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.

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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.

Where have all the ‘Fiddich’s gone?

January 31, 2009

Recent travels abroad have made me wonder why products from Wm. Grant & Sons aren’t available anymore. A couple of enquiries and talking to the sales people in the store revealed the story behind the removal of Glenfiddich, Balvenie and Grant’s from Norwegian Duty Free stores.

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Whisky sales in Norway, 2008

January 29, 2009

Whisky has never really been “in” in Norway, that honour has been reserved for the French brandy, Cognac. But slowly it’s been building a following that drinks no matter what. This has been proven the last year, and specially after the infamous “Credit Crunch” started. According to the 2008-figures, sales of whisky increased by 1.5% while Cognac was down 5.5%. The sales of malts are up 2.8% to 91,722 liters in total, giving a malt share of 6.7% (up from 6.6% in 2007).

Of the top 250-brands of spirits sold in Norway in 2008, whereof 28 are whiskies and a mere 7 are malts. These 7 malts account for 47.5% of the total sales of malts in Norway. Not surprisingly the winner is Glenfiddich 12yo, with Glen Moray 8yo and The Glenlivet 12yo trailing.

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Whisky in Riga

January 21, 2009

Just got back from a wee trip to the Latvian capitol, Riga – and thought I’d post a snippet about it. Not much of a destination for whisky-lovers as the local seem to have picked Cognac as their foreign-luxury drink of choice. For every day it seems like beer and vodka are the preferred drinks.

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Laphroaig Cask Strength to change

January 4, 2009

Finally got around to see the Laphroaig Christmas Card (this year it was a video with distillery manager John Campbell). One of the main items of news for the new year was that they will change the way the bottle the 10yo Cask Strength-expression. Until now they’ve tried to keep thestrength and flavour more or less consistent, something that is hard to say the least.

This policy has now been given the boot, and Laphroaig will start bottling the 10yo CS in two annual batches, with the batch number clearly stated on the label (like the Aberlour a’Bunadh). So flavour and strength will vary from batch to batch, something that will make the avid drinkers try to sample the all. I know I probably will.

If you haven’t seen it: Laphroaig 2008 Christmas Card (Video)

Norwegian News: January

January 3, 2009

A new year has dawned and the state run monopoly gives everybody a week’s respite before releasing the new products for sale. The official start date is Saturday 10th January. Not much to brag about in whisky terms this time, but then again January tends to be quiet time as everybody has spent all their money shopping for the Christmas hollidays. A total of seven items are marked as NEW, but one is an upgrade and one is a “down-grade”. I’ve used £1=10,4NOK as a rate of exchange for the price conversions.

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Happy New Year

December 31, 2008

Happy New Year whisk(e)ylovers. I raise a glass of Mortlach (Cadenhead’s, 8yo, d.1987, b.1995) for times gone by and for times to come.

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Campbeltown releases in 2009

December 31, 2008

J&A Mitchell (Springbank, Kilkerran/Glengyle, Longrow, Hazelburn, Campbeltown Loch etc) has released a small list of their planned official releases for the new year. Most exiting, and surely an item for touts, collectors, hoarders and generally all who don’t really drink the stuff, is a official release from the newly rebuildt Glengyle Distillery (Kilkerra Single Malt).

The releases are as follows:

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