Billy Abbott

Drinks Writer

United Kingdom

I'm a drinks writer specialising in whisky and beer, but dabbling in all of the realms of booze.

Spirited Matters
The Glenlivet Capsule Collection - this is why we can't have nice things

Despite its often staid appearance, the whisky industry is interested in doing new and exciting things. At the beginning of October 2019, Glenlivet embraced that and launched something a little bit different - cocktails served in edible pouches: The Glenlivet Capsule Collection.


Spirited Matters
Compass Box and the SWA: what's happened and what can we do?

The internet rumbles along, and the whisky corner of it continues to froth about the despicable Scotch Whisky Association and its treatment of Compass Box. I'm getting a bit bored of it, to be honest. However, along with being bored, I'm getting increasingly annoyed by people not understanding what has actually happened, what the issues are, and what can be done.

Spirited Matters
Is Aldi Highland Black 8 Year Old the best whisky in the world?

Betteridge's Law of Headlines states that if an article is titled with a question, the answer to that question is 'no'. Spoiler alert: that's the case here. However, the question has been asked frequently over the past few days and I thought I'd better address it.

Spirited Matters
Port Ellen and Brora: The Resurrection

Yesterday's announcement from Diageo about the 'reopening' of Port Ellen and Brora caught the whisky world unawares. At first, it made no sense to me, but after a day of mulling it over, and reading interviews and the internet, it's started to come together. Here's a round up of what we know and my thoughts.

Spirited Matters
Fresh beer - the peril of imported IPAs

When it comes to big and hoppy beer, the USA has led the way. Back in 2000, my tiny mind was blown by a bottle of Sierra Nevada and my approach to beer changed. While I love traditional British beers, the evolution of the hop bomb has been one of my favourite things about the growing craft beer market.

Spirited Matters
More whisky than whisky

There has been much discussion of late about the creations of Lost Spirits, a company working on speeding up the ageing of spirits. While the process and ideas, and the surrounding recent furore, are interesting, the discussion unearthed a few things for me that dig much deeper into the world of drinks.

Whisky Casks

The Whisky Exchange Whisky Blog
Sherry casks part 1: what was a sherry cask?

Once you start getting into whisky, one of the first things you notice is the various types of cask that the spirit is matured in. While they all have their own distinctive character, the most common question we get asked is 'Was this matured in a sherry cask?'

The Whisky Exchange Whisky Blog
Sherry casks part 2: what is a sherry cask?

If you missed it, here's part one: What was a sherry cask?] These days, the vast majority of sherry casks used to mature Scotch whisky are specifically built for the whisky industry. They are still usually constructed in the same way as a traditional sherry cask, whether it was used to mature sherry in a solera or transport it around the world.

The Whisky Exchange Whisky Blog
Sherry casks part 3: what goes into a sherry cask?

You can find the first two parts of this series at: What was a sherry cask? and What is a sherry cask?] In the last post, I talked about how the type of wood that makes up a cask has a large effect on the spirit that goes into it.

The Whisky Exchange Whisky Blog
Sherry casks part 4: what about soleras?

This is the continuation of an old series. Here are the previous instalments if you'd like to catch up - What was a sherry cask, What is a sherry cask and What goes into a sherry cask] The solera system is at the heart of the sherry-ageing process.