Archive for February, 2009

Show off with Balvenie

February 16, 2009

Got a great number of malts in your cabinet? Want the world to see them, and not just listed up in a forum post? Balvinie gives you the opportunity to “create a virtual whisky shelf” of their website:

Thousands of expression are ready to be assembled (both OB’s and IB’s) on your personal shelf, with comments and ratings. Compare your notes with other patrons of the site, amongst them several renowned whisky experts. A list of what malts to try next can also be made.

So if you want to show off your collection, or just need a handy place to keep you notes and ratings – visit The Balvenie Warehouse 24.


Getting there…

February 15, 2009

…but dragging their feet. After the infamous, for us here in the far north, Rosengren-case, Sweden was forced to accept private import of alcoholic beverages for personal use. A short time thereafter the ESA (no, not the space agency – the EFTA/EEA Surveilance Agency) said that Norwegian rules also had to comply with this.

After dragging their feet for a while and trying their best to postpone the inevitable Norway finally said thei would “look into” changing the rules. They then spent almost a year looking into what needed to be done and just before Christmas they sent out the new rules for comments.

In short they will:

  1. make it legal to receive alcohol from abroad without applying for permission first
  2. make it legal to purchase alcohol from abroad and have it shipped to Norway
  3. allow travellers to bring as much alcohol as they want into Norway

as long as

  1. proper taxes are paid (as of 2009 it’s 6,07 NOK per percent and litre, plus VAT of course (25%))
  2. see point 1
  3. you pay if you have more than 1 litre with you. This litre is the duty free allowance, the next 4 litres can be declared and paid for with the simplified rate (260 NOK/litre) while anything above has to be paid for using the normal taxes (point 1)

Some regulations are proposed:

  1. Times for delivering the beverages are, usually, to follow the times set for the state run Vinmonopolet
  2. Delivery companies must register themselves as a “alcohol approved delivery company”, and employees must go through training for this.
  3. Delivery employees must be above 18 (for delivering beer or wine) or 20 (spirits) years of age
  4. Delivery employees must make sure the receiving party is above the apporved age (18/20) and not drunk at time of delivery

That’s the short version of what the government has used 46 pages to say. All comments must be received by the proper authorioties by March 5th, and after the proposal with be refined a bit and go before Parliament – hopefully before the summer break. Most likely the new rules will be in effect from January 1st 2010 – after that: On-line whisky retailers, here I come!

Snippets from the Air

February 6, 2009

A couple of small point that are relevant for airtravellers in and out of European and US airports.

As most know the carrying of liquids through security check points are banned in a great many countries around the world. Within EU/EEA items bought on airports are allowed to carry onto planes and also onto connecting flight (although it’s advised to have the items put into a sealed bag). Liquids bought outside of this area are not allowed to bring onto connecting flights in the EU/EEA area. So whisky bought in Bangkok will be confiscated at the connecting airport.

Recently Croatia was approved as the first “third country”, so items bought at Croatian airports are allowed to be brought onto connecting flights (enter the sealed bag again). Now a second contry has been found to have security procedures meeting EU standards: the USA. So now whiskies bought at US airports can safely be brought onto connecting flights in Europe, without fear of them being confiscated. This is great for those wanting a taste of the great range of bourbons and whiskeys not available in Europe. No change in rules the other way though, so if buying whisky on you way to the US it’s advised to do so on the final airport befor the leg over the Atlantic and to put the bottles in checked luggage before continuing on US domestic flights.

RyanAir’s latest “how to get more money out of our passangers”-scheme is to enforce the “1 piece of hand luggage per passanger” with a vengance. If trying to board a RyanAir-aircraft with more than one piece you will be charged €30 and the offending piece will be put in the ordinary baggage hold. This has already been enforced at some of RyanAir’s stations, and is expected to be implemented wholly within the next few weeks. So if you’re onyl travelling with a small item of handluggage and you can’t fit anything – buying a bottle of whisky at the airport is out of the question. Many travellers at Stansted airport has returned to the Duty Free store for a refund after being refused to carry the goods onto the plane. Passangers refusing to pay the €30 fee and putting the offending hand luggage in the hold (or abandoning it in some way) will be denied boarding.

Arran goes 20

February 4, 2009

arranmad20wvArran distillery is the latest distillery in bottling 20cl-bottles. A marvelous idea for those of us who with to sample as much as possible without having to buy a whole bottle everytime (this is quite important for us who live in town without a proper whisky bar) – I belive the tecnical term here is “ticker”.

One of the premier sources of 20cl-bottlings have been Douglas Laing with their Advanced Samples range, in addition to Diageo, Wm. Grant & Sons and a few others.

The first round of expressions, and let there be many more, is of two cask finishes: Madeira and St Emillion. They are available from Loch Fyne Whiskies at £14 a bottle (50% abv.).

Ailsa Bay officially opened

February 2, 2009

ailsa_bay_distillerywvAlthough it’s been in production for a while, since September 2007, it’s now had it’s official opening. Doing the honours was the UK’s own Prince of Whisky, Charles the Prince of Wales. After the official opening Charles filled one of the four casks that will be put aside for later bottling for the Prince’s Trust. So there will be a chance to get a hold of a bottle of malt from this distillery in some years.

Alisa Bay is owned by Wm. Grant & Sons and is located inside the comapy’s Girvan complex, where Ladyburn also was in operation between 1966 and 1975. The distillery took only 9 months to build and started production without so much as a mention. The distillery has steinless steel fermenters and four pairs of stills, based on the design of the stills at Balvenie. The whisky is, as with the company’s Kininvie Distillery in Dufftown, destined purely for blends. The aim is to produce a spirit in style with Balvenie.

This also brings the total of active Lowland distilleries up to a total of five: Glenkinchie, Auchentoshan, Bladnoch, Daftmill and now Ailsa Bay.