With North-East Correspondent, Lee ‘Connas’ Connors.

First up, Oooooooooooooh Cananananananada……!

There’s been war on in British Columbia.

Long story short – The Scotch Malt Whisky Society have a number of “Partner Bars” over there to whom they supply their whisky directly, as they do in a number of bars around the world.

Turns out, in BC getting your Whisky from anywhere other than a Government Licensed outlet is a Big No No! So the bars were raided at 10am, and the bottles from the SMWS were logged and impounded. This has, of course, sparked something of a social media campaign to get the stuff back. (If you can spare a moment feel free to add your name to the online petition!)

All of this coincided with The Victoria Whisky Festival, at which our pal John McCheyne was booked to do an SMWS tasting. Unfortunately his stock was at one of said bars, and is now behind bars (although fortunately John is not).

Thankfully The Scotch Malt Whisky Society has subsequently confirmed that none of the funds they were raising for various charities in the area will be affected by this turn of events.

– Next, Diageo News.

They have announced an increase in distillery visitors of more than 15%. Which is nice.

They’ve also made some headlines with regards to lobbying to relax the strict rules enforced by the Scotch Whisky Association on how whisky is produced. With a view to having an “Infused Scotch Whisky” category.  [Wonder what Compass Box think of this one? – Ed.]

– Balblair launches new 1991 and 2000 limited editions

These sound like fun.  Full details and official tasting notes here.

“The second release of the 2000 has been matured for 13 years in American oak, ex-bourbon casks and five years in first-fill Spanish oak butts… the nose is full-bodied with aromas of seasoned oak, baked red apples and fruitcake, followed by warming vanilla and ripe tropical stone fruits.

The third release of the 1991 matured for 24 years in ex-bourbon, American oak casks with a further three years in first fill Spanish oak butts.”

– Crabbies Whiskies Comeback

While they’re waiting for their new distillery in Leith to be built, Crabbies (yes THAT Crabbies, of “Ginger Wine” fame) have bottled two whiskies to tide them over. First an Eight-year-old expression: a Highland single malt bottled at 46% abv, created in homage to John Crabbie’s flagship eight-year-old blend of the 19th century. They’ve also somehow got their hands on a 30 Year Old, lightly peated single cask Speyside malt, matured in a refill Oloroso Sherry butt and bottled at a cask strength of 48.6% abv.

– Auction Stuff

A rare 30 year old bottle of second edition 1964 Black Bowmore single malt whisky has been bought for a record £11,900 in an online auction held by Perth-based Whisky Auctioneer.

Bought by an investor from the USA, the new record for this legendary bottle of rare whisky exceeds the previous mark of £9,500 set in 2017.

I walked past this on the shelf in Fenwicks in the mid 90’s when it was £80. Grrrrrrrrr…

– Trip Advisor Stramash

The guys from The Pot Still (legendary whisky bar in Glasgow) got a bad review on Trip Advisor. Their response is worth a look.

– Ditch The Plastic!

The industry has responded to recent fears relating to the environmental impact we’re having. And a huge effort is taking place to start phasing out the use of Plastic at every point of production and consumption.

– TWE Karuizawa 

Our friends at The Whisky Exchange have bottled a pair of new Karuizawas: a 33 year old sherry cask and a 35 year old bourbon cask. The distillery officially closed in 2012 and bottlings are highly sought after. To the point where, in this case, you enter a ballot for the opportunity buy one of either bottle, at the bargain price of £3,750! If you want one, you’ve got until Sunday night to enter.

– Hello, Darkness my old friend…

Milroy’s of Soho have added to their independently bottled “Darkness” range of whiskies.

An Invergordon 25yo PX Finish

An Invergordon 43yo Oloroso Finish

And a Tobermory 22yo Moscatel Finish

– More Auction Stuff

A very rare bottling of Malt Mill has appeared on Scotch Whisky Auctions. Malt Mill is the distillery which was engulfed by the Lagavulin Distillery, a fictional cask of which was the subject of the recent Ken Loach film “The Angels Share”.

Predictably, questions have been raised as to the provenance of the lot. One bottle of Malt Mill new make is on display at Lagavulin and it’s very unlikely that the good folks at Diageo would allow any testing to be carried out on it. Add to that, people who have actually tasted Malt Mill are few and far between. So very little can be guaranteed with regards to its authenticity, although the story behind it seems plausible. The reserve price on this miniature is £1500.  As we go to press the current price has reached £2200.

– Glenmorangie News

Busy times at Glenmorangie! This week has seen the launch of their ninth Private Edition release “Spios” which is matured in ex-rye casks. Also, after massive demand, they have announced plans to expand the distillery! If the plans are approved, 2 new stills, a mash tun and washbacks will be added to the site.

– Springbank

The play-list for this years Campbeltown Festival has been announced. And it looks epic!

And the Gateshead Whisky News (and appropriate to the time of year)…

The only statue of Robert Burns in the North of England can actually be seen from Gateshead. It is actually in Newcastle (Walker Park) but we’ll forgive them that, for now…. [Not sure that this is news? – Ed.]

And now for the Weather…

Rain. But not in Gateshead. [This is definitely not news. See me. – Ed]

That’s all folks, remember to tune in next week. Same dram time, same dram channel.