RL Seale and Doorly’s Fine Rum

13 January 2010 3:25 pm | Posted by siteadmin

RL Seale is one of Barbados’s oldest trading houses, a family owned business whose involvement in rum-making extends from father-to-son since 1820. Current head distiller, Richard Seale, is one of the region’s most innovative distillers and blenders and has a passion for producing perfect with lots of great flavour.

The Foursquare Distillery occupies the site of a former sugar factory that dates back to 1636 and as one of the most modern and efficient rum distilleries in the world, is designed to be both highly energy efficient and environmentally friendly. The distillery produces light rums in a three-column vacuum still and their much heavier rums in a modern pot still.

The company’s major domestic brand E.S.A. Fields, the Island’s number one selling white rum and for export the Martin Doorly range. They also produce other famous rums, including: Alleyne Arthur, Old Brigand and Foursquare Spiced Rum.

Rum has been produced on the Island of Barbados for more than 300 years, but it was not until the 1906 Rum Duty Act was passed that the industry began to develop as we know it today. Prior to this , distillation took place on many of the plantations, but the new law meant the distilleries had to obtain a licence and could sell only in bulk. Hence many of the Bridgetown trading companies became bottlers, including Martin Doorly and the growth of branded names began.

Martin Doorly evolved into Doorly’s Macaw Rum and became the first bottled rum to be exported from the Island. Doorly’s rums are still famous throughout the world and are made at one of the world’s most modern rum distilleries, Foursquare Distillery.

Doorly’s Macaw white Barbados rum doorleys-white-rum_edited-1is a most refreshing rum and blends well to make some of the worlds finest cocktails.


Doorly’s 5 year old amber rum has age and beauty on its side, well balanced fruits with long lingering vanilla aftertastes.

                             To produce the unique character of img_1129_edited-1Doorly’s XO, very old rums are selected by the master blender and matured for a second time in Spanish oloroso sherry casks, producing a delicious fusing of the complex flavours from the cask and the well-aged rums.






Written by (click for further articles)


6 December 2009 6:40 pm | Posted by siteadmin

The Nikka Whisky Company was founded by Masataka Taketsura, who is widely acknowledged as the father of Japanese whisky. The company has two large distilleries and several blending and bottling plants and is now part of the Asahi Group.

Masataka Taketsuru’s family owned a sake brewery that dated back to 1733. Taught early that sake-making is a painstakingly fine art, Masataka studied diligently and trained as a chemist, preparing to carry on the family trade. However, Scotch Whisky captured the young man’s imagination and he decided to dedicate his life to it.

In 1918, Masataka Taketsuru travelled to Scotland, where he learnt the secrets of whisky-making and met the woman who would become his bride, Jessie Roberta (Rita).

In 1920 Masataka returned to Japan with his new bride and worked with a company to produce Japan’s first whisky. It soon became apparent that to produce whisky the way he felt it should be made, Masataka would have to become independent. In 1934 Masataka established Nikka Whisky and built its first distillery in Yoichi, Hokkaido, which he had always considered to be the ideal whisky-making site in Japan. In the decades since Nikka has become a fixture in Japan, Known for its passion for fine quality and flavour.

 Of Nikka’s two malt whisky distilleries, Yoichi produces rich, peaty and masculine malts.

              img_4941                   “Yoichi 10 Years Old”  gets its distinct aroma and body from direct heating distillation, in which the pot stills are heated with finely powdered natural coal-the traditional method that is rarely used today, not even in Scotland.

In Yoichi, Masataka Taketsura saw numerous reminders of Scotland, and this convinced him that this should be the home of Japanese whisky. Yoichi was selected because of its clean air, perfect humidity for storage and abundant underground water supply filtered through a layer of peat. Additionally, its location only a kilometre from the sea gives its whiskies a light salty note.


Our range of fine whiskies from Nikka include their top quality blends as well as the many world renoun single malts as follows:

img_1307_edited-1 Nikka Single Malt “Miyagikyou” 10 Yrs Old

  img_6384Nikka Single Malt “Yoichi” 15 Yrs Old

  img_1314_edited-1Nikka Single Malt “Taketsuru” 17 Yrs Old







 img_1306_edited-1Nikka All Malt

  img_6386Nikka from the Barrel

  img_63881Nikka Pure Malt, Black Label

  img_1312_edited-11Nikka Pure Malt, Red Label

 img_7659Nikka Pure Malt,White Label




Written by (click for further articles)

Fine and Traditional Absinthes from Alexander Hadleigh

13 November 2009 11:55 am | Posted by siteadmin


Absinthe takes its name from Artemisia absinthium, the botanical name for the bitter wormwood , known in french as “Grande absinthe”. This ingredient of the liquor absinthe also contains the molecule thujone, which supposedly accounts for its alleged mind altering properties. Wormwood infusions had been known as a medicine as far back as Greek times however it was not until around 1792 that the alcohol elixir was supposedly created. Pierre Ordinaire, a French Doctor living in Switzerland, distilled the wormwood plant in alcohol with anise, hyssop, lemon balm and other local herbs. According to popular legend,Ordinaire actually obtained his recipe from the local Henriod sisters, who had been making an ” elixir d’absynthe” to treat illnesses for years. The tonic, quite powerful at around 72% alcohol, was locally heralded as a medical cure-all. The recipe was in turn passed on to a Major Dubied, whose son-in -law was Henri-Louis Pernod. What ever the truth behind its origins, absinthe stopped being a local curiosity and started on its route to becoming an international phenomenon in 1797 with the foundation of their new distillery in Couvet, Switzerland. In 1805, the famous Pernod Fils distillery expanded and opened in Pontarlier, France to avoid customs taxes between Switzerland and France. By 1905, there were hundreds of distilleries in all corners of France producing absinthe, with over 40 distilleries operating across the Swiss border in the French Jura region, 22 of which were located within the town of Pontarlier, itself producing 7,000,000 litres a year from 151 stills. The success of the highly regarded Pontarlier brands brought many imitators and profiteers soon introduced cheaper, adulterated and even poisonous imitations onto the market that were in turn partially responsible for the reputation that absinthe gained for causing delirium and madness in those who drank it.

Originally, absinthe gained its popularity from its use in North Africa during the French campaignes of the 1840’s as a disease preventative and water purifier. The French soldiers brought their taste for the herbal beverage back to the cafes of Paris. Here it became a fashionable drink of the bourgeoisie, so much so that the time between 5.00pm and 7.00pm became known as “l’heure verte” (the Green Hour), and absinthe soon became the most popular aperitif in France. From the mid 19th Century onwards absinthe became associated with bohemian Paris and featured frequently in the paintings of such artists as Manet, Van Gogh and Picasso. When they were not painting it, they were drinking it in large quantities, joined by contempory poets such as Baudelaire, Rimbaud and Verlaine – who practically made a career out of it. Absinthe production grew so much that it became cheaper than wine. Between 1876 and 1900 the annual consumption in France had rocketed from 1,000,000 litres to 21,000,000 litres. It is no exaggeration to compare the impact of banning absinthe to the effect that the banning of Scotch Whisky would have on Scotland.

So, if absinthe was so popular, why was it banned? there were a number of reasons. It got caught up in the temperance movement that was sweeping Europe at the beginning of the 20th Century and became the scapegoat for all alcohol; findings were published shwing that thujone was a neurtoxin in extremely large quantities (albiet more than was found in even 150 glasses of absinthe) which caused convulsions and death in laboratory animals. Pressure also came from the wine producers who saw its popularity as a threat to their sales, which had been badly hit by the spread of the phylloxera louse that destroyed most of France’s vineyards by 1890. Another nail was driven in the coffin with the lurid ‘Absinthe Murder’ which took place in Switzerland in 1905 when one monsieur Lanfray shot his entire family after drinking absinthe. The fact that he had also consumed several litres of wine and a considerable amount of brandy was overlooked by the prohibitionists and by 1910 absinthe was banned in Switzerland. The constant bad press came from across the Atlantic and an anti-absinthe novel titled “Wormwood, a drama of Paris” penned by Marie Corelli ( who would be considered the Belle Epoque Danielle Steele) caused a furor in the United States. Absinthe was mostly consumed in ‘cosmopolitan’ cities like San Francisco, New Orleans, Chicago and New York and the scandalous stories that spread across the American heartland prompted its banning nationwide in 1912. Finally , in 1915, absinthe was banned in France, but it took a military order to do it.

Contrary to popular belief, absinthe was never banned in the United Kingdom, Spain or Portugal.


Some of our collection of Absinthe for you to savoir

    Absinthe Brevans, Matter-Luginbuhl, Switzerland absinthe-brevans3

 absinthe-clandestine1 Absinthe Clandestine, Claude Alain Bugnon, Switzerland  


absinthe-coquetteAbsinthe La Coquette, Paul Devoille, France  

 spir13Absinthe La Fee Bohemian, Czech Republic


Absinthe Montmarte, Fischer, Austria 


 Absinthe NV, La Fee, France 










Written by (click for further articles)

Great Armagnac — Domaine Boingneres

21 August 2009 3:49 pm | Posted by siteadmin

Originally founded in 1807 by Jean Boingneres it has for six generations steadfastly maintained the often difficult path of never producing anything but the best armagnacs.

However, it was not until 1953 that the style of armagnacs began to change forever as Leon Lafitte took over the estate when his father-in-law died. He first expanded the vineyard area and second sold bottle stock directly to all the famous restaurants in France, where Boingneres reputation soon became second to none.

He later replanted the vineyards with his favourite grape varieties, principally folle blanche with some ugni blanc and colombard, for which he coined the phrase “Cepages Nobles”. He then built a new press house and ageing cellar and in 1975 a new still was purpose built by Ster to give the greatest extraction of flavour from the wines.

Today Martine Laffite carries on the Boingneres tradition of excellence. The Boingneres armagnacs are distilled to 52% (allowing the maximum of congeners to pass over into the spirit) and then aged in a very specific manner. Half of the new spirit is put into new charred casks of local oak — up to 15 casks per year — and aged for two years, before it is transferred to older wood. The other half goes into two year- old barrels where it remains until required for blending and bottling. No blending of vintages is done after the sixth year and the seperate varieties are carefully watched until Martine Laffite decides which proportion to blend together, or if the spirits should remain separate.

The Laffite family considers armagnac the noblest of products, a masterpiece. Perfection is the family’s everyday quest and this starts with the inimitable terroir of the domaine. The estate is situated in the commune of Le Freche, where the soil, a narrow strip of land only 25km by 8km, is dotted with springs and sheltered by the landes Forest. This small piece of the Bas Armagnac has soil of particular lightness, a siliceous clay mixed with sand and iron elements where only the finest brandies are produced.





 Armagnac Ugni Blanc 1976

Produced from Ugni Blanc grapes which give a
 very fine type of spirit. Distilled using a Sier still
which captures all the fine aromas of the wine.
Careful aging begins with half the spirit in new
wood then in older wood, the other half in two
year old barrels until blending and bottling.
Once the Armagnac has been bottled , it stops
aging, hence the importance of the bottling
date on a vintage Armagnac.

 Armagnac Cepages Nobles 1985

Produced from Jean Boingneres favourite grape
varieties mainly Folle Blanche with some Colombard
and Ugni Blanc . Powerful dried fruit flavours with
rich spicy depth and an  amazing length on the finish ,
lots of complexity and balance.   




Armagnac Folle Blanche 1984

Vanilla, spice with citrus touches and violets on the
nose, a softer influence of the Folle Blanche grape comes
through with lighter spicier fruits, some  preserved plum
and a touch of candied orange peel. Elegant long finish
with a little fire




Armagnac Domaine Boingneres

Produced from Cepages Nobles-Folle Blanche,
Ugni Blanc and Colombard, this big flavoured  
armagnac has been specially crafted, aged and
blended for the greatest extraction of fine fruity








One can be taken aback by the strength and intensity of an unreduced Armagnac, particulary when relatively young (less than 15 years old) unless it is tasted in a specific way.

In order to appreciate its fullness and finesse, I recommend that after pouring a small quantity into a suitable glass , you wait a few minutes, aerating the liquid in the glass, then you should nose it gently to take in  the complexity of its bouquet.

Then moisten your tongue with a few drops and “chew” on them with your mouth closed so as to line the tastebuds before you swallow.

Armagnac will give as much pleasure to the nose as to the palate. It should be nosed proportionately much more than drunk and the final pleasure is always to smell the empty glass, so so satisfactory.

This is how you will get to know a Bas-Armagnac: its cleanness, its finesse, its many flavours (prune, violet and quince among others). Its lenth on the palate, its elegance, in short its class and breeding. 





Written by (click for further articles)

Fine Whiskies from Bruichladdich

15 June 2009 2:45 pm | Posted by siteadmin

There are a huge range of malt whiskies on the market these days, and one of the notable aspects of this, is the diverse range of styles of whisky, dependent upon location and production. Within this, many distilleries develop, along with their traditional styles many experimental casks and bottlings, thus consistently challenging our taste buds, and perceptions of whisky as a whole. One of the distilleries at the forefront of such experimentation is Bruichladdich, who produce an excellent standard range alongside many limited bottlings of very differing whiskies.

The Bruichladdich distillery began in 1881 and produced traditional Islay style whiskies until 1994 when, due to various buy outs, the distillery was closed. This remained the case until 2000, when a group of investors purchased the distillery, renovated and updated the place and reopened in 2001. The new owners pride themselves on Bruichladdich being Scotland’s ‘purest malt,’ free from chill filtration, colouring and homogenisation. Due to the nature of Bruichladdich’s production and experimentation some of the whiskies in this blog are very limited, but were all available at the time of writing.

For an excellent introduction to this distillery’s offerings, the Bruichladdich Waves 7 Years Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky, is bursting with cranberry, vanilla, raisin and peat smoke and is an exquisite round Islay style but with a soft mouthfeel.

 Bruichladdich Second Edition 12 Years Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky is matured in bourbon casks which give this malt a strong creamy vanilla tang. This is a light style of Islay though and as such works well as an aperitif.

A couple of further aged bottlings which are excellent include the Bruichladdich Second Edition 15 Years Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky, which has a delicate coastal nose, with hints of apricots, followed up on the palate by marmalade and pepper. This is a restrained Islay, and an elegant offering from the range. The Bruichladdich Single Malt Scotch Whisky 20 Years Old, likewise has an elegance and youthfulness which defies its age, but has a more buttery palate and a concentrated yet distant hint of smoke, a most luxurious and succulent malt.

For those who prefer a richer, rounder style of malt, try the Bruichladdich Single Malt Scotch Whisky 18 Years Old.  This fantastic dram is aged in bourbon casks for 18 years before further ageing in auslese and pinot noir casks, resulting in a remarkably fruity and complex whisky with a hint of sweetness balancing the gentle smoke.

Bruichladdich Infinity Single Malt Scotch Whisky is a crisp yet fruity style with smooth pear notes intermingled with smoke and vanilla. This is a blended malt from the distillery and perhaps has a more typical Islay style due to the pronounced peat.

Of very limited quantities, the Bruichladdich Single Malt Scotch Whisky 16 Years Old Cuvee  Margaux  is a bourbon aged malt which is then introduced to further ageing in Chateau Margaux casks. Part of the ‘Bordeaux first growth’ series this is lightly peated with vanilla tones and a wine fruit character.

The highest echelon in the Bruichladdich range is the ‘legacy series,’ highly limited  malts which date from the pre 2000 purchase of the distillery. These are of course no longer in production and most of them are now sold out. The whiskies are presented in beautiful tins depicting paintings by the artist Frances Mcdonald. Two special examples of these are the Bruichladdich Single Malt Scotch Whisky 32 Years Old Legacy Series Four, which is sublimely soft sweet and fruity with an integration of honey and almonds, and a pleasing oak backbone. There were just 900 bottles of this made.

 Bruichladdich Single Malt Scotch Whisky , Legacy Series Six 34 Years Old is a marriage of casks dating from 1965, 1970 and 1970, and is an incredibly mellow dram with hints of cinnamon spice, vanilla and mint, and is a collectors dream. This is the last of the legacy series and there were 1700 bottles made.

Other limited Bruichladdich bottlings include the impressive Bruichladdich Redder Still Single Malt Scotch Whisky. This is a 22 year old malt aged in bourbon casks before enhancement in Chateau Lafleur Pomerol casks. Smooth and silky with hints of red fruit and vanilla, with a lovely malted barley finish, this malt is recommended with a drop of spring water (it is cask strength at 50.5%), to really expose the layers of nuanced character.

For those who would like to sample a real pile driver from the distillery, try to get your hands on the powerful Bruichladdich Port Charlotte PC6 Single Malt Scotch Whisky, which is packed with smouldering peat, bonfire smoke and sweet citrus.  This is simply an awesome expression of what Islay malt is all about, but retains the innovative character that this brilliant distillery prides itself on.

Any of these malts will give whisky connoisseurs great pleasure, and due to the continual developments of the distillery, and the diversity of the products on offer, I would strongly recommend regular visits to the Alexander Hadleigh website, to ensure one does not miss out on new and limited bottlings when they are released.











Written by (click for further articles)
« Older Posts