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Fall Preview: Binny’s Handpicked Casks


The Whiskey Hotline hit the road this year. We’ve been all over the country and all over the world in search of casks of the finest spirits around. When we find the best of the best, we claim them as our own and call them Binny’s Handpicked Casks. Watch for these selections over the next few months:


Binny's Handpicked Casks

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The Glenlivet Single Malt: Nights of Passage


Glenlivet is touring the country to share their delicious Single Malts. The Glenlivet Masters of Scotch will lead a presentation on the Glenlivet brand, the product, the production. You’ll taste three of their flavorful Single Malts, including the 12, 15 and 18 year. It’s free, all you have to do is sign up.


Glenlivet Tasting at Binny's

More info after the jump! Read more

Glenmorangie Seminar Featuring Companta


Here’s your opportunity to hear from one of the most highly regarded whisky experts in the industry. Known in the malt whisky industry as the pioneer of wood management, Dr. Bill Lumsden has produced some the most iconic whiskies in the single malt market. Details after the jump.


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Free Johnnie Walker Blue Label Bottle Etching


It’s something of an annual tradition here at Binny’s Beverage Depot. In the weeks leading up to the holidays, Johnnie Walker sends out engraving experts who will custom etch your bottle of Johnnie Walker Blue Label. Right there, at Binny’s. For free. Well, you do have to buy the bottle. Did we mention they’re pouring samples of Johnnie Walker Platinum too?


That makes a great gift for the Scotch lover even more special! But you have to be here in time to catch the etching crew. Binny’s locations, dates and times after the jump…


Johnnie Walker Blue Label Binny's Etching


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Balvenie Roadshow and Tasting


Here’s an event that will appeal to those who appreciate a fine Scotch, and also to those who appreciate a fine automobile.

Balvenie Roadshow & Tasting
Wednesday, May 2nd 5-8pm
Binny’s Chicago – Lakeview
A FREE event

Balvenie Brand ambassadors Nicholas Pollacchi and Andrew Weir are making their way across the U.S. in a custom built Morgan sports car in search of people who still use their hands to lovingly craft unique products – the way things used to be made. Oh yeah, and also to give people tastes from the range of Balvenie expressions, of course.

This is their second annual Rare Craft Roadshow, and their second to make a stop at a Binny’s store, and last year’s appearance at our Lincoln Park store was a great time. Don’t miss this opportunity!

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Glenmorangie Seminar with Dr. Bill Lumsden


   Spirits lovers, Scotch lovers, fans of malt whisky. You must save the date of Thursday, February 9th for this can’t-miss seminar:


Glenmorangie Seminar
with Dr. Bill Lumsden
Thursday, February 9th, 6 – 7:30 pm
Binny’s Lincoln Park
$15/$10 with Binny’s Card
RSVP: 312.664.4394

   This is going to be a really cool seminar. The event will feature the benchmark Glenmorangie portfolio, including the brand new, limited-edition Glenmorangie Artein. More on that below. Our host will be Dr. Bill Lumsden, Head of Distilling & Whisky Creation at Glenmorangie. Lumsden has revolutionized wood aging program with lots of experimental and exotic casks and has left his fingerprint on the Glenmorangie portfolio.

   The new Glenmorangie Artein prominently carries a “15 Years Old” age statement. It is two thirds 15 years old whisky with an additional third aged 21 years and includes maturation in Super-Tuscan wine casks. The result is a complex and nuanced whisky with notes of berry fruits, honeysuckle, mint, roasted chocolate and more. It’s a limited release that collectors are sure to buy up. Don’t miss your chance to taste Artein and more at this seminar event!

Binny’s Mailbag: Getting into Scotch


We answer a lot of questions from The Binny’s Mailbag, and it seems like a common theme is getting one’s foot in the door to the world of Scotch. For example:



   I have always enjoyed bourbon but have recently been intrigued by single malt scotch. Admittedly I don’t have much knowledge about scotch. That being said I am hoping that you could give some background knowledge on scotch and give me a few ideas as where to start (i.e. what is a good beginner scotch and possibly some other single malts to start).

Thanks a lot,



Hi M,

   We always recommend starting a voyage through single malts with some whiskies from Speyside or the Highlands. You’ll find a great amount of variety in the flavor and profile of single malts depending on the region of Scotland that they come from. Generally malts from these regions won’t be peaty or smokey and will focus more on fruity, floral, and caramel/toffee flavors.

   Age matters with Scotch, but not as much as some people insist. You can find some great introductions to the style in Glenlivet 12 year, Glenfiddich 12 year, and Glenmorangie 10 year. Glenlivet is soft and floral, Glenfiddich is slightly fuller and finishes with some spice, and Glenmorangie is sweet and smooth.

   When you’re tasting whisky, try to take note of the specific flavors or characteristics you like, and those you don’t. Being aware of this will help you narrow down what you really like and guide you when you pick out your next bottle.

   Let us know how it goes! Cheers!

 – Binny’s Mailbag

Binny’s Mailbag: Top Ten “Smooth Sweet” Scotches


We’ve been opening up the Binny’s Mailbag for a while now – giving you the chance to see the kinds of mail that we get all the time. Its surprising how often these questions are super topical, or how they give us the opportunity to rant. This is one of those questions:


What are the best sweet, smooth single malt scotches that you recommend (top 10)?   Thanks!

- B.B.


Hi B.B.

   What a loaded question! Tops 10’s are hard because inevitably some great whiskies get left out. That said, here is our current top 10, in no particular order and in no particular price range. 


Glenmorangie 18 Year Old – Very light, lots of honey and ripe fruits. VERY smooth.

Dalmore 18 Year Old – Full bodied and incredibly heavily sherry aged. Sweet dark fruits abound with a long, clinging finish. 

Balvenie 21 Year Old Portwood – This one is port cask finished, and very sweet, and very smooth. 

Samaroli Glenburgie 21 Year Old – Fairly sweet, but has a slight, coastal-salt balance. Samaroli is an amazing independent bottler.

Signatory Glenlossie 18 Year Old – A hand-picked Binny’s cask. Gently sweet and very light. Smooth even at cask strength. 

Glenrothes 1985 Vintage – Glenrothes is medium bodied and particularly creamy. A sweet butter cream is the leading flavor. 

BenRiach 20 Year Old – Creamy and honey with a balance of citrus fruits. Very gentle and clean. 

Glenmorangie Nectar d’Or – This is the light, sweet and smooth 10 year Glenmorangie that sees an additional 2 years in Sauternes casks. ‘Nuff said. 

Cragganmore Distiller’s Edition – Cragganmore is one of the real sleepers in the crowded Speyside category. Fuller bodied than most, and sweeter with less spice. This Cragganmore is finished in port casks, and is incredibly smooth with a rich, raisin-y depth in flavor. 

Blackadder Lochranza 11 Year Old – Don’t be fooled by the island origin of this scotch (distilled at Arran). This is very sweet stuff. Light on the palate and dangerously smooth even at cask strength.  


Hope this gives some guidance. Plenty to choose from! Thanks for thinking Binny’s!


- Binny’s Mailbag

Binny’s Mailbag: Great, Affordable Scotch


Let’s see what’s new in the Binny’s Mailbag.



   I was just reading The Whiskey Hotline on your website. Very interesting.

   A few weeks ago, I had my first experience with Scotch. Ive classically avoided the darker liquors ever since my bachelor party, oh so many years ago. (but thats a whole other story)

   Heres my problem. I had a friend come in from out of town, and he insisted that I hadnt given Scotch a fair chance. He told me to locate a very specific bottle, which you luckily had one bottle left at your South Loop location; Classic Cask 35 Year Old Blended Scotch.

   I loved it! It wasnt at all what I was expecting. It didnt have the harshness that I remember. It was caramel on the nose and the palate. Oak and a little smoke too. It was a lot smoother than I thought it would be. Delicious.

   The real problem? That bottle is pretty expensive. $299.99Thats okay for a special occasion here and there, but Id really like to find something similar thats not so pricey.

   Do you ever have Scotch tastings? Or, do you have any suggestions for something similar? Any help you can offer would be greatly appreciated.

- JW


Hi JW,

   Thanks for checking out The Whisky Hotline! Watch for another update soon.

If you’re looking for something with a smoky and sweet balance, be sure to check out some Highland Park and Talisker offerings. Talisker is the smokier of the two, but is balanced by a lot of honey and some brine. Highland Park picks up a more spicy character from the peat, and is predominantly sherry aged so it has a rich and full front with a mildly smoky and spicy finish.

Highland Park 18 Year is a bargain for the price, with younger expressions starting under $50 and going up from there. The base Talisker is a 10 Year Old at sixty bucks, and an exceptional 18 Year Old is sometimes available for eighty.

Our largest and best Scotch event – Binny’s World of Whiskey – is held in early April each year. Keep an eye on our blog for info as the date nears.

Hope this helps! Cheers,

Binny’s Mailbag

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