In the world of whisky, few have achieved such legendary status as that of Master Distiller, Jim McEwan. A true maverick that guided the renaissance of the iconic Islay distillery, Bruichladdich, McEwan played an integral role in inspiring the direction of the single malt category as a whole.
In celebration of more than half a century of service to the whisky industry, the final casks from his personal reserves are now ready for release. Bottled as Jim’s very own collection of his finest creations, the Jim McEwan Signature Collection is the ultimate tribute to a career-long quest to produce the perfect dram.
Containing iconic Islay malts drawn from casks distilled under McEwan’s watch at Bruichladdich and bottled by Scottish independent bottlers, Dramfool, the collection will be made available this month, with part of the inaugural release to be auctioned by Whisky Auctioneer from 11-15 March 2021.
A true Islay whisky lover’s dream, the collection is made up of nine releases – each containing a single cask Bruichladdich, Port Charlotte and Octomore expression.
The first edition bottlings to go under the hammer next week have been entirely matured in first-fill wine casks from the finest French Châteaux – inspired by McEwan’s use of alternative casks that would become a cornerstone of Bruichladdich’s legacy and style.
The first release includes an especially exciting Octomore expression – one of the oldest ever released at 13 years old and entirely matured in a Sauternes barrique, one of Octomore’s rarest wood styles.
The auction will feature exclusive opportunities such as the chance to acquire the second editions before they have even launched, with bottles #1-20 in the auction featuring both Edition 1 and 2 of the respective whiskies. Bottle #88 will also feature both editions – a very sought-after bottle number due to its symbolism of fortune and good luck in Chinese culture.
Winners of bottles #1-20 and #88 will also receive first refusal on that same bottle number in subsequent releases – an ideal opportunity for aspiring collectors to complete a full collection of the same bottle numbers.

*Jim McEwan commented: *
“It’s wonderful to see this collection of my final casks bottled and ready to be enjoyed. From starting in the whisky industry aged 15, I can see no better way to mark the ending of a career than to release my own personal collection.
“As my last casks come to market and I look back on 58 years of making whisky, it still excites me to see what is happening. From apprentice cooper, to blender and then to master distiller, my journey has always been about education as well as passion, and it’s been a pleasure to share this with the world. Single Malt whisky is the blood of Scotland and it’s our job to look after it, cherish it and do a good job with it. It’s so important to our country as a whole, but particularly to the island of Islay that I call home.
“This collection really speaks for itself in terms of quality, just like each of the whiskies I’ve ever produced. I’m very excited to unveil these casks with Dramfool, and in partnership with Whisky Auctioneer I am sure they will be enjoyed across all corners of the globe.”

*Joe Wilson, Head of Auction Content at Whisky Auctioneer, said: *“The Jim McEwan Signature Collection embodies a true industry icon’s passion for the liquid he has spent most of his life creating, as well as the Island he calls home. It’s a pleasure to bring the first edition bottles to our online auction in partnership with Dramfool.
“These are the final casks to be selected by Jim during his time at Bruichladdich and the whiskies he has personally deemed to be amongst his finest creations. We’re sure Islay whisky lovers around the world will be incredibly excited to learn about the collection’s release, and to try these whiskies for themselves.”

From monstrous Islay smoke bombs to zesty, floral malts, each bottle is unique in style and flavour, yet similarly shaped by the Island’s wild, coastal elements.
Each expression in the Jim McEwan Signature Collection has been bottled at natural cask strength and is natural in colour, as well as non-chill filtered.
In addition to having the chance of being among the first to try the new liquid, Bruichladdich fans will also have the opportunity to bid on an exclusive private tasting experience during the auction, which will be hosted by Jim McEwan himself. 100% of the proceeds raised from this experience will be donated to Scotland’s Charity Air Ambulance, a charity chosen personally by Jim which provides life saving support to the Islay community.
Jim McEwan began what would be a long and legendary career in the whisky industry at the age of 15 in 1963 as an apprentice cooper at Bowmore distillery, where he trained and refined his malt mastery for 38 years. He then helped reawaken Bruichladdich distillery in 2001, where he was Master Distiller for 15 years before retiring in 2015. McEwan was recently tempted back from retirement to help revive Ardnahoe Distillery on Islay.
To register to take part in the Jim McEwan Signature Collection auction, visit **

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Discover some of the world’s top whiskies with Diageo’s Rare and Exceptional portfolio

On Planet Whisky, few can beat the clout of Diageo.
In Scotland, Diageo owns 50 out of the 130-odd whisky distilleries. Cult names like Caol Ila, Talisker and Mortlach are amongst them. It also holds one of the largest inventories of whisky stocks in the world, some of which come from shuttered (but soon-to-be-resurrected) distilleries like Port Ellen and Brora.
Sitting at the pinnacle of Diageo’s massive whisky empire is the Rare and Exceptional, a portfolio of the company’s most-prized liquids. “On average we see fewer than 10 Rare & Exceptional releases a year,” says Adam Brewer, in an earlier interview we did with the head of private client sales. “There are usually fewer than 2,000 bottles per release, made on a global level, but it can be as few as 90 bottles. Once the bottles are sold out, the only opportunity to own one of these is if a collector chooses to make his or her own bottle available on the secondary market.”
John Walker & Sons King George V
“Rare and exceptional” as they may be, these highly-coveted bottles are made more accessible via a dedicated online store, which Diego launched in November last year. There are 48 bottles at the time of writing, with a price range of $150 (Cardhu 11 Year Old Special Release 2020) to $23,400 (Johnnie Walker Master’s Ruby Reserve 40 Year Old).
At our recent taster of the range, we were introduced to six bottles — John Walker & Sons King George V, Talisker 25 Year Old, Pittyvaich 28 Year Old, Pittyvaich 29 Year Old, Lagavulin 12 Year Old and The Singleton of Dufftown 25 Year Old. The first is a rich, creamy and highly drinkable blend of whiskies drawn from distilleries across Scotland that existed during the reign of King George V, including extremely rare casks from the silent Port Ellen. Its sweet, smoky aroma follows with notes of orange, raisins, figs and cinnamon, which are balanced by hints of vanilla, chocolate and toffee. Those new to maritime whisky brand Talisker will find a great initiation with the classic 25 Year Old, which has a whiff of the ocean on the nose, a medium body of citrus fruits and a long finish that is dry, toasty and slightly bitter.
Talisker 25 Year Old
The Pittyvaichs are especially pleasing. Hailing from a ghost 18-year-old distillery — one of the shortest ever lived on Speyside — that fell victim to industry consolidation in 1993, the two bottles have a mellow and a complex sweet-floral structure. The 28 Year Old is reminiscent of a gingery fruit cake, with traces of lemon zest, honey, mint, ripe red apple, vanilla and coconut, while its older sister, double-matured in Pedro Ximenez and Oloroso seasoned casks has a rich, fruity depth that ends dry and spicy, like a dense, powdered ginger tea. Both have less than 5,000 in availability.
Lagavulin’s 12 Year Old expression will appeal to fans of peated whisky. The pale-gold single-malt features top notes of ash and linseed oil, followed by light fruity notes of hard candy and a faint suggestion of the sea.
When it comes to smoothness, The Singleton is a clear winner. Its 25 Year Old, one of the oldest releases from the Dufftown distillery, is rich and dark, with sophisticated berry fruit aromas and flavours of peach and passionfruit. Only one cask in the brand’s 50,000 maturing whisky stock makes it to the Rare and Exceptional list, which only deems this bottle all the more desirable.
The Singleton of Dufftown 25 Year Old
If you’re faced with choice paralysis and love a more personal touch to your whisky shopping experience, make an appointment with Diageo’s Private Client team at its swanky office. You might even be privy to hush-hush whisky stocks that are unavailable online.
(Main and featured image: Pittyvaich 29 Year Old; all other images courtesy of Diageo)
The post Discover some of the world’s top whiskies with Diageo’s Rare and Exceptional portfolio appeared first on Prestige Online – Singapore.


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