Woodford Reserve is a brand of small batch Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey produced by the Brown-Forman Corporation. It is also one of the oldest Distillers in the Kentucky county. A distiller named Elijah Pepper began producing small amounts of whiskey in 1797 and soon afterwards built a distillery. Following Elijah’s death in 1831, his son Oscar Pepper inherited the distillery that became known as The Oscar Pepper Distillery. He hired Dr James Crow as the head distiller. Crow was a Scotsman who qualified as a physician and a chemist. He is credited with championing sour mash fermentation, a key process with regards to the consistency of bourbon.
John’s birthday falls on a Friday and to celebrate, I scheduled one of the peatiest whiskies in our collection as our Whisky of the Week. This week we try the Ardbeg Supernova 2009. It is from one of John’s favourite distilleries. Ardbeg lies lonely, in a small bay off the south coast of Islay. It was once a place of smugglers and illegal distillation. The illicit distillers took advantage of the isolated place and incomparable conditions for whisky production. It was not until 1815 that a legal distillery was established by John McDougall. Ardbeg sit near the ‘Kildalton’ distilleries, Laphroaig and Lagavulin.
One of the great joys of collecting whisky is obtaining a limited release bottle, or one that is no longer in production. That is the case with today’s whisky. John Duff, Charles Shirres and George Thomson founded the Longmorn Distillery Company in 1893. He also founded the Glenlossie distillery two decades earlier. After some time at Glenlossie Duff moved to South Africa to start a distillery in Transvaal. Duff invested large sums of money there, but the South African president Paul Kruger wasn’t supportive of his plans. At some point he decided the circumstances in South Africa were not really suitable. He left for the USA to open a distillery there. Soon Duff found that he was not quite welcome either and he failed again.
When I think back to my travels around Switzerland, I think of mountains and lakes next to quaint towns and lots of very good chocolate. Certainly not whisky. This all changed in 1999, when the distilling of grain alcohols were legalized. When we got the chance to add a Swiss whisky to our collection, we jumped at the chance. This Whisky of the Week is the Santis Malt Alpstein Edition no 7. The Locher brewery has been owned and run by the Locher family for five generations. Situated in Appenzell, close to Liechtenstein, they have produced beer and spirits for more than 100 years. After the Swiss ban on manufacturing spirits from grain was lifted Locher brewery begins to produce Appenzell Santis Malt.
Time for a blended whisky again. This week we try the new Scottish Leader Signature expression. Interestingly, South Africa, second only to Taiwan is the most popular market for Scottish Leader whisky. The brand is owned by Burn Stewart Distillers, which is part of the Distell Group Limited. The Master Distiller who came up with the recipe for this blend is Ian Miller. The story of Scottish Leader begins near the village of Doune in Perthshire, Scotland. On the banks of the River Teith, is the Deanston Distillery, home to the Scottish Leader. Here the Scottish Leader’s secret recipe was originally created by Master Blenders, the Ross Brothers in the late 19th century.