B is for Blends! Part two of our series showcasing what we do at the Inverurie Whisky Shop. During these blogs we will be educating, introducing and highlighting different parts of the business, the people within and of course, the products we sell.
This may come as a shock to a lot of our customers, but around 97.5% of all the whiskies in our shop are a blend. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that this is the same for the vast majority of whisky shops in the world.
A is for Aberdeenshire – Our home region and the “Granary of Scotland”
Aberdeenshire is the A in our new feature blog, showcasing an A-Z of who we are and what we do at the Inverurie Whisky Shop. I like to think of the North East corner of Scotland as the “nose’ of a giant Highlander’s head that our country’s shoreline replicates. Wearing a Tam O’Shanter, with flowing tassels and ginger hair represented by the Western Isles and bearing a huge Cheshire grin that is the Firth of Forth, separated from the Tay by a bushy red moustache. It’s a novel idea but one that is hard to unsee.
To compliment the rise of full on sherry bomb releases – which we love by the way – we are starting our mini series of 6 testaments to wonderful whiskies that sometimes get overlooked due to the colour, or lack of colour in the liquid.
Whisky, like everything in life, goes through cycles. We’ve seen the rise of single malts, the cask strength and single cask come through and the exploration of terriore becoming more prominent.
We have reached the start of the a new trend. Never before has there been so much attention on the coca-cola coloured “sherry-bomb”.
Whiskies bought on colour alone. On that rich, dark tones oozing promises of a sherry flavour overload.
A little over 20 months ago I was on a road trip from Inverurie to Tomintoul with Peter Dignan, co-founder of the Lost Loch Distillery in Deeside, and creators of Scotlands first Absinthe, Murmichan.
The purpose of the trip was to help Peter collect two casks from the Tomintoul Distillery. Peter’s family stayed nearby, and Peter would often be found playing in the grounds surrounding the distillery. He has kept a close tie with the distillery ever since.
After the success of #ProjectAFG the boys at Little Brown Dog Distillery have been working hard on their second commercial (I use that term loosely) release. Only 150 350ml flasks have been produced from the micro-micro distillery, based in West Aquorthies in the shadow of Bennachie.
We are delighted to announce that Alistair Day, top man at the Isle of Raasay Distillery and creator and blender of the Tweedale Whisky range, will be joining us to take you through a wonderful journey of trials, tribulations and tastes on 13th March this year. Buy your ticket Here
It’s been a big year for the Distillery, seeing their Gin launched and doing very well (available here at £34.90) and also the pre-sales launch of their first Single Malt bottling, due out in the later stages of the year. You can find out more information on this bottling here.
When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade. So what do you do when handed a sample of Single Cask Oloroso Matured Whisky? Obviously you get home as soon as you can and create a line up against other Superb Oloroso Sherried Whiskies!
At the Inverurie Whisky Shop we are delighted to be able to work with lots of local talent, from the Whisky Distillers at Glen Garioch and Brewers of Beer Story at Insch to the Gin makers of Rothienorman, our post code holds a plethora of people at a genuinely world class level. Outside the world of Alcohol though is no different. We have had the pleasure of launching local author Duncan Harley’s historical books, Gareth Henderson of Strathisla Woodcraft’s creations and now we have the absolute delight of introducing Kimberley Smith’s KimberleyART products.
From placemats and coasters to tea towels and calendars, Kimberley is certainly making waves since her company started. Having recently signed up as a preferred supplier to the National Trust for Scotland, you may have already seen her works of art at places such as Haddo House, Crathes Castle and beyond.
At the Inverurie Whisky Shop Kimberley’s focus is, of course, Distilleries. At a networking meeting, I had the pleasure of meeting Kimberley and got chatting about her art and the potential for a collaboration. Needless to say she has lived up to the obvious potential. From an original set of four distilleries, her work this year has increased her offerings to more than double that – from our local Glen Garioch and GlenDronach distilleries to the Islay based Laphroaig and Bowmore. Speyside Distilleries Balvenie, Benromach and Dallas Dhu also feature. We are delighted to be working with Kimberley, and had the chance to catch up with her to give you the opportunity to meet the master behind the magic.
Where did you grow up and when did you first discover your artistic talent?
I grew up in a small rural village called Tarves, in the North East of Scotland. I was definitely a country girl, and I remember spending summers cycling to Haddo House and making forts out of hay bales!
I’ve been drawing for as long as I can remember, all through primary and secondary school I was determined to go to Art School. However I ended up studying architecture at University to try and use my creativity for a more conventional career path.
Buidings feature heavily in your art, is this a direct influence of your architecture studies? What drew you to Castles and, more recently, Distilleries?
It was during my time at university studying architecture that I started to paint the local castles as part of a project, showcasing the local architecture. I found the history fascinating and loved how each place had its own unique character and story. After graduating I took a job as a project engineer but continued to paint in my spare time. I started painting distilleries more recently after visiting a couple of the local ones and realising how much history is behind each whisky, and that the distilleries are all so different from each other. I love trying to portray the character and essence of each place through my work, whether it’s a distillery on the coast of Islay or hidden in a glen in Speyside.
What was your biggest influence in taking the leap into business?
KimberleyART started up as a hobby to share my work online and sell a few prints. It has grown slowly over the years since 2016, but this year after meeting so many lovely people that are making a living out of their own creative business, I thought I’d love to do that myself. I still work part time, but am really enjoying seeing my hobby growing into a fully functioning business.
What has been your biggest achievement so far and where do you see KimberleyART progressing to?
My biggest achievement from a business perspective has to be becoming an approved supplier for the National Trust for Scotland. As I have painted most of their North East Properties I had always hoped one day my products might feature in their shops. Now, each castle has its own collection in their gift shops and I feel really proud when visiting one of the properties and see my work on the shelf!
Is their anything in particular in the pipeline that your are excited about?
At the moment I have a few new products that I’m excited to launch, including a ‘Distilleries of Scotland’ range featuring paintings from all across Scotland. Two calendars for 2020, one featuring distilleries and the other will be a selection of my favourite paintings from all around Scotland.
Of course, Kimberley’s work is available at the Inverurie Whisky Shop, both online and in store, and we are looking forward to introducing the Distilleries of Scotland range in the near future. Keep an eye out for more news from KimberleyART by following her Facebook at @Kimberleyartetsy
Hidden away in The Glenlivet Estate near the highest town in the Highlands, Tomintoul, in the heart of Speyside, this relatively new distillery (built in 1964) on the banks of the River Avon (pronounced A’an) has been a big hit with shoppers to Inverurie Whisky Shop, and remains a strong performer with its Core Range of Tlath, 10 and 16 Year Old Expressions. But they are much, much more than that…
Few occasions whet the Whisky Enthusiasts appetite quite like the Spirit of Speyside Festival. With hundreds of events from midnight tastings to blending masterclasses, the May holiday weekend draws in thousands of visitors to this most famous of Whisky Regions every year.
Last week I touched on the trend currently hitting the whisky industry of purchasing by colour. Dark, almost black whisky is king at the moment and often the first posts of a new whisky are followed by “look at that colour”, “how dark is that?” and “that looks fantastic – I gotta get one”. Without looking at tasting notes, the distillery or age, the whisky ends up on wanted lists everywhere and come release date – all sold within minutes.
We had this experience recently with the latest Infrequent Flyers release. I mentioned the Glenrothes last week – as soon as pre orders went out for the collection this was the one that sold out almost immediately. The Adelphi releases previous had the same outcome, this time the Linkwood and before that Benrinnes stole the show with that dark, mysterious and alluring colour.
A selection of the latest range from A.D Rattray hit our shelves this week and I was delighted to take the opportunity to take a little look into the independent bottling company, as well as take a nose and taste of our new range of single cask whisky, as they become an ever more popular and regular feature in our stock.
Benriach has often been seen as a distillery that likes to experiment.
From peated runs to a host of wood finishes to combining the peat with the finish, this is certainly no ordinary or ‘classic’ Speyside distillery.
The latest Single Cask releases from BenRiach, bottled exclusively for the UK market, both come from the same year, 2005. Although one is officially a year older, they are both spirit distilled during the inaugural year of Billy Walker and the BenRiach Distillery Company.
Now under the stewardship of Rachel Barrie and Brown-Forman, these two very different casks have been released and we are delighted to have them in stock.
We caught up with Stewart Buchanan, the long serving Global Ambassador for BenRiach.
“These are my babies,” he told us, “The peated rum, if you look at the distillation date being early being early 2005; this was the first peated run of spirit under our (BenRiach Distillery Company) ownership and I believe the first peated production made at Benriach since 1995. Initially starting in in American Oak it would have moved to the rum barrel for roughly approximately 5 years. The PX cask was distilled later in 2005 and would be full maturation, going by memory these are also some of the first sherry casks filled at Benriach under new ownership.”
Originally built in 1821 on the outskirts of Thurso in Caithness, WolfburnDistillery is one with as rich a history as any in Scotland. Influenced in equal measure by it’s rugged coastal surroundings, it’s close links to Viking mythology and the history of the original distillery. Distillery Manager Shane Fraser and his team have built a brand and more importantly, developed a whisky as true to its roots as it is forward thinking and innovative.