly smoky Scotch whisky with tasting notes of sweet honey, soft red apples and tangy liquorice. This balanced flavour profile results in a premium whisky that sits well within the Ballantine’s family style while offering something new.”

Ballantine’s Hard Fired, will be available later this month in Poland and France before rolling out globally in March 2016, retailing for around 25% more than Ballantine’s Finest expression.

Introducing The Ardmore Port Wood Finish

Ardmore Port Wood

The Ardmore Single Malt Scotch Whisky, distributed by Maxxium UK, has launched The Ardmore Port Wood Finish.

The new expression is distilled with the same traditional methods used at the distillery since 1898, before being double-cask matured for 12 years in traditional American white oak ex-bourbon barrels and then finished in European half port pipes.

The release of The Ardmore Port Wood Finish follows the success of The Ardmore Legacy, which replaced Ardmore Traditional Cask as the distillery’s core expression. A lightly peated, sweet dram, The Ardmore Legacy offers the ideal introduction to peated single malts.

The newest member of this emerging portfolio, The Ardmore Port Wood Finish is a unique expression with a touch of sweetness. Ruby gold in colour this single malt is full of spiced fruits with a subtle smoky finish.

Peter Sandstrom, Marketing Director, Maxxium UK said: “Following the success of The Ardmore Legacy, which has established its status in the peated single malt category, the launch of The Ardmore Port Wood Finish further cements the quality and taste of the brand’s portfolio.

“The Ardmore Port Wood Finish is an excellent whisky made using the same traditional distilling methods for over 100 years. It is a unique and premium expression – with notes of sweet red apple and honey with the subtlest hint of charcoal smoke and a smooth, long, lingering finish culminating in the trademark Ardmore dryness – it is a whisky that offers a taste that sets it apart.”

The Ardmore Port Wood Finish is bottled at 46% ABV and is available from specialist whisky retailers at the RRP of £49.99.


The Ardmore Port Wood Finish – Tasting Notes

Colour: Ruby Gold

Nose: Initial nose of strawberries and summer fruits with a hint of pepper. Notes of burnt orange and cinnamon spice underlie. With water, the rich fruit aromas of red apple and cranberry intensify accompanied by sweet honey and subtle spiced wood notes

Palate: Sweet red apple and honey with the subtle hint of charcoal smoke

Finish: Initially smooth with a long lingering finish culminating in the trademark Ardmore dryness

46% ABV. Non-chill filtered.


Two malt whisky expressions blended from liquid produced in Scotland and Japan have been released, the first of its kind, named after the 19th century industrialist Thomas Blake Glover who was known as the “Scottish Samurai”.JS75276707


Commissioned and produced by the Adelphi Distillery in Scotland, the two whiskies were launched simultaneously in Aberdeen and Tokyo on Monday 26 October as part of The Glover whisky range.

The first bottling – The Glover 22 Year Old – was produced from three single casks: one refill ex-Sherry hogshead distilled at the Hanyu Distillery in Japan, which closed in 2005, one American oak ex-Sherry hogshead distilled at the Longmorn Distillery in Scotland, and one Spanish oak ex-Sherry butt from Scotland’s Glen Garioch Distillery. Just 390 bottles have been produced, which are expected to retail for up to £1,100 a bottle.

The second bottling – The Glover 14 year Old – is also blended from Scotch and Japanese malt whiskies and is limited to a run of 1,500 bottles, priced at £100 each.

Alex Bruce, managing director of Adelphi, the firm which blended The Glover, said: “We wanted the final whisky to present the unique flavours of both casks, but also to be even more than the sum of its parts. We added a drop of whisky from Glen Garioch Distillery in homage to Thomas Glover’s home in Fraserburgh to complete the flavour profile.”

Glover was born on Fraserburgh, Scotland, in 1838 and played a key role in the modernisation and industrial development of 19th century Japan.

Both expressions will be available from mid-November.

Earlier this year Bowmore released a limited edition luxury single malt matured in Japanese mizunara oak. Limited to a run of just 2,000 bottles, Bowmore Mizunara Cask Finish is the first Scotch whisky to be matured in mizunara casks, with each bottle set to retail at £650.


William Grant & Sons will mark Kininvie’s 25th anniversary by bottling whisky from the distillery’s “first drops”.

The casks were hand-selected by William Grant & Sons sixth master blender, Brian Kinsman
The company is disgorging three casks that were filled and laid down on the distillery’s first day, and the release will be known as Kininvie Special Release #1.

The casks were hand-selected by William Grant & Sons’ sixth master blender, Brian Kinsman, and the liquid from each has been individually allocated to one of three markets – the UK, Taiwan and mainland Europe.

Kininvie Special Release #1 single malt Scotch whisky is single cask, cask strength and non-chill-filtered, and will be available from November 2015.

The Kininvie distillery was opened in 1990 by Janet Sheed Roberts, who was the last remaining granddaughter of William Grant, and is significant to the company as Kininvie is the first new Speyside single malt created by the family since The Balvenie in 1892.

Craig Cranmer, the Kininvie’s distillery manager, said: “Kininvie is something of a hidden gem, we have cherished and nurtured the casks for 25 years knowing they contained incredible whisky.

“Now the time is right to share the first drops of our history, straight from the casks where they have been maturing since the distillery’s first days.”KININVIE-Graphic-825x762

Each of the three casks of the Special Release #1 is said to have a “unique” flavour profile making the liquid “singular and exceptional”.

This time last year, William Grant & Sons made Kininvie single malt – previously only sold in Taiwan – available to the rest of the world for the first time.