Jam and Dram Last month, the renowned music venue Village Underground in London's fashionable Shoreditch was ringing to the sound of more than just guitars, drums and the occasional ukulele.
The venue was home to Jam & Dram, an event devised by Caskstrength's Joel Harrision and Neil Ridley in partnership with Eddie and Amanda Ludlow, the team behind the hugely successful Whisky Lounge gatherings, which run throughout the UK. Jam & Dram was the first event of its kind, bringing together the art of blending whisky and fully integrating it into a music venue environment.
Alongside the many whiskies on offer to attendees throughout the day, Caskstrength took to the stage to conduct a 'deconstruction tasting gig' of the many component parts that go into a blended whisky, using the various players in an all star whisky band.
The Copper Dogs are made up of several well known whisky personalities, including the Balvenie Global Ambassador Sam Simmons on guitar and vocals, Cat Spencer from retailer Master Of Malt on ukulele and vocals, Simon Roser from Simply Whisky on drums and Whisky Magazine's very own Rob Allanson on bass, each one representing a specific flavour profile and character found within a blended whisky.
Three other whisky themed bands also rocked out in front of the several hundred music and whisky fans, including a rousing set from Ridley's Prince Adewale & The Endeavours, which features Diageo's head of whisky outreach, Dr Nick Morgan on guitar and Whisky Lounge's Eddie Ludlow firing off razor sharp riffs in his very own blues combo.
Jam & Dram also gave attendees the opportunity to blend their own whisky in special workshops, taking away wax-dipped bottles of their bespoke blend as a memento.
Hankey Bannister Blended Scotch whisky has delved deep into its illustrious history to launch its new 'Heritage Blend', inspired by a per fectly preser ved bottle of Hankey Bannister from the 1920s, unear thed last year in the UK.
A whisky of choice for celebrities of the day in the early 20th century, the current Hankey Bannister team had no archived products from this golden era - until the discovery of an unopened bottle at the home of a couple in the UK in 2012.
Using the current Hankey Bannister as a starting point, Heritage Blend has been created by adding both aged and peated malts to reproduce a full, sweet flavour with a delicate hint of smoke.
Bushmills and artist development company Third Bar - made up of Snow Patrol lead singer Gary Lightbody and Davy Matchett - have joined forces to create and curate the Bushmills Live Legacy Fund.
Bushmills Live organisers wanted to take their commitment to suppor ting up-and-coming talent one step further and set up this fund of £10,000. Recognising the significance this held for Northern Irish talent, Third Bar's directors Gary and Davy pledged to curate and match this fund, creating a trust of £20,000 in total.
Keith's big day
"A vote of confidence in the future," said Richard Lochhead, Scotland's 'Minister for Whisky' as he formally opened the renewed and expanded Glen Keith distillery. "A special day for Keith; for Speyside; for the local economy and for Chivas Brothers," he added.
While this was the official opening, the distiller y has been working at full capacity for some weeks now, producing the raw material for blends such as Passport and 100 Pipers and, arguably more importantly, Ballantine's and Chivas Regal. In fact, such is their anticipated future requirement that there are no current plans for a Glen Keith single malt. Glen Keith has rejoined the ranks of the work-horses of Scotch whisky. Single malt enthusiasts will hear little about it but, stress Chivas, its role is vital if Scotland is to succeed in the new developing markets so vital to the industr y's future