Book Review: Malt Whisky Yearbook 2021

The Malt Whisky Yearbook is an annual “field guide” to the world of malt whisky and the malt whisky industry. Author/Editor and Keeper of the Quaich Ingvar Ronde started in 2005 – and every year thereafter – compiling 12 months of news, facts, and figures from the industry while also managing to capture the overall trend and feel of the marketplace. In a way, it’s like a whole year of whisky magazine issues compressed into one compact and concise guidebook.

Compass Box: Affinity

In a bit of a departure from my usual “whisky-only” reviews on this blog, I’d like to say a few words about Compass Box’s Affinity. If you haven’t been following the flurry of Compass Box releases lately (and why should you? Every g-ddamn one of them has been north of $150), you might not know that Affinity is actually a “spirit drink”, which is the only legal way to label a blend of Scottish whisky and French calvados (apple and/or pear brandy).


Today I bring you a public service announcement about your brain. … Anchoring is a cognitive bias that causes our brains to “depend too heavily on an initial piece of information offered (considered to be the ‘anchor’) to make subsequent judgments during decision making. In practical terms, this means if I tell you that the brand-new GlenBracken 15 is an excellent whisky and easily worth $80 a bottle, and assuming that you already have some positive perception of my ability to discern value in whisky, then those two pieces of information are the anchors that your brain uses to form a mental model…

Whisky Cocktails: Paper Plane

Instead, I wanted to share with you the latest cocktail that has been single-handedly (do cocktails have hands in this analogy?) getting me through the lockdown lately. It’s called the Paper Plane, and it’s technically a whisky cocktail. Like another of my staples, the Negroni, it’s easy to make because it’s easy to remember. A note on ingredients, though. While you can use any bourbon (or rye) that you like, the Amaro Nonino is kind of mandatory.

Now is the Special Occasion

If you’re anything like me, you find a certain level of satisfaction from stocking up. You have 3 extra bottles of your favorite vermouth for that imaginary dinner party where just everyone wants a third Manhattan. You have that esoteric bottle of peated Swiss single malt for that “someday” when you need to impress a malt-savvy visitor. You have sixteen hundred or so bottles of weird mixers that you’ve used for exactly one oddball cocktail. …

Flaviar’s Improved Membership Model

Flaviar is a spirits company based in the UK, but they ship to the United States as well (see the bottom of this post for restrictions) and their rep told me that they do have a significant number of customers from the US. … The company’s tasting boxes are nicely-presented boxes of three 45ml vials containing curated selections of spirits (whisky, of course, but also rums, gins, etc.). Included in your membership you choose one full-sized bottle…

What Makes Japanese Whisky So Popular?

[Sponsored Content] Japan was introduced to scotch whisky in the late 19th century, when sailors and traders shipped the spirit into coastal port towns – but it wasn’t until decades later that commercial production of whisky really took off. Two men are credited with kickstarting Japan’s love affair with whisky: Shinjiro Torii and Masataka Taketsuru established the historic Yamazaki distillery together in 1924