Scotch Watch

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Jan, 1999
Volume Six
Number Two

Fall Tastings Kick Off Great New Season

The fall tastings have produced a great start to the year. We began in September with a tour of the Islands including Tobermory, Highland Park, Talisker, Isle of Jura and Lagavulin. It reminded us all of why the islands are so wonderful and it was difficult to pick a favorite from this group. Highland Park, Talisker and Lagavulin all had strong support and surprisingly the Isle of Jura was among the favorites as well.

In October a wonderful time was provided by Brett who organized his favorites as a tour of Scotland's Regions. We began with Auchentoshan 15 YO, then moved to Dalmore 21 YO, Caol ILA 15 YO, Glenmorangie 12 YO and finished with a Glenrothes 17 YO. Surprisingly, the Caol ILA was the clear winner among those tasting followed by Auchentoshan, Glenrothes, Glenmorangie and Dalmore.

November featured our first blind tasting in memory. Pat and Brett provided a comparison of single malts to vatted malts and it proved to be a humbling experience for those of us who consider ourselves to have educated palates.

Congratulations to Chuck Cooper for figuring out that tasting one was a vatted malt (and to Sheri Dunbar for figuring out it was Century Malt) and that number two was a single malt (Glenlivet). Congratulations to Bill Wakefield for identifying the 4th malt as Glenmorangie 10 YO - even though most of us thought number 3 was a single. it turned out to be a new vatted malt called Glen Salem.

The highlight in my mind was the Glen Grant 23 YO - at 111 proof the addition of water opened up a beautiful Speyside taste.

December saw the first vertical tasting of the year featuring a wonderful selection of Linkwood bottlings. We began with 11 and 12 YO Signatory bottlings followed by a 15 YO Gordon and Macphail, an 18 YO Cadenhead and finished with a 21 YO Gordon and Macphail. The 21 YO was the favorite by both the 18 and 15 YO bottlings had strong support as well.

Our January tasting featured distilleries along the river Spey. We began with Glen Keith which, while not having an age statement, was very well received. Strathisla's 12 YO was next, appropriately since it is across the road from Glen Keith in Keith, Banffshire. Next was our old favorite Macallan 12 YO which surprisingly did not receive any votes for the first time that any of us can recall. We finished with a surprisingly good Tomintoul 12 YO and the Glenlivet 18 YO which finished as the top choice.

The new year really is kicked off with our Mega Tasting on January 17th that features the finest offerings ever including:

1/4 peg 1946 Macallan 52
everything else is 1/2peg
30 Balvenie
31 Convalmore
29 Dalmore
28 Duffton
22 Mortlach
25 Bowmore
Ardbeg provenance Very Old

Our Spring Newsletter will highlight the results of this outstanding event. An additional treat will be the attendance of Jule Vieau, a fellow traveler of the ScotchWatch Society from Austin, Texas and Single Malt Aficionado Bev Blackwood from Houston who has his own televison show devoted to Malts. Those interested can check out Bev's Web Page devoted to Single Malts at: February is our salute to the crown jewels including Royal Lochnagar, Royal Brackla, Laphroig and a few TBA's. March will include the Ides of March (in other words 15 YO's) including Glendronach, Glenturret, Glenfiddich, Aberlour and Craigellachie. April will be our annual ALadies Tasting@ and we will have to wait and see what Shari and Sheila have in mind for all of us. May is our salute to Phenols including vertical tastings of both Ardbeg and Laphroig. We wrap up the year with Pat's Choice based on his best additions since the beginning of the year.

For those who want more information on the tastings and highlights you can check out the Dundee Web Page at:

Worth a visit any time.

Recently Ian Baker posted a listing of the status of distilleries. While always in flux it was a very helpful understanding of which are still open, which are mothballed and which may be gone forever. Here is his list with some comments from Ulf Buxrud of Sweden who is our international watchdog on such things:

NameStatusSMWS Number
aberfeldy operating 60
aberlour operating 54
allt-a-bhainne operating 108
ardbeg mothballed 33
ardmore operating 66
auchentoshan operating 5
auchroisk operating 95
aultmore operating 73
balblair operating 70
balmenach mothballed (1993) 48
balvenie operating 40
banff closed (1983) 67
ben nevis operating 78
benriach operating 12
benrinnes operating 36
benromach operating 47
bladnoch mothballed (1993) 50
blair athol operating 68
bowmore operating 3
braeval operating 113
brora closed (1983) 61
bruichladdich mothballed (1995) 23
bunnahabhain operating 10
caol ila operating 53
caperdonich operating 38
cardhu operating 106
clynelish operating 26
coleburn closed (1985) 56
convalmore closed (1985) 83
cragganmore operating 37
NameStatusSMWS Number
craigellachie operating 44
dailuaine operating 41
dallas dhu closed (1983) 45
dalmore operating 13
dalwhinnie operating 102
deanston operating 79
dufftown operating 91
dumbarton (inverleven) closed (1991) 20
dumbarton (lomond) closed (1985)  
edradour operating 32
fettercairn operating 94
girvan (ladyburn) closed (1975)  
glen albyn closed (1983) 69
glen elgin operating 85
glen garioch operating 19
glen grant operating 9
glen keith operating 81
glen mhor closed (1983) 57
glen moray operating 35
glen ord operating 77
glen scotia mothballed (1994) 93
glen spey operating 80
glenallachie operating 107
glenburgie (glencraig) closed (1981) 104
glenburgie operating 71
glencadam operating 82
glendronach mothballed (1995) 96
glendullan operating 84
glenesk closed (1983) 86
glenfarclas operating 1
NameStatusSMWS Number
glenfiddich operating 15
glenglassaugh mothballed (1986) 21
glengoyne operating  
glenkinchie operating 22
glenlivet operating 2
glenlochy closed (1983) 62
glenlossie operating 46
glenmorangie operating  
glenrothes operating 30
glentauchers operating 63
glenturret operating 16
glenugie closed (1983) 99
glenury royal closed (1985) 75
highland park operating 4
imperial operating 65
inchgower operating 18
jura operating 31
kininvie operating  
knockando operating 101
knockdhu operating  
lagavulin operating 111
laphroaig operating 29
linkwood operating 39
littlemill closed (1994) 97
loch lomond (inchmurrin) operating 112
loch lomond (old rhosdhu) operating  
lochside closed (1992) 92
longmorn operating 7
macallan operating 24
macduff operating 6
NameStatusSMWS Number
mannochmore operating 64
millburn closed (1985) 87
miltonduff (mosstowie) closed (1981) 109
miltonduff operating 72
moffat (glen flagler) closed (1985)  
moffat (killyloch) closed (1985)  
mortlach operating 76
north port closed (1983) 74
oban operating 110
pittyvaich closed (1993) 90
port ellen closed (1983) 43
pulteney operating 52
rosebank mothballed (1993) 25
royal brackla operating 55
royal lochnagar operating 103
scapa mothballed (1994) 17
speyburn operating 88
speyside operating  
springbank operating 27
st magdalene closed (1983) 49
strathclyde (kinclaith) closed (1976)  
strathisla operating 58
strathmill operating 100
talisker operating 14
tamdhu operating 8
tamnavulin mothballed (1995) 34
teaninich operating 59
tobermory operating 42
tomatin operating 11
tomintoul operating 89
tormore operating 105
tullibardine mothballed (1995) 28

In comments to this list, Ulf noted the following:

The list did not include the Isle of Arran (recently opened), Ben Wyvis which was closed in 1975, Strathmore that was closed in 1960 but still makes grain. He also noted that a secondary production of what was called Malt Mill should also have been mentioned that closed down in 1960 and which was located on the Lagavulin premises.

Ardbeg is back in production and owned by Glenmorangie

Glen Garioch and Glendronach are back in production (we think)

Dumbarton/Inverleven as well as Dumbarton/Lomond were separate productions and should correctly be listed separately. The same is true for Glenburgie/Glenburgie and Glenburgie/Glencraig as well as for Miltonduff/Miltonduff and Miltonduff/Mosstowie

Loch Lomond/Inchmurrin and Loch Lomond/Old Rhosdue are made in the same production process although somewhat modified but Ulf would count them as one distillery. He also feels this is the case with Moffat/Glen Flagler and Moffat/Killyloch (Lillyloch) which he describes as the same distillery with "different recipes"

According to his sources Brora and Clynlish were three distilleries over time. Brora (A) was built in 1819 and was called Clynelish (A) later and until 1969. In 1969 the distillery was re-built in such a fashion that it became a "new" distillery and hence was given a "new" name. The name Brora (B) reverted. Brora became silent in 1983. A completely new distillery called "Clynelish" was erected in 1968 and is still in operation.

Peter Wood from New Zealand weighed in with the view that Brora was just a new name, not a new plant. Horst Luening noted that Auchentoshan was in part-time operation, that Balmenach was operating again, that Bladnoch had been partially dismantled, and that Pittyvaich is mothballed pretty much since 1993. Iain Russell noted that Imperial was also mothballed. Ian Baker noted that Glen Keith may soon be mothballed and doubts that Glen Scotia or Littlemill will ever re-open.

Thanks to Ulf , Ian and all the other folks for this great information.

For those interested in subscribing to the Single Malt Listserv, Here are the Instructions

Email to the following address:


Leave subject heading blank. In the body of the message write the following:


You will then receive instructions on how to complete the subscription. It's a wealth of information on our favorite topic!!

Spreadsheets Have Their Place!!

On the next page is a spreadsheet of information about the distilleries the ScotchWatch Society visited last March. Some explanation of the data might be helpful. The Water # 1, # 2, # 3, and # 4 refers to the temperature at Celsius of the infusions of water that go into the mash tun to separate the barley liquid (called worts) from remnants of the barley (called draff). Note only Strathisla does four infusions of water. Spirit Still refers to the size (in liters) of the still that produces the final product prior to going into casks, butts and hogsheads to mature. Wash Still refers to the size (in liters) of the still that receives the contents from the wash backs. Foreshots, Middle Cut and Feints are the Acuts of the run@ that occur when the scotch whisky is taken from the Spirit Still. Only the Middle Cut is taken to be aged in casks. Mash Tun is the size of the container (called a mash tun) where the initial processing of the barley occurs once it has been germinated, dried and ground into mill like flour. The wash back is the container used to take the worts from the mash tun and add yeast so the barley can ferment and be ready for the wash still.

Some Final Thoughts

We thought it would be helpful to point out a few web sites that anyone interested in single malt scotch might like to visit. The best in our opinion is John Butler's Site:

John also hosts all our previous (and future) newsletters and they can be found at the following address:

Bev Blackwood's page was mentioned earlier. A couple of other pages of note are the islay whisky page (, the home page for The Malt Advocate, John Hansell's excellent magazine devoted to premium beer and single malt scotch ( and Ulf's Web Site is a wonderful source of all sorts of information on single malt scotch ( Enjoy!!!

(to be formatted)

Spirt Still Size Wash Still Size Foreshots Middle Cut Feints Mash Tun Wash Back Yeast/Mixture 20998 30963 20 minutes 3/4 hours 3/4 hours 42000/steel Larch Pine 500/4200093 8000 12000 20 minutes 2/3 hours 5 hours 5 tons/steel 24500/ 63/2450083 5450 7410 20 minutes 2/3 hours 2 hours 32000/ 27000/Larchwood 120/320004000 10600 5 minutes 6/8 tons/ 36000/steel 137.5/360003630/1=7270 10910 45 minutes 3/3 hours 3 hours 8.5 tons/leuter 42000/steel 14750 30940 1 hours 3 hours 1 hour 8 tons/iron/steel 40000/pine 18000 30 minutes 5 hours 3 hours 25000/steel 21613/Larchwood 1.8% per liter4965/5000 9000/7883 15 minutes 3 hours 2 hours steel 8200 11400 20 minutes 3 hours 2/3 hours 9.5 tons/steel 48000/ 175kg/480008865 13411 30 minutes 2/5 hours 2 hours 42000/steel 49500/oregon pine 150kg/495006500 7775 20 minutes 1/3 hours 3 hours /steel 65000/can. Pine 250kg/65000 15 tons/leuter 54000/steel 12600 oregon pine/5m 13638 17274 20 minutes 2/3 hours 5 tons/steel 26000 100kg/26000
# 1
# 2
# 3
Water # 4
Royal Lochnagar6375 
Ben Nevis647490 
Caol Isla657677 

The ScotchWatch Newsletter is a joint venture of Bill Wakefield and B.J. Reed. Anyone with comments or who wishes to contribute an item may contact B.J. at 402-556-5509. or e-mail at