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Articles and General information on Single Malt Whiskies as well as other Whisky related topics.

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20 Years of the KSMS by David Simourd

Posted by Bill Gorham on November 22, 2018 at 5:40 PM Comments comments (1146)

20 Years of the KSMS by David Simourd

We all have our own unique stories of how we become members of the Kingston Single Malt Society. I’ve been with the KSMS since its inception and I’ll provide you with what I recall as the beginnings.

The KSMS, to my memory, began in 1998 and is celebrating it’s 20 year anniversary and Phil Henderson and I have been here for the majority of the drams served over the years.

I want to give a historical recollection of the KSMS and then I’ll share a few comments.

Relax, this will only take a few minutes. And I’ll get this out of the way early: First, the KSMS is always teetering on financial ruin, but it perseveres. Second, no there have been no fires at the KSMS.


April 1998 – Food and Wine Event at Kingston Olympic Harbour

Maj. Kemp Stewart had a booth set up – and seemed very lonely when I cruzed by. It turns out he was sitting with his wife Amber, who I went to graduate school. With single malts close at hand and socializing to do, what possibly could go wrong?

Kemp mentioned he was starting a KSMS club at Vimy Officer’s Mess.

Sept. 1998 meeting at Vimy – the small room with about 12 people.

I was on the only Civilian at the time but felt quite welcome.

KSMS was part of the An Quack Society, which was some type of non-profit entity that was allowed to purchase single malt directly from the distillers in Scotland and sell them to members.

Kemp drove to Ottawa to pick up the malts we had at our meetings.

We had 9 meetings per year, no December or July or August meetings.

The KSMS link to An Quack lasted about two years but dissolved because of changes in the laws that basically made it impossible to operate at a reasonable cost to members.

Circa 2001 – KSMS began as a sole entity but had to purchase malts from LCBO

By this time, there were more members of the KSMS (about 2/3 military and 1/3 civilian) and we moved to the larger dinning area of the Vimy Mess.

Circa 2005

Kemp Stewart retires from the CF and relocates away from Kingston.

The KSMS loses its “Stewardship” with temporary Presidents alternating.

There was never a change in the quality of the malts or the kinship of the club.

Circa 2007 – Roberto assumes the role of President of KSMS

We have not looked back

Circa 2012 - alternating meetings between Vimy Mess, Fort Frontenac Mess, and River Mill.

Circa 2015 – continuous meetings at River Mill


The KSMS has a great kinship as reflected by the great laughter and easy interactions between members.

My view is that the military perspective is part of the DNA of the KSMS and reflected in our dress code, pseudo-formality (intro of guests and whiskey) and general enjoyment by all.

I also want to compliment all the people who make the club what it is: the people who introduce the malts, the people who sell raffle tickets, the people who collect money at the door – You are vital to the KSMS and I for one greatly appreciate all that you do.

I think a testament to the success of the KSMS are comments from quests. We have had occasional guests from the other Kingston single malt club who have commented about how nice our club is.

Also, we have had multiple compliments from guests who have done tastings for us such as Mike Brisbois and Mark about how sophisticated we are, but also how fun we can be.

To me, this is a reflection of Roberto as leader but also great combination of people from different backgrounds, both military and civilian, who enjoy single malt and like to have a good time.

Here’s to the past 20 years and whatever holds for the future.

Game of Thrones - Whiskies from Diageo

Posted by Bill Gorham on November 16, 2018 at 10:20 AM Comments comments (553)


Come to the KSMS in March of 2019



Diageo’s Notes: The Oban distillery sits beneath the steep cliff that overlooks the bay in the frontier between the west Highlands and the Islands of Scotland, separating land and sea, just as Castle Black, home of The Night’s Watch, sits between Westeros and the lands beyond The Wall. The liquid’s richness is balanced with a woody, spicy dryness that The Night’s Watch could enjoy even on the coldest of nights.




Diageo’s Notes: Lagavulin is one of the most legendary single malt brands and has been crafted on the shores of Islay for more than 200 years – mirroring the meticulous calculation and tenacity employed by the Lannister’s in their rise to conquer the Iron Throne. This single malt whisky is a roaring single malt that recalls the Lannister’s riches and is best served neat or with a single drop of water.




Diageo’s Notes: House Stark’s resiliency, strength and ability to thrive under the most intense situations are greatly shaped by Winterfell’s frigid temperatures. Dalwhinnie, known for being one of the highest distilleries in all of Scotland, is cold and remote much like The North where House Stark calls home, making the two an iconic pairing. Extreme conditions are responsible for shaping the signature Dalwhinnie Winter’s Frost honeyed sweetness and spicy warmth. Naturally, it’s best served chilled or over ice.




Diageo’s Notes: Fueled by the same fiery spirit of the fierce female leadership of Daenerys Targaryen, this single malt celebrates legendary women and their unwavering perseverance. The Cardhu distillery was pioneered by Helen Cumming and her daughter-in-law Elizabeth during the 1800s, a time when the whisky industry was almost entirely male-dominated.




Diageo’s Notes: Royal lineage drives the iconic pairing between House Baratheon and Royal Lochnagar. Similar to Robert Baratheon ruling the Seven Kingdoms upon the Iron Throne, Royal Lochnagar was deemed a whisky worthy of a royal family as it was granted a Royal Warrant after Queen Victoria and Prince Albert visited the distillery in 1848. Balanced with delicate fruits and spices, this taste of royalty is best enjoyed neat.




Diageo’s Notes: House Tyrell of Highgarden rules over the Reach, the lush and fertile region of Westeros. Like the Reach, Clynelish is positioned among green pastures and rolling hills, with scenic views of the North Sea. This vibrant, golden Scotch is light and floral, like House Tyrell, and it’s not to be underestimated with its underlying complex combination of Highland and maritime qualities.




Diageo’s Notes: House Tully located at Riverrun, rules as the lord of The River lands. The power of water flows through both House Tully and The Singleton Glendullan Select as it is made on the banks of the River Fiddich in the wooded hills of Dufftown. Here they harnessed the water that flowed through the land utilizing a water wheel to power the entire distillery.




Diageo’s Notes: House Greyjoy rules the Iron Islands and worships the Drowned God. Talisker was a natural pair for House Greyjoy as this single malt is distilled on the shores of the Isle of Skye, one of the most remote and rugged areas of Scotland. The layered flavors and signature maritime character of Talisker Select Reserve are the result of its wave-battered shores. This liquid is an intense smoky single malt Scotch with spicy, powerful and sweet elements combined with maritime flavors.

Glenfiddich Winter Storm

Posted by Bill Gorham on December 18, 2017 at 10:00 AM Comments comments (592)

The Glenfiddich Winter Storm was sampled this past December at the annual Kingston Single Malt Christmas Dinner. Click the link to view a video of the glorious liquid and others used in a variety of beverages. All put together by the Barchef

Be sure to check out the other Experimental Series of Glenfiddich on their Facebook page located here;" target="_blank">


KSMS New Look

Posted by Bill Gorham on January 24, 2017 at 7:45 AM Comments comments (10588)

You may have noticed that the site looks a little different now. This is as a result of converting the format from a version 2 of the site builder to a version 3. While I could have kept the old look and remained on Sitebuilder 2, it affords an easier method of editing using verion 3. Suffice it to say that all the content is still there, it just looks a little different.





Remnants of Lost Distilleries

Posted by Bill Gorham on February 18, 2016 at 9:40 AM Comments comments (3)

From the February Newsletter of

Glen Albyn, Glen Mhor, Millburn, Rosebank, and Dallas Dhu

Rosebank 25yrs



The history of Scotch whisky begins in 1494. An entry in the Exchequer Rolls notes the purchase of malt for the production of 'aqua vitae'. People today may complain about compulsory retention periods for financial documents, but this document is the first historical testimony about the production of whisky. Ireland only comes second, with the first mention in records dating back to 1608. However, this doesn't mean that the whisky is better in Scotland today or that there hadn’t been Irish whiskey before. Only the documented year counts.

With the progress in agriculture and the early industrialisation, which manifested particularly in the world power of the British Empire, whisky gained ground, too. Copper had become affordable during the transition from the 18th to the 19th century. Thus small distilleries mushroomed up all over Scotland. The farmers were given the opportunity to convert perishable grain into durable and valuable merchandise. The crown soon discovered the possibilities that an alcohol or malt tax would offer. And since it was hard to control compliance with the law in the Highlands, which were difficult to access, they simply prohibited the production of whisky in the Highlands.

An imaginary line from Greenock in the West to Dundee in the East separated the 'forbidden' Highlands from the Lowlands. However, the Highlanders would not abandon the production of their beloved whisky, and thus there were about 14,000 illegal distilleries in the Highlands at the beginning of the 19th century. Yet the actual number might have been even higher. In 1823 a law was passed that allowed the production of whisky in the Highlands again. However, you had to get a licence and pay alcohol taxes.

By the mid-19th century the illegal distilleries had vanished. Alfred Barnard visited the distilleries of the United Kingdom in the 1880s and wrote his famous book about it. In 'The Scotch Whisky Industry Record' there's only given the number of 658 working pot stills for the year 1825. Over the course of the decades also the number of detected illegal distilleries declined drastically. The railway opened up Scotland. On the one hand, this caused concentration processes in the whisky industry. On the other hand, the taxmen could now reach formerly remote regions. There was no more place for illegal activities. After World War II the concentration process was complemented by a strong rise in demand during the following economic recovery. The number of distilleries became smaller and smaller, but the distilleries became bigger and bigger. There were even some extreme extensions at the end of the 60s/beginning of the 70s. Caol Ila, Clynelish, Glen Ord, Teaninich … the list of newly built or massively extended distilleries is long. As the saying goes: One man's joy is another man's sorrow.

While the new and modernised distilleries could produce large amounts at low costs, old distilleries had their problems with that. Glen Albyn and Glen Mhor, two distilleries both erected next to each other in Inverness at the Caledonian Canal in the 19th century, had to be closed during the great British recession from 1980 to approx. 1985 due to lack of demand. First it looked like the buildings of Glen Albyn and Glen Mhor could survive, but in 1986 both were torn down to make room for a shopping centre. There are only few bottles of Glen Albyn and Glen Mhor left in private collections.

The Millburn Distillery, which was also located in Inverness, and the Rosebank Distillery in the Lowlands shared a similar fate. They were also closed in 1983 and 1985, respectively. However, their legacy lives on. Today there are restaurants in the old buildings. You can have a nice dinner and at the same time experience the old charm of the Millburn and Rosebank distilleries. Unfortunately there's not much left of the production equipment of Millburn. However, there are always rumours about a reopening of Rosebank, which lies at the Forth and Clyde Canal, because in contrast to Millburn, at Rosebank the old production equipment can still be found in the slowly decaying buildings. The old Dallas Dhu Distillery fared better. It was also closed during the height of the British recession in 1983, but already in 1988 it was reopened as a non-working museum and was designated a listed monument. Since then the organisation 'Historic Scotland' has been caring for the old buildings and installations. In 2013 even a feasibility study was carried out to determine whether the distillery could be reopened and run profitably within the framework of operating the museum.


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Don't Drink and Drive

Posted by Bill Gorham on October 3, 2013 at 7:10 PM Comments comments (27)

Don't Drink and Drive. Have a look at the video link below. It passes a good message to all of our partakers of the uisge beatha.

Drunk Driving Facts presented by Serenity Insurance.

You need Adobe Flash Player to view this content.

Glengarry Highland Games Aug 2-3, 2013

Posted by Bill Gorham on July 16, 2013 at 1:00 PM Comments comments (58)

Bill Somerville of Gordon & MacPhail and Frank McDonald of Companions of the Quaich will take you on a tour of Scotland stopping at 6 different distilleries, where you will sample a 100 years of whisky without ever having to leave the Highland Games.Sit back and enjoy each dram and hear about the history and whisky making process of each distillery.Your appreciation and understanding of the industry will grow as you get more exposed to the various influences on the final product; geographic area,method of aging and cask type used. Seating is available at $40.00 per person. Reservations are highly recommended. For more information or to reserve a seat please contact Frank McDonald at [email protected]

The Metcalfe Center (Upstairs)Saturday August 3rd at 2:00pm and 4:00pm

Check out the flyer at GlenGarry Higland Games

Spirit of Kingston

Posted by Bill Gorham on January 22, 2013 at 11:20 AM Comments comments (1)

You will notice in the Whig Standard that there is a story about the Spirit of Kingston and its organizer Sylvain Bouffard. The story describes the upcoming event to be held at the Communications and Electronics Museum on the 23 of February 2013. Below is the link to the story.

The Spirit of Kingston Story in the Whig Standard

By Michael Lea, Kingston Whig-Standard

Monday, January 21, 2013 8:26:41 EST PM

Scotch in a Can: Whisky Maker Scottish Spirits adds aluminum siding to liquor

Posted by Bill Gorham on January 4, 2012 at 10:15 AM Comments comments (27)

Scotch in a Can: Whisky Maker Scottish Spirits adds aluminum siding to liquor

Source: Huffington Post




Canned haggis isn't the only aluminum-packaged Scottish export guaranteed to raise eyebrows at a dinner party.

Scotch whisky will soon be sold in a can in the United States, putting a liquor prized for its pedigree and price into a humble container known for its affordability and portability.

"There are many brands on the market and most brands are not created equal," Ken Rubenfeld, vice president of operations for Scottish Spirits Imports, Inc., told The Huffington Post. "But most brands are served as equals in a glass type of vessel."

"Having something that's so creatively different -- it piques the curiosity."

Each can of Scottish Spirits will contain 12 ounces -- about eight shots -- of 80-proof "single grain scotch whisky," distilled and matured for three years in oak casks in Scotland, according to Rubenfeld. The company hopes to have its cans on shelves in major American markets by Feb. 1, retailing for $5 apiece.

Packaging a high-end variety of liquor in what is widely considered to be a low budget container sounds like a novelty. But Rubenfeld insists its convenience -- not comic value -- that will drive sales.

"A lot of people like to have beverages by their pool, on their boat, in a campground, at sporting events or tailgate parties," he said. "It's easier to bring a six pack of a beverage verses bringing a bottle of scotch."

For some, canned beverages carry a low-class stigma. But they don't necessarily mean low quality. In recent years, some microbreweries have turned to cans for reasons including cost, drinkability and sustainability.

"They are opaque, they are completely airtight, and the liners are pretty darn good," said Lew Bryson, managing editor of Whisky Advocate magazine. "It is not going to be affecting the flavor. The problem you run into is who is going to bang out 12 ounces in an evening?"

Unlike bottles, cans cannot be closed after they have been opened. That will force Scottish Spirits drinkers to either finish all 8 shots of the blended scotch in a single occasion, or let some of the booze go to waste.

Critics have argued that eight shots of a beverage with the same alcohol content as venerable scotches including Johnnie Walker Blue and The Glenlivet 12 is too many to be sold in a container that can't be resealed.

But Rubenfeld insists his product does not encourage binge drinking, arguing that consumers will know it should be sipped like Dewars, not gulped like Dr. Pepper.

"We want people to be responsible -- this is 12 fluid ounces of scotch whisky and people should treat it as such," he said. "I would think that your readers and most people of common sense would know that that's a lot of alcohol. They'll crack it open and pour it with Coke or some kind of mixer and have fun with it with their friends."

Soon after the beverage's U.S. release, Scottish Spirits hopes to begin shipping the cans with an attachment that allows them to be resealed, however a spokeswoman said the brand has not yet developed a design for a resealable top that meets company standards. (A can sent to The Huffington Post newsroom did not feature any attachment for resealing the drink).

"When the top is perfected, people will maybe have half a can with their friends and save the rest," said Rubenfeld.

Nearly a year ago, an organization that oversees scotch whisky manufacturing had harsh words for Scottish Spirits, claiming its canned beverage might not qualify as real scotch.

Rubenfeld says his company, which maintains an office in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. and is part of a larger company based in the Cayman Islands, has "worked diligently to meet every requirement" outlined by the Scotch Whisky Association and codified by 2009's Scotch Whisky Regulations.

Campbell Evans, a spokesman for the SWA, could not immediately confirm that Scottish Spirits has achieved certification as a true scotch whisky, stating he has not yet examined the beverage.

But Evans says the packaging isn't the problem.

"There is no reason why a product that is a genuine Single Grain Scotch Whisky cannot be sold in a can," Evans said.

Some whisky experts have reservations about the packaging, but Brad Danler, general manager of the Brooklyn, N.Y. whisky bar and restaurant Char No. 4, says it's what's on the inside that counts.

"I understand why beer makes sense going back into cans, but with whisky it's certainly a surprise," said Danler. "I can't say that it makes much sense to me, but if it is delicious, then I will gladly crack one open and enjoy 12 ounces."

Changes to the Website

Posted by Bill Gorham on July 14, 2011 at 12:42 PM Comments comments (23)

You may or may not have noticed but the Web Page address appears differently now. Now if you use the it will appear as The .webs is no longer required.

Also if you have any questions on the site you can contact me at: [email protected]