Best of 2022: A Year In Whisky News
The GlenDronach releases first ever 50 year old single malt
The GlenDronach brought in the new year with the release of the oldest and rarest whisky from their historic Highland distillery to date. The rare whisky is a testament to the dedication and mastery of GlenDronach. Laid down in 1971, the expression spent five long decades in Pedro Ximénez and Oloroso sherry casks, from the Spanish bodegas of Jerez in Andalucía. Just 198 bottles were up for sale and we still have one available to buy today - priced at £300,000.
The Glenturret becomes the world’s first distillery be awarded a Michelin Star
The Glenturret Lalique Restaurant, in the heart of The Glenturret distillery, was awarded one Michelin star with the release of The Michelin Guide 2022 in February. A prestigious achievement for Scotland's oldest distillery, especially as this star comes within just seven months of the restaurant opening its doors in July 2021. Scottish Head Chef Mark Donald also held a star during his time at Number One at The Balmoral in Edinburgh before joining The Glenturret Restaurant - the very first in-distillery fine dining concept.
Chivas announces partnership with K-Pop Artist LISA
In March, Scottish blended whisky Chivas Regal partnered with K-Pop star LISA, of BLACKPINK fame, as their ambassador for Asia: the first female face of Chivas. An advert was released to make the announcement with the tagline 'I Rise, We Rise', which featured LISA sipping on a Chivas highball. Later on in the year, they commemorated their new relationship by releasing a limited edition 18-year-old expression.
Tamdhu unveils an 18-Year-Old to mark their 125th anniversary.
As a distillery founded in 1897, 2022 was a year for celebration at Tamdhu as they marked their 125th anniversary. To commemorate the occasion, an 18-Year-Old expression became a permanent addition to Tamdhu's 100% sherry cask matured collection in April. Sandy McIntyre, Tamdhu Distillery Manager, said: “Tamdhu has rightfully earned a reputation for producing the very best sherry matured whiskies, so crafting, bottling, and launching our 18-Year-Old will go down as a true career highlight."
English Whisky Guild founded
English whisky is having a moment, soaring with unprecendented growth. In May, 15 English whisky distilleries came together to form the English Whisky Guild, with an overarching vision for their whisky to be recognised globally as a respected choice for whisky drinkers. We currently stock an abundance of English whisky, and indeed The Lakes Distillery's Single Malt Whiskymaker's Editions: Forbidden Fruit was our biggest selling whisky of 2022.
Whisky legends Ian and Michael Urquhart awarded CBE's in Queen's Platinum Jubilee honours list
As a part of the late Her Majesty The Queen's Platinum Jubilees honours list, released to celebrate her birthday, Ian and Michael Urquhart were both awarded well-deserved CBE's. The brothers, both previously managing directors of renowned bottling company, Gordon & MacPhail, were given the honours for their service to the Scottish whisky industry and for their charity work in their hometown of Moray.
Ardbeg 1975 single malt breaks records to become most expensive cask ever sold
In a private sale completed in July, Islay whisky distillery Ardbeg sold a single whisky cask (known as Cask No.3) for £16 million - breaking the world record. The liquid contains an Ardbeg laid down in 1975: the 46 year old cask contains 440 bottles of their famous smoky Scotch. Also in July, the most expensive whisky of the year was sold at auction: The Intrepid Macallan went under the hammer for £1,105,000. It is a record holder for another reason, as the 2021 Guinness World Record holder for the largest bottle of whisky ever when it was bottled.
Arbikie distillery announces it will be powered by green hydrogen
Montrose-based distillery Arbikie will be the first distillery to be powered by green hydrogen, after securing planning permission for a 1 MW wind turbine on its Lunan Bay farm in August. Green hydrogen will be created by an electrolyser, then the stored hydrogen will be used by a burner and a boiler to create steam - then used to generate the heat needed for the distillation process. This is another tick in their mission to become the most sustainable distilleries around - they currently grow all of their own ingredients on the farm.
The Glenlivet's space exploring barley seeds come back to Earth.
In May 2021, The Glenlivet collaborated with the School of Environmental Sciences at the University of Guelph in Canada and Aegis Aerospace Inc., to send barley seeds to the International Space Station. The aim was to see what effect the extreme conditions of space would have upon the barley seeds, such as zero gravity and a vacuum environment. This September, the distillery welcomed its barley back to Earth by erecting a punny sign reading 'Welcome to Space-Side'. It's yet to be seen whether these seeds will be utilised in a extra-terrestrial single malt.
The Macallan The Reach sells for £300,000 at Sothebys
The Macallan's oldest expression to date sold for a huge £300,000 at Sotheby's auction house in New York. The 81-year-old whisky was distilled in 1941, and displayed within a breath-taking sculpture of two hands holding up the bottle: a representation of the many different hands who have worked on the special whisky. Only 288 bottles were decanted, and bottle number 3 was sold for this massive amount at auction this October.
Jack Daniel's lawsuit reaches the Supreme Court
In November, Jack Daniel's lawsuit reached the highest court in the land: the US Supreme Court. The court announced it would hear arguments in Jack Daniel’s Properties Inc. v. VIP Products LLC, a potentially landmark case dealing with copyright infringement in the alcoholic drinks industry. It involves a dog toy brand called Silly Squeakers, which sells items that are allegedly imitations of famous bottles of alcohol. Specifically, they site the tarnishing of their design of the iconic Old No.7 - named by Silly Squeakers as 'Bad Spaniel’s Old No. 2 on your Tennessee Carpet'.
Karuizawa whisky to be revived at new Japanese distillery
Karuizawa is a demolished distillery which was located high up amongst misty mountains, on the slopes of an active volcano with an astonishingly pure water source and a climate perfect for high-alcohol content maturation. The sought-after whisky has been notoriously scarce since the distillery was closed in 2001 - and continues to fetch massive amounts at auction. However, Japanese spirits specialist dekantā and the new Karuizawa Whisky Co. signed on to a 10-year partnership to revive the almost mythical whisky brand in December, with permission granted to use the Karuizawa name.