“40 Something” #WhiskyTasting featured 6 different whisky expressions, all at the age of 40+ years.

Although I started working in bars/ lounges more than 40 years ago, I only started tasting/ appreciating whisky in earnest about 2 decades ago, so I’m a relatively late-starter.

But I learned a lot very quickly thanks to wonderful teachers along the way.
One of the recommendations I received about 5 years ago:
“Leave some whisky in the glass & return to it to nose it again. Observe how/ if it develops with time in the glass”.

The 40 Something expressions almost all told a different story on Monday morning compared to the Saturday night when they were poured.

The Cameronbridge (54.1% abv) and the Invergordon (50% abv) – both 40yo single grain spirit – developed more sweetness, the Port Ellen was amazing, while the others remained the same. All were delicious during the tasting.

1977 Canadian Club 40yr. 45% abv – Canada
1978 Cameronbridge 40yr. 54.1% abv Single Grain – Scotland
1974 Invergordon 40yr. 50% abv Single Grain – Scotland
1975 Benromach 45yr. 42.1% abv Heritage – Scotland
1972 Coleburn 47yr. 62.4% abv 125th Anniversary – Scotland
1979 Port Ellen 40yr. 49.6% abv – Scotland

Port Ellen 40yo (49.6 abv) developed in a very interesting way.
The night of the tasting (Sat. April 10/21), the dominant aroma was floral (violet) followed by chocolate.
This morning (Mon. Apr 12/21) when I nosed the remains in the glass, there was cedar (wood) hay, grass & cereal. Just a beautiful dram.

BTW, for those who attended the tasting, you may notice that I created my own tasting mat.
I have a very specific routine for whisky-flight set-up, preferring the arch sequence from left to right.
This provides space for note-taking when I hear other participants state descriptors.
My own notes always go into a Hilroy notebook.

In addition, I’m a big believer in having the date of the tasting immortalized on the tasting mat.
In terms of advertising & promotion, I like how the Whisky Drop logo serves as the perfect landing spot for each of the Glencairns.

 Award-Winning Speyside Distillery Offers Fans an Opportunity to Explore a Multitude of Layers of Flavor From a Variety of Eclectic Casks

Benriach Distillery, located in Scotland’s Speyside region, prides itself on having a distinctive flavor-forward portfolio of single malt Scotch whiskies. Following a successful launch and redesign in September 2020 of its core expressions, Benriach is proud to share three new ultra premium offerings available beginning in early February nationwide. 

Benriach Twenty One, Twenty Five and Thirty Year Old Single Malts bring an extremely rare opportunity to discover the exquisite integration of flavor resulting from decades of maturation. Matured in a diverse selection of highly distinctive oak casks and combined with complex layers of refined and mellow smoke, each aged expression has been meticulously composed for aromatic finesse, sumptuous richness, and deep mellow maturity.

The Twenty One
Four cask matured: Bourbon, Sherry, Virgin Oak and Red Wine

The Twenty One

Tasting Notes
Color: Honey gold
Nose: Berry fruit, orchard apple, wild honey and mountain oak spice
Palate: Candied grape, rich cocoa, smoked pine nut
Finish:  Caramelized pear and honey smoke
Smoke: Elegant 

The Twenty Five
Four cask matured: Bourbon, Sherry, Virgin Oak and Madeira Wine

The Twenty Five

Tasting Notes:
Color:  Deep amber
Nose: Smoked apricot, dark cherry chocolate, hazelnut   toffee
Palate: Baked fruit, toasted oak spice, orange and cinnamon spice
Finish: Rich caramelized smoke
Smoke: Mellow

The Thirty
Four cask matured: Bourbon, Sherry, Virgin Oak and Port

The Thirty

Tasting Notes:
Color: Mahogany
Nose: Stewed plum, baked orange, smoked walnut, and cinnamon cocoa
Palate: Dark fruit, manuka honey and chocolate raisin
Finish: Long and complex smoked honey finish
Smoke: Complex

“It’s a real honor to be able to offer our fans an opportunity to experience the diversity and versatility of Benriach’s orchard fruit-laden style, elevated by a longer maturation time,”
said Rachel Barrie, Benriach Master Blender.
“These older expressions are a beautiful reflection of the landscape around the distillery with intriguing, luxurious layers of flavor imparted by the eclectic casks sourced from around the world. The refreshed Benriach range is for those open to new possibilities, building on a wealth of experience and tradition. I invite the drinker to join me on this creative journey, as we explore the lush rewards of single malt whisky.”

The newly-released expressions are a continuation of the distillery’s core range, The Original Ten, The Smoky Ten, The Twelve and The Smoky Twelve, which were also artistically crafted by the Master Blender and her team. 

Over 120 years since it was established, Benriach is also expected to unveil its first official visitor center to the public later this year, allowing visitors from around the world to explore this Speyside whisky gem.

For more information for all of the new Benriach expressions, visit

About Benriach Distillery

A Speyside Single Malt Scotch Whisky as intriguing and extraordinary as Benriach could not have come to be without a unique whisky making heritage, dating from 1898, when founder John Duff built his distillery. Ruggedly beautiful, Benriach stands on the site of the old Riach farm in north Speyside, drawing water from a mineral-rich aquifer, deep beneath the distillery.

Thanks to a long-standing tradition of distilling three styles of whisky; classic unpeated, Highland peated and triple distilled, together with an eclectic selection of casks from around the world, our whisky makers are able to explore the full flavor possibilities of Single Malt, creating some of the richest, most multi-layered whiskies in Speyside.

This tradition continues today, under the guidance of Master Blender, Rachel Barrie.
Benriach is the story of a hidden Speyside gem, quietly revealing its treasures to be discovered and savored. 

Please Drink Responsibly.

Imported by Brown-Forman Beverages, Louisville, KY.

Benriach is a registered trademark. ©2021 Benriach. All rights reserved.

Woodford Reserve has released its oldest bourbon yet — Woodford Reserve Very Fine Rare Bourbon — as part of the distillery’s highly-anticipated 2020 Master’s Collection.

For this limited-selection and one-time-only product, Master Distiller Chris Morris and Assistant Master Distiller Elizabeth McCall used very rare barrels of Woodford Reserve to debut a new, modern bottle design. 

The bourbon includes liquid from barrels that are 17 years old and date to 2003, the year Chris Morris was named Master Distiller.
Morris and McCall have been holding back the barrels to batch with other barrels for a special release.

The name Very Fine Rare Bourbon is a nod to the descriptors used by our ancestors to auction highly-aged Bourbon barrel lots,” Morris said. “While Woodford Reserve will always honor the past, this Master’s Collection is about the present and future.” 

This year’s expression marks the 15th release of the Master’s Collection, which was created to honor the many discoveries and innovations that occurred at the 1812 distillery site where Woodford Reserve is now located.  Starting with the 2020 edition, all future master’s collections will focus on modern innovation by Morris and McCall.

The original Master’s Collection bottle design was shaped like a pot-still, an ode to the pot stills used for distillation at Woodford Reserve Distillery.
The new design references the classic and iconic flask-shaped Woodford bottle.

McCall said this Master’s Collection has special meaning for her and for Woodford Reserve.
It  is the first time her name will appear on the bottle hang tag since being named Assistant Master Distillery in 2018. 

What a fitting tribute to use these oldest barrels of Woodford Reserve to celebrate Chris Morris’ legacy while also looking to the future, “ McCall said. 

Tasting Notes: 

Color: Burnt Sienna

Aroma: Layers of rich oak sweet aromatic notes, caramel, brown sugar, chocolate, vanilla merge into a cured tobacco character brightened with apple fruit

Flavor: Very old oak notes sweetened with honey balanced by a touch of citrus and apple peel and a touch of clove spice

Finish:  A long finish of raisin fruit and malty sweetness 

This limited-edition Master’s Collection arrives at 90.4 proof and is available in select U.S. and global markets with a suggested retail price of $129.99USD for a 750ml bottle.

About Woodford Reserve:

Tucked in the heart of thoroughbred country in Versailles, Kentucky lives the historic Woodford Reserve Distillery, the birthplace of Woodford Reserve. A National Historic Landmark, the Woodford Reserve Distillery represents craftsmanship with a balance of historic heritage and modern practices. Woodford Reserve is a product of the Brown-Forman Corporation, a premier producer and marketer of fine quality beverage alcohol brands including Jack Daniel’s, Finlandia, Korbel, Tequila Herradura, Sonoma-Cutrer, and Chambord. Please enjoy your bourbon responsibly. To learn more about Woodford Reserve, visit uswww.woodfordreserve.com or www.facebook.com/woodfordreserve.

Woodford Reserve Very Fine Rare Bourbon

Plasencia Cigars, a world-leading premium tobacco grower, announces the release of the limited edition the “Year of the Ox”. 
It’s a limited edition with only 2,500 eight-count boxes of the 7 x 58 Salomon vitola. It will be exclusive to the international market.

Plasencia “Year of the Ox”

The cigar brand commemorates the Chinese New Year this coming February 12, 2021, which is the start of the “Year of the Ox”.

Oxen is an important animal in Chinese culture because of its role in agriculture. They are recognized for their hardworking, honest, and humble disposition. Never the center of attention, and never looking for praise, the Ox gains its recognition through its labor.

The Plasencia family felt it important to recognize the hard-working agriculturists and farmers, who – like the Ox – are never the center of attention but continue to be the backbone of the cigar industry.

Growing tobacco since 1865, the Plasencia family felt that creating the “Year of the Ox” would perfectly align with their traditions and passion for tobacco. 

The Plasencia Cigars Master Blending team worked tirelessly to create this cigar, using leaf from the Plasencia family’s vast library of tobacco.

This Nicaraguan puro offers a distinctive smoking experience.
A medium-strength, full flavoured cigar, the smoker of the “Year of the Ox” will experience initial notes of cashews, red berries, and final notes of milky chocolate, with hints of peppermint.  

Plasencia Cigars CEO Nestor Andres Plasencia stated:
The “Year of the Ox” is dedicated to the hard-working people who are in the trenches, cultivating the very tobacco we used in this blend.
We at the Plasencia family consider ourselves farmers first.
Since 1865, our family has gained invaluable tobacco knowledge, born of unwavering hard work and dedication.
The Year of the Ox” celebrates that passion.” 

Plasencia Year of the Ox is limited in production; only 20,000 cigars have been created. Housed in stunning eight (8) count boxes designed to honour the upcoming Chinese Year of the Ox. 
MSRP: $35 per cigar
$280 per 8 count boxes. 

For more information, visit: www.plasenciacigars.com, and follow @PlasenciaCigars on social media.


Plasencia Cigars is one of the world’s leading growers of first-class tobacco. The Plasencia family has been pioneering the industry since 1865 when Don Eduardo Plasencia began growing tobacco in Cuba, and five generations of the Plasencia family have continued the legacy. 
Today, Plasencia Cigars produces more than 35 million handmade cigars per year, and harvests tobacco on more than 3,000 acres across several countries in Central America, including Nicaragua, Honduras, Costa Rica, and Panama.


Joya de Nicaragua was one of the locations I visited during Puro Sabor 2016. It was a memorable experience – one which I will dedicate an entire post to in the near future.
For now, I want to share this portion of a newsletter recently received from JdN.
It’s a reminder the cigar brands we love today haven’t always been available.

It’s a reminder that we have to protect premium cigars.

Dear amigos, our history has been a turbulent yet rewarding journey. In 1985, our country faced an embargo that prohibited our cigars from entering the United States. But, from that obstacle, we found an opportunity on having Europe as one of our greatest allies. Commemorating the resiliency of Joya de Nicaragua thirty-five years ago, the company is proud to introduce ​Cinco Décadas El Embargo.

THE 1980S

Two events were fundamental in shaping our country’s history during that decade: the civil war and the economic embargo declared by the United States. The embargo became an enormous obstacle for every Nicaraguan product, as they were prohibited from entering the US Market. However, instead of giving up, we did what Nicaraguans do best: we forge ahead a new path for us.

“The embargo was one of those hard situations we confronted, but one that in retrospect allowed Joya de Nicaragua to establish itself as a truly global brand.” – Dr. Alejandro Martínez Cuenca.

With its primary market forbidden indefinitely, Joya de Nicaragua had to seek alternatives to sell its cigars. This is how Europe became of our greatest partners, emerging as the first brand of Nicaraguan cigars to be enjoyed in the old world. After that, becoming one of the best known Nicaraguan brands around the globe.


This limited 152 mm x 60 Gigante masterpiece, we bring to our European friends a token of gratitude for opening their arms to us during those years.

Released in 2018 to commemorate fifty years of cigar manufacturing, Cinco Décadas El Embargo continues to pay tribute to our milestones as a company and the events that have made and shaped who we are today.


Join Joya de Nicaragua online celebration, follow their social media channels!

Facebook: @joyacigars

Instagram: @joyacigars

Twitter: @joyacigars

Protect Premium Cigars.
Join Cigar Rights of America.

Ahead of the holiday season, Woodford Reserve announces the release of its annual holiday bottle, which this year features the festive artwork by renowned UK-based architect Nick Hirst.

Woodford Reserve “Winter Slumber”

Hirst’s serene painting “Winter Slumber” captures the contrast between the warm, wooden interior of the historic warehouse at Woodford Reserve, and the stone exterior of the building.
This snowy scene, recognizable to all guests who have visited Woodford Reserve over the last 24 years, celebrates the fact that whiskey ages year-around, regardless of weather.

Nick Hirst effortlessly captures the distillery with an artful elegance and architect’s eye,” said Woodford Reserve Master Distiller Chris Morris. 

At Woodford Reserve, I was looking for an opportunity to compare the colder exteriors to the warm interiors of the older buildings, while continuing to ‘tell the story’ of how the whiskey was made” explains Hirst. “There was also a strong connection between the color of the rich wooden interiors of some of the buildings and the color of the bottle itself. The stone walls of the barrel store, with the barrel run leading into the wooden interior, was an ideal composition.

Specializing in historic buildings, Hirst has worked for 20 years in sites across the world from North Africa to the Middle East and Russia, identifying and analyzing the unique qualities of each building by drawing and sketching. His work has previously exhibited at the prestigious Royal Academy and Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolour in London.

The “Winter Slumber” painting is based on a few preliminary pencil sketches from his visit to the distillery in Versailles, Kentucky, later laid onto a handmade watercolor paper with the detail added with gouache and pen-work.

“As I worked on the painting, I kept a bottle of Woodford Reserve on the drawing board, as a reminder of the color palette.
Inevitably the bottle made its way into a drawing,” Hirst said. 

About Woodford Reserve:

Tucked in the heart of thoroughbred country in Versailles, Kentucky lives the historic Woodford Reserve Distillery, the birthplace of Woodford Reserve. A National Historic Landmark, the Woodford Reserve Distillery represents craftsmanship with a balance of historic heritage and modern practices. Woodford Reserve is a product of the Brown-Forman Corporation, a premier producer and marketer of fine quality beverage alcohol brands including Jack Daniel’s, Finlandia, Korbel, Tequila Herradura, Sonoma-Cutrer, and Chambord. Please enjoy your bourbon responsibly. To learn more about Woodford Reserve, visit us www.woodfordreserve.com or www.facebook.com/woodfordreserve.

Since 2011, Cigar Rights of America has been leading the effort to
protect your right to enjoy a premium cigar.  

As CRA prepares to continue this campaign in 2021 and the 117th Congress, we wanted to share with you some outstanding news regarding members of the CRA lobby team. 

Last week, the National Institute for Lobbying and Ethics (“NILE”) awarded its annual top lobbying/lobbyist accolades in Washington, DC. 

What makes these awards unique is that peer lobbyists make the nomination/selection.  

Accordingly, these awards reflect the respect that fellow lobbyists have for others in their field.  

 CRA Legislative Director Mike Copperman was a finalist for Top Lobbyist of the Year.  
Mike has led the CRA legislative team in Washington since it first opened its office.  One of the nominators wrote: “Mike led the development and implementation of a multi-year legislative and regulatory advocacy campaign that ultimately led to this year’s (court) victory for the industry he represents.”

 CRA Lobbyist Dennis Potter of K&L Gates was named Top Lobbyist in the large firm category.  
Dennis has been a part of the CRA lobby team for many years and has led numerous legislative efforts in Congress and the Executive Branch that are integral to CRA’s legislative success. 

Additionally, a lobbyist at Cornerstone Government Affairs was also awarded Top Lobbyist in 2020.  
Cornerstone Government Affairs serves as CRA’s main senate lobby shop and is led by Paul DiNino.  
Paul has been an invaluable member to the CRA lobby team and has led our successful outreach in Congress and multiple Administrations.  His advocacy work has been critically important to limiting the impact of legislation that negatively affects premium cigars. 

The successes of CRA’s lobby team and the recognition by their peers of their work reflects the years of dedicated work the team has put in to protecting your rights to enjoy premium cigars

CRA congratulates Top Lobbyist of the Year award nominee, Mike Copperman, Lobbyist of the Year, winner, Large Firm, Dennis Potter of K&L Gates and Paul DiNino, of Cornerstone Government Affairs, whose firm had a Lobbyist of the Year award winner.

** Information courtesy of Cigar Rights of America.


Great news from the Premium Cigar Association!

Joshua Habursky now oversees all government relations operations as the new Head of Government affairs.
Glynn Loope, former Executive Director of the Cigar Rights of America, will be assisting PCA as an advisor to state government affairs.

Glynn brings a wealth of industry experience and has been working closely with Josh and me developing state and regional training models. It will be a huge help to have his advice and insights as we work through some unprecedented challenges in the States
said PCA Executive Director Scott Pearce

In addition to Loope, the PCA has enlisted the services of graduate intern Ryan Parada, a current graduate student at Johns Hopkins University. Parada will be a research assistant and work on projects to help provide quality information to assist in tax and smoking ban legislation. 

Patrick Anderson of Proventure Consultants will re-engage with PCA as a general consultant on both federal and state affairs as we head into the new year. PCA will evaluate additional consultants and programs on a case by case basis and will look to attack key threats in states that present credible threats to the premium cigar industry.

The team of in-house lobbyists and consultants will also work with PCA marketing and communications to build new member content, podcasts, interviews, and virtual/live events. 

It is important that we build a team that can tackle that variety of issues that we will face at the federal and state levels. We feel confident that the experience, demonstrated success, and aggressive approach will serve our member well and protect the industry from retailers to manufacturers to consumers,” said Pearce. “It is imperative that the PCA is poised and ready to not only fight back, but to be proactive in making continuous progress for the industry.”

“The Premium Cigar Association (PCA) is the leading authority and advocate for the premium cigar and pipe retailer industry. The PCA is dedicated to the current and future success of brick and mortar premium tobacconists.
Founded in 1933 as the Retail Tobacco Dealers of America, the PCA is the largest, most active, and longest-running trade association representing and assisting premium tobacco retailersmanufacturers, and partners in the industry.
We offer premier services in educationadvocacy, and business development, helping protect our members’ businesses from unfair regulations while simultaneously helping them grow and succeed.”

2021 PCA Annual Convention and Trade Show will take place July 9—13, 2021at the Sands Venetian Resort in Las Vegas, Nevada! 

Premium Cigar Association

News from Nicaragua:
Despite the impact of Hurricane Eta, a category 4 hurricane, the 2020-2021 tobacco harvest was not damaged”

The Nicaraguan Chamber of Tobacco tells us they’ve done an evaluation with the tobacco producers in Esteli and have determined the 2020-2021 Nicaragua tobacco harvest was safe from Hurricane Eta

But Nicaragua is now preparing for the impact of Hurricane Iota – also a category 4 hurricane – which is expected to hit Monday November 16, 2020.

The biggest challenge now facing tobacco producers in that Central America country is the amount of rainfall associated with those hurricanes.

The ground is saturated” said Claudio Sgroi, President of the Nicaraguan Chamber of Tobacco, “the rain that is expected now will not help”

The Nicaraguan Chamber of Tobacco is an organization established in 2008 that represents the interests of the most important tobacco and cigar producers in Nicaragua.

Its 27 members represent 95% of the total national production of tobacco and cigars. In the last decade, Nicaragua has stood out as one of the largest producers of tobacco and cigars in the world.

Different brands manufactured in Nicaragua have been recognized by magazines and experts as the best in the world.