A Week in Whisky: Going, going, gone

THE Isle of Raasay Distillery has sold all its maiden single malt ahead of its release in November.

Raasay, which lies off the coast of Skye, has sold 4,350 bottles through the internet, with the remainder of its 7,500-bottle run bought by retailers, restaurants and bars.

The whisky is made with Scottish barley and is being finished in Bordeaux red wine casks.

Co-founder Alasdair Day said: “This is the first legal whisky from an island rooted in centuries of illicit distilling, so it really is a piece of Scotch whisky history.

“If you have missed out, we will let you know at the time of bottling where you can get your hands on a bottle via our trade partners in the UK, Germany, France, Sweden, Italy, Denmark, Switzerland, the Philippines, South Africa, Canada, South Korea, Japan and China.”

Musical chairs continues on Islay

IT’S all change again on Islay, with Pierrick Guillaume switching from being manager of Caol Ila to take up the same position at Lagavulin.

Diageo, which owns both distilleries, said his promotion marks the latest step in his eight-year career with Scotland’s largest distiller, which has also included spells at Mortlach and Talisker.

His role at Caol Ila will be filled by Samuel Hale, who is currently manager of Diageo’s Port Ellen maltings on Islay.

Sean Priestley, Diageo senior manager on Islay, said: “We’re lucky to have such a strong team of whisky makers on Islay and I’m delighted that, after doing a great job at Caol Ila, Pierrick is now moving to Lagavulin.”

News of the moves come just weeks after Colin Gordon joined Ardbeg from Diageo.

Hammer time

Investors’ thirst for The Macallan shows no signs of abating, with the brand helping Sotheby’s to bring in £1.2 million at its biggest online spirits sale.

Following on from last week’s preview, more Than 90 Macallan lots sold for a combined total of £876,976.

The highest price paid at the sale was for a bottle of The Macallan Fine & Rare 56 Year Old 1945, which sold for £46,360.

Jonny Fowle, Sotheby’s spirits specialist, said: “47% of buyers were new to Sotheby’s and 40% of bidders were under 40 years old.

“The staggering values we achieved on the Macallan Fine & Rare collection are testament to the current strength of the spirits market.”

Releases and rebrands

Whiskies galore – note to self: don’t over-use that pun – have been released this week.

Jura has unveiled the “winter edition” in its cask editions series, which was aged in American white oak ex-bourbon barrels and then finished in aged Spanish sherry casks.

Tamdhu has launched “Batch Strength No. 005”, aged in casks seasoned with oloroso sherry, which has meant I’ve had a Lou Bega tune in my head all week.

Back to Ardbeg again, which has released the second batch of its 19-year-old Traigh Bhan, named after one of the island’s beaches.

In other news, Hunter Laing & Co has unveiled a very colourful rebranding for its Hepburn’s Choice range.

And finally…

Fancy staying in a whisky hotel?

You may soon be able to do just that in Hollywood after restaurateur Adolfo Suaya secured £26 million to fund the construction of a seven-storey whisky-themed hotel, complete with its own whisky fountain.

The imaginately-titled “Whisky Hotel” will have 134 bedrooms, each boasting a mini bar full of whiskies from around the world.

News of the project first broke two years ago, with the site having now been cleared for construction work to begin.

Hats off to those fine news hounds at The Drinks Business for spotting the story on Urbanize Los Angeles.