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Scottish Whisky

From the humble base of barley, Scotland's master distillers are able to conjure a vast array of spirits - some intense, medicinal and full of smoke; others with almost sprightly light fruitiness. Those whiskies made on the coast have a seaweed salinity which can transport you with a sip to the windswept Scottish shores. And then there's the influence of the barrels - those seemingly inert vessels where the spirits rest for years - sometimes just three, and sometimes decade upon decade. These wooden casks impart flavours of toast, of vanilla, and even a trace of their previous occupant - the nuttiness of an Oloroso Sherry, perhaps, or the coconut sweetness of a Bourbon.

While the subregions of Scotland are associated with differences in flavour - the characteristic smokiness of Islay malts, for example, or the mellow richness of Speyside whisky, it would be wrong to take these traditions as unwavering laws. Scotch distillers are constantly innovating and evolving, and there is such vast diversity of flavour and style available that even the seasoned connoisseur can be surprised again and again.

Glenfarclas was bought in 1865 for £511.19 by John Grant.

To this day, Gelnfarclas has remained independent and is now belongs to the 6th generation of Grants from Glenfarclas. The distillery can be found at the foot of Ben Rinnes, a 840 meter high mountain. 

Glenfarclas has 6 traditional direct-fired copper pot stills, which are considered to be the biggest on the Speyside. The cloudy "wash" is turned into crystal clear spirit through a double distillation process from a larger "wash still to the smaller "spirit still."

Glenfarclas is known for using ex-sherry barrels for the ageing of their malt. They do however also use plain oak casks which previously aged bourbon. Barrles lie dormant for at least 8 years in on-site dunnage warehouses for a minimum of 8 years loosing an average of 0.4% abv per year known as the "Angles Share."The range boasts many different aged malts. Among the core range are the 10, 15, 21, 25 and 30 year olds with a very recent 40 year old release. Glenfarclas also has vintage casks dating back as far as 1953 which they bottle and sell under their "Family Cask" range.

Glenfarclas was one of the first distilleries in Scotland to open a dedicated visitor centre in 1973. Tours range from £40.00 for the 'Connoisseur's Tour & Tasting' or the 'Five Decades Tour & Tasting' at £90.00. Unfortunately the centre and tours are closed until the 4th January 2017. More more information visit their website.

Glengoyne Distillery is a whisky distillery continuously in operation since its founding in 1833 at Dumgoyne, north of Glasgow, Scotland. 

Glengoyne is unique in producing Highland single malt whisky matured in the Lowlands. Located upon the Highland Line, the division between the Highlands and Lowlands of Scotland, Glengoyne's stills are in the Highlands while maturing casks of whisky rest across the road in the Lowlands. Unlike many malt whisky distilleries, Glengoyne does not use peat smoke to dry their barley, but instead uses warm air.

Take a closer look at the journey and go further into the history and making of Gengoyne, by visiting the distillery - just 40 mins from Glasgow. 

Tours range from £9 (for the Wee  Tasting Tour) to £60 per person (for the Malt Tour). They even have a unique Whisky & Chocolate Tour to stimulate those taste buds! 

Find out more about their tours here

Tamdhu was founded in Speyside in 1896 and was owned by Highland Distillers from 1898 until 1999, when HD was bought by Edrington Group. 

Tamdhu's sister distilleries in Edrington include Glenturret, Glenrothes, Highland Park and Macallan, and the vast majority of its spirit goes into the company's Famous Grouse and Cutty Sark blends.

It is the only distillery still using the Saladin Box method of malting barley, which replaced the traditional floor maltings in 1950 when the distillery was refurbished. The maltings at the distillery supply some of the malt for other distilleries in the group. During the 1970s the number of stills at Tamdhu was increased from two to six, and the distillery now has a potential output of around 4 million litres/year although it is not operating at full capacity at present.

Until recently the only official bottling of Tamdhu was the no-age-statement standard expression, but a distillery-bottled 18 year-old was introduced to the range in 2009. Independent bottlings are also regularly available from the likes of Gordon & Macphail. The house style is described by Michael Jackson as 'Mild, urbane. Sometimes toffee-nosed. Versatile'.


It seems almost unbelievable today, considering the 99 million cases of whisky that are exported from Scotland each year that, just 150 years ago, the spirit was barely known or consumed outside of its native country. But with the devastation that swept the vineyards of Europe following the plague of Phlloxera beginning in the 1880s, wine and brandy had virtually disappeared from the drinks market; the world was ready for a new spirit to take centre stage, and canny Scottish businessmen saw a gleaming new opportunity.

Thomas Dewar, newly in possession of a whisky business inherited from his father, was one such entrepreneur. Leaving his brother in charge of the distillery at home in Scotland, he braved the long sea voyage to market the family spirit in America. Beginning in Boston, he would hop the local bars, entering each one and ordering a large Scotch. Invariably the bar wouldn't have any - and so he would sell them a case of his own!

His marketing strategy proved so successful that Thomas travelled to New York, Washington, Chicago and San Francisco; and, not content with conquering America he moved on to Hawaii, Fiji, New Zealand, Australia, China and Hong Kong - in fact, he sold his Scotch in 26 countries in just two years. On his return to Scotland, he had a global business and a very long list of orders.

His fantastic success reaped big rewards. Thomas was knighted as the first Baron Dewar, and took a room at the Savoy - in which he stayed for four decades! A canny businessman and firm whisky enthusiast to the end, he knew a good business opportunity when one came his way. So when Mr William Grant approached him with a vision of creating the most modern distillery of the age, Baron Dewar lent his support, and Tamdhu was born.The best Victorian minds were sought and employed - with the help of Dewar's investment - to build what became the greatest distillery of the age. Tamdhu is proud to count Scotch whisky's finest ever salesman amongst its founding fathers, and perhaps, the next time you taste a dram, you'll be able to feel a hint of the pioneering spirit that made the distillery what it is today.

CAOL ILA (Gaelic for Sound of Islay) is pronounced COL EELAThe name relates directly to its location, directly on the shore of the Sound of Islay. Caol Ila was founded to the North of Islay in 1846 by the pleasingly-named Hector Henderson. 

Located near Port Askaig in lush, floral surroundings, overlooking the cove and the Paps of Southern Jura. The distillery draws its water from Loch Nam Ban, whose waters travel through limestone and peat before reaching their beneficiary, Caol Ila. 

The capacity is moderate at 3.65 million litres annually, the majority of which is used in Johnnie Walker blends. Just 5% is kept for maturation as single malt. From 1999, unpeated single malts have been experimented with and in 2006 the first unpeated bottling was released in the form of an eight year-old. Caol Ila, whose name derives from the Gaelic for ‘Sound of Islay’, has been included in the Diageo Classic Malts range, exhibiting twelve and eighteen year-old expressions as well as a Moscatel-finished Distillers Edition. Independent bottlings can also be found.

Caol Ila Distillery offers a number of special tours that run through winter. For up to date information please visit their website.

For over 200 years, Ardbeg has been made on the small, remote Scottish Isle of Islay.

Ardbeg has been called "as close to perfection as makes no difference," by whisky connoisseurs. Proof then, that Ardbeg truly deserves its incredible reputation. It's a whisky that's worshipped around the world and has been named 'World Whisky of the Year' no less than 4 times out of the last 7 years.

Ardbeg uses the most phenolic malt in the business (i.e. the smokiest). The malt is peated to a level of 50ppm. There have been no floor maltings at Ardbeg since 1981 so all the malt that is used in production comes from the maltings in the village of Port Ellen. The water used to produce Ardbeg comes from Loch Uigeadail, 3 miles up the hill behind the Distillery. As Ardbeg sits close to the sea, the whisky takes on a certain salty, iodine character while it matures.The casks used at Ardbeg come from various sources. The vast amount of whisky matures in ex-Bourbon oak. However, there is always scope in the future to experiment with different type of oak casks.

Choose from a range of fascinating tours ranging from only £5 per person for the ARDBEG TOUR & TASTING to discovering hoe the whisky is made in the DECONSTRUCTING THE DRAM TOUR for only £40 Per Person. For more information visit their website

Anybody who associates scotch with old men, darkened bars, and cold weather would do well to look at Ardbeg's intergalactic whisky project.

Yes, you read it right - intergalactic whisky! In a trailblazing experiment looking at the way physical environment affects the maturation of whisky, the team at Ardbeg launched vials containing molecules of terpenes (compounds crucial to the flavour of whisky) into outer space where they spent three years on the International Space Station. It's hard to imagine two more different locations for maturation - resting quietly in vast oak casks, undisturbed for many years in the darkened cellars of Isla, or on the International Space Station, moving at supersonic speed - 17,227mph to be exact - orbiting the Earth fifteen times a day! Samples from the two were compared in a Houston laboratory, and in September 2015 a White Paper was published which describes the effects of an anti-gravity environment on one of Planet Earth's greatest drams!

Ardbeg conjures up a Scotch mist pour

A sip of the right whisky has always had the power to transport the drinker to the windswept coastline where it was born, but Ardbeg have gone one step further with their inventive and novel serving tool, named for the Haar fogs of Islay. Haar is an old scots word which describes a cold fog sweeping in suddenly from the sea, enveloping the distilleries on the country's seafront. This tool seeks to emulate this ancient phenomenon with ultra modern technology, using ultrasound pads to emit rapid vibrations, which create, in effect, a fog - or Haar - of pure Ardbeg flavour, ready to envelop any whisky lover lucky enough to encounter it. In fact, if a trip to Islay seems a little far flung, Ardbeg have made sure that you can experience the rolling and immersive peat-scented Haar in cocktail bars a little closer to home.

It seems almost inconceivable today, during Irish Whiskey's modern renaissance, and with exports up 200% in twenty years, that only three decades ago there were only two functioning distilleries on the island. The industry had long been accused of slump and stagnation after the loss of the important American market with Prohibition, followed by a run of poor luck compounded by poor decision making. Distilleries were forced to dismantle their equipment, sell their assets, and finally to close their doors on what seemed like a daily basis; the situation seemed irretrievable.All was not lost however, and a core of tenacious producers continued to fly the flag for Irish whiskey. The iconic names of Powers, Jameson and Cork joined forces to continue the production of their national spirit in Midleton - another name that continues to stand for quality Irish whiskey. 

The whiskey undergoes an additional third distillation in comparison to the two for Scotch whisky, and as such has a velvet smoothness. It's possible this is also where Irish whiskey acquires the extra 'e' in its spelling! Nowadays, the luck of the Irish seems well and truly back on track, with new distilleries opening their doors, a boom in exports, and a reputation for versatility and quality. In the nineteenth century, Irish whiskey was the most popular spirit in the world, and it finally looks to be heading that way once more.


South Western Ireland's rugged coastline provides perfect maturing conditions for Hyde's award winning Irish whiskey.

Age-old traditions  are incorporated to produce Hyde's Whiskey, using some of Ireland's finest ingredients. This whiskey is triple-distilled in a traditional copper pot still and aged for 10 years in white oak Bourbon barrels and polished in Sherry casks to give it its classically smooth, elegant and rich flavour full of subtle tones.

This limited edition whiskey is then carefully filtered in a non-chilled process, cut using only pure Cork spring water and bottled in small batches. Small batch and non chill filtered Hyde Whiskey retains more flavour and the craft and patience that go into its production is fully enjoyable.

Hyde's mantra is: "It's all about the wood". They are meticulous about matching their whiskey's with the perfect cask. The experts have discovered that 80% of the final Hyde taste is created when the whiskey interacts with the natural woods of the casks during the ageing process.Therefore choosing the right cask is absolutely vital to the distinctive character of Hyde whiskey's. 

The Ryan family have long associations with Irish Whiskey going back to a time when they bottled their own Ryan's Malt which they produced in association with The Dublin Whiskey Distillery until the famous distillery closed its doors in 1946. To celebrate the Ryan's Beggars Bush 100th Year Anniversary in 2013, the family identified an opportunity to revive their Jack Ryan's Malt.

Jack Ryan's Malt offers a strong and authentic Irish Whiskey proposition and brand story which will provide a new dimension to support the significant growth and consumer attraction to these exciting whiskey categories while being true to Irish Whiskey values and authenticity develop added value and innovation by introducing/marrying elements of the great American Bourbon Whiskies in terms of liquid finishing and packaging development.

The bottle label depicts an image from 1913 of the exterior of the landmark public house and original lamp post that still stands today at 115 Haddington Road. It also includes an image of Jack Ryan and his handwritten signature. The label gives reference to Jack Ryan's character, public house, and Single Malt.Jack Ryan 'Beggars Bush' Single Malt Irish Whiskey 46% has been aged for 12 years, with no chill filtration, allowing the true flavours of the whiskey to be retained.The whiskey has been matured in ex-bourbon barrels hand-picked by the family themselves, to deliver a unique taste. The golden amber glow and nose of sweet, oaky vanilla, sets you up for a delicious mouthful of silky, honey sweetness with a long, warm-hearted, lingering, spicy finish.