Is that “award winning whisky” really an award winning whisky?

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Imagine you are on a road trip and a sign reading “Bottle Shop” catches your eye. You slow down the car, to the sound of your partner’s sigh. ‘Lets go have a look’, you say. After some excellent negotiation on your part, you both venture into the shop to look at all the goodies. There, you find all sorts of “award winning” whiskies that sell out like hot cakes in more wealthy inner city localities. You cannot believe your eyes! Two whiskies catch your eyes: a single cask single malt and a rye whiskey. The single cask single malt which you see won the title of the world’s best single malt, while the rye whiskey that sits before your eyes was named the best whisk(e)y in the world by the world’s most famous whisk(e)y critic. Since the awards, the prices of these whiskies have skyrocketed and they are nowhere to be found. Until now.  There they sit, with the words “world’s best single malt” and “world’s best whiskey” on the bottles. It is enough to get any whisky aficionado excited.

Your reaction is to buy! After all, they are the best whiskies in the world.

Or are they?   Continue reading

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Springbank 15 year old

Springbank 15 year old

Springbank 15 year old is single malt Scotch whisky that is aged in ex-sherry casks for at least 15 years, before being bottled at 46% alcohol by volume.

David Allan of the Springbank distillery says that Springbank 15 year old is matured in ‘ex oloroso sherry casks …which come from Miguel Martin in Jerez, Spain’. Despite the casks being from Spain, Allan clarifies that ‘a lot of wood used for sherry casks is actually American oak’. Continue reading

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Pairing Whisky and Cigars

Whisky and cigars

Smoking a cigar on its own is something I rarely do. It is like drinking a glass of wine on its own without the right food – half the experience is missing. Try a good Australian dessert wine with the right blue vein cheese or the right red wine with a steak or a spicy pasta arrabbiata, and you will know what I am talking about. Its, as Nonno always says, “number one”.

Whisky, or whiskey, also adds a dimension to cigar smoking that I thoroughly enjoy. Having reviewed a number of cigars there are dozens upon dozens of cigars for every major flavour profile in the world of whisk(e)y – bourbon, rye, unpeated, peated, ex-sherry, ex-bourbon, wine finished, I can go on and on.

Despite the large number of cigars on the market, choosing the right cigar for your whisk(e)y is not that difficult if you follow these three commandments.  Continue reading

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The St Agnes XO brandy trio – 15, 20 and 40 year olds

St Agnes brandy.jpg

Since a single cask expression of Sullivan’s Cove French Oak won the world’s best single malt in the 2014 World Whiskies Awards, Australian whisky has taken the world by storm and demand for many Australian malts now outstrips supply. This success has largely been buoyed by heightened global interest in whisky which is nothing short of a renaissance. Another spirit, which is viewed by many as a “malternative” to whisky but has not yet had a renaissance of its own, is brandy.

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Malt Mileage Whisky 101

whisky bottles sculpture.jpg

Here at Malt Mileage, we are keeping it real and enjoy untangling the web of claims which industry, marketers and others love to spin. This has culminated in a number of posts which aim to inform consumers about whisky, so that the grand claims that are made by many in the industry (and the marketers who work for industry) can be questioned. This page brings these posts together, and serves as a useful “Whisky 101”.

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Does whisky mature faster in warmer climates?

JD barrels

1. The claim

While at a distillery tour at a whisky distillery in Melbourne both my fiancé and I heard the brand ambassador say that, owing to Melbourne’s climate which is warmer than Scotland’s, whisky matures more rapidly in Melbourne. He then gave an example (which we both heard), and said that a whisky that has aged for 4 years in Melbourne is similar to a whisky that has aged for 18 years in Scotland. I took issue with this in a subsequent blog post. I argued that whisky does not mature more rapidly in warmer climates such as Melbourne, rather I argued that whisky matures uniquely in warmer climates as compared to colder climates such as Scotland. As part of my post about the tour, I explained why I disagreed with the ambassador’s claim.

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New World Whisky (Starward) Distillery Tour

The New World Whisky Distillery in Essendon Fields (Melbourne, Victoria, Australia), which produces the much loved (but sometimes inconsistent) Starward single malt whisky, offers tours at AU$10 per person.

We – being myself and my fiance – decided to attend a tour commencing at 3.00pm on a cold Saturday on 2 July 2016. Continue reading

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