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December 2010 Scotch Whisky News

30 Dec

Unveiling of Bid to revitalise Elgin town centre in the new year

THE new year will herald more changes for Elgin as a project to revitalise the town centre gathers pace.

Yesterday, David Urquhart, chairman of the Elgin Business Improvement District (Bid), outlined the next steps in the group’s plan to regenerate the area. Work to instal signs, tidy shop appearances and promote the history of Elgin will take place over the next six months.

The Bid scheme was launched earlier this year, funded partly by a levy from local businesses.

Mr Urquhart, who is also joint managing director of whisky specialist Gordon and MacPhail, said: “The building blocks are in place and we have now got to keep up the motivation.”

He said it was important to see Elgin as a brand, comparing it with marketing a bottle of whisky.

He said: “You have to make sure the detail is right. It’s a case of fine-tuning.”

Signs around the town’s streets and closes will be updated and a survey will be launched to asses the cost of removing unsightly shrubbery growing from the roofs of High Street shops.

A range of outdoor events is also planned.

Meanwhile, the Bid team has lodged objections to Moray Council’s proposals to raise parking charges in the city centre car parks.

Mr Urquhart said: “We have to keep a watchful brief of the charges. We want people to come into the town centre. We are meeting Elgin councillors in the new year to discuss the situation.”

Empty shops in Elgin have also been a cause for concern. Mr Urquhart said it was encouraging that premises such as the run-down units on the west end of High Street have been put up for sale and are attracting interest.

“We’re trying to create the right ambience to encourage new businesses to come into the area, to complement those which are already there,” he added.

The Bid team is also liaising with local historians to promote Elgin’s cultural heritage.

Mr Urquhart said the recent renovation of Batchen Lane, funded by the Scottish Government town centre regeneration fund, was a good model.

“We want to take that style through Elgin to highlight points of interest,” he said. “There are so many iconic buildings, like the cathedral, Ladyhill and Dr Gray’s Hospital.”

He said it was important to emphasise the history of those locations so it could be passed on to the next generation.

It is estimated the 2011 Bid projects will cost about £175,825.

Out of that, £29,000 has been earmarked for marketing Elgin as a “vibrant destination”, £46,000 for tourism and entertainment and £32,000 for cleanliness, safety and appearance, while £6,000 will be used to introduce shopping offers, £3,400 for business engagement, £10,000 for traffic management, £3,200 for community involvement, £37,074 for operational costs and £9,151 for “other” costs.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

Press & Journal

24 Dec

Whisky expert helps put spark back into Elgin town centre

£120,000 annual traders levy funds equipment to tidy up shopping area

A whisky specialist who picked up the mantle to put the spark back into Elgin town centre looked back yesterday at his first year in the leading role.

Gordon and MacPhail joint managing director David Urquhart has been spearheading the Elgin Bid town-centre improvement scheme.

The £120,000 annual traders levy aims to bring vibrancy back to the high street and shoppers back from the supermarkets and the out-of-town retail parks.

Mr Urquhart said the scheme’s “brilliant” plans for Elgin were coming along well and feedback was extremely positive from many retailers.

All of Elgin’s 440 town-centre traders are legally bound to pay money into a central pot of cash.

The funds are invested back into the town with the aim of increasing the number of visitors. Mr Urquhart said £123,732 is the fund Elgin Bid has to invest every year.

The initiative won the backing of a majority of those who took part in a ballot between September and November 2009.

Independent traders say they are struggling to compete with the supermarkets and chain stores on the retail parks.

Mr Urquhart said the scheme would “really put Elgin on the map”.

In the last year, the initiative has bought a street-sweeper machine and secured funding for a contraption that removes chewing gum from the pavements. Shop fronts have been replaced and a range of weekend summer street music, markets, arts and crafts and entertainment, were organised on the town centre’s plainstones.

The Elgin Bid also organised the Elgin Winter Festival in conjunction with Moray Council last month and played an integral part in last month’s Moray Film Festival and September’s Moray Food Festival.

Mr Urquhart said the last year had proved a good starting block but a lot of effort and teamwork lay ahead.

He added: “We want to expand the heritage of Elgin. It will be a collective marketing campaign to promote the town as a destination and to bring tourists into Elgin during the day.

“It has got such iconic buildings at either end and we could make quite an interesting day out even for people who live locally.

“We want to make the people of Elgin proud of Elgin.”

The results of footfall and other types of retail surveys reflecting the kind of impact the scheme has had on town-centre trade are expected to be published in the new year.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

Press & Journal

24 Dec

Shake-up in operations hits profits at Whyte & Mackay

Exceptional costs of more than £7m affect whisky distiller’s financial results

A reorganisation of its operations held back profits growth at whisky firm Whyte & Mackay Group (W&M) in its last financial year.

More than £7million was spent on exceptional costs during the 12 months to the end of March, with £3million of this figure going on redundancy and other employee costs.

The number of workers during the year fell by 41 to 533.

The exceptional costs also included £3million-plus spent on onerous lease provisions on vacant properties.

The latest financial results for W&M were released by Companies House yesterday.

The business had pre-tax profits of £31.74million in the 12 months to the end of March, marginally ahead of the figure for the previous year.

Turnover dropped to £211.28million compared to £216.01million previously.

Glasgow-based W&M’s main brands include Whyte & Mackay whisky, Dalmore and Isle of Jura single malts, Vladivar vodka and Glayva liqueur. It is also a supplier of private-label spirits.

One of the firm’s recent success stories has been Dalmore.

W&M said in the summer that nearly £1million was to be invested in Dalmore distillery, at Alness, to make it one of Scotland’s best whisky visitor centres.

The move will create at least three jobs on top of the current 15 and is expected to give a boost to the local tourism industry.

The distillery, which is on the shore of the Cromarty Firth, has been producing whisky since 1839.

Dalmore has gone from strength to strength in the last two years after a change of strategy to make the most of its rare stocks.

The firm, which sells around 50,000 cases of whisky a year, says it had successfully re- positioned itself as a luxury brand favoured by connoisseurs, collectors and investors.

The company has now started a two-year programme to refurbish the visitor centre and shop, improve key distillery buildings and signs, and invest in training for tour and distillery staff.

The Dalmore has had major success with its limited- edition products.

For example, two bottles of Dalmore 64 Trinitas were recently sold for £100,000 each.

Apart from Dalmore, W&M has distilleries at Fettercairn in Aberdeenshire, on Jura, and at Tamnavulin on Speyside, plus a grain distillery at Invergordon.

W&M was acquired by Indian billionaire Vijay Mallya for £595million in May 2007. The highest- paid director at W&M received a salary of £635,000 in the latest financial year, compared to £75,000 previously.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

Press & Journal

23 Dec

The Glengoyne Christmas Cask - A World's First

Glengoyne Distillery is to launch its SLOWEST ever bottling. Taking over four years to complete, this is a world's first small batch release from a single cask, creating a live experiment which whisky enthusiasts can take part in.

Available from Tuesday 28 December 2010, The Glengoyne Christmas Cask will be released each Christmas until 2014. Just 100 bottles will be released at a time, exclusively available to buy in person from the distillery shop. This highly innovative, first of a kind bottling will allow single cask lovers to trace the flavour evolution in this remarkable, yet typical, Glengoyne cask over its next four years of maturation.

Cask 790, a First Fill Oloroso Sherry Butt distilled in 2002, is currently rich, with hints of rosehip syrup, cocoa beans, oak and spice. It still clings to the last of its spirited youth, but delivering plenty and promising much more.

Glengoyne’s unique flavour is derived from Scotland’s SLOWEST malt whisky distillation and the use of some of Spain’s finest sherry casks. Every year a team of dedicated noses search the warehouses for casks that are just right, releasing between two and four Single Casks a year. Once in the bottle the whisky stops maturing, so Single Cask bottlings represent a snapshot in time.

Stuart Hendry, Glengoyne Brand Heritage Manager explained “One day, after a particularly productive tasting session, we got to thinking - what if there is something more? We at the distillery are able to taste casks as they mature, witnessing their highs and lows, their flavour peak and troughs as they wind their way towards maturity. What if we were able to share that with our anorak-wearing whisky chums?”

‘Headspace’ – the area within the cask unoccupied by liquid - is normally created through evaporation at the rate of approximately 1.5% per annum. In the case of the Christmas Cask we will be removing 70 litres from the cask each year, leading to much increased headspace, giving the potential for higher rates of evaporation and interactive maturation. Stuart continued: “We don’t know for sure what will happen, but we’re looking forward to finding out.”

The release of the Glengoyne Christmas Cask is something completely different, a first of its kind for the distillery, and the world, representing the Glengoyne SLOW ethos. It is an utterly unique insight into the life of a Single Malt Whisky cask, with the staggered bottlings perfectly demonstrating the long slow path each and every cask takes to reach the moment of perfect maturity. Each bottle will be numbered and signed by the Glengoyne Tasting Panel, but will be presented without packaging in order to keep the price down.

The release date for the first 100 bottles is 28th December 2010 and the bottles must be purchased AT the distillery, priced £100. They will not be available online or through telesales.

Article Courtesy of Press Release

Press Release

21 Dec

Solstice and horizon –'96 two new winter warmers from Benriach

IT'S the winter solstice today (December 21), so it's serendipitous that BenRiach is launching two exciting new products bearing these inspirational names.

Launched on the shortest day of the year, BenRiach Solstice, with its connotations of re-birth and celebration, is a perfect malt for the midwinter, a 15 year-old heavily-peated port while BenRiach Horizons is a 12 year-old triple-distilled malt - a new and original product line which has never been done before by BenRiach.

The bottling strength for both 70cl bottles is 50%. Both are cased in a rigid gift box and a limited quantity is available worldwide.

Marketing Manager Kerry White explained: "These are two incredibly exciting new products to be savoured on cold winter nights.

"Unusually for a Speyside distillery, we distil whisky from both styles of malted barley, non-peated and peated, enabling us to capture the defining taste and aroma of peat reek in a few special bottlings.

"BenRiach Solstice is one such expression. Distilled from heavily-peated malted barley, the whisky has been matured in ex-bourbon barrels before being finished in Aged Tawny Port pipes sourced from Portugal's Douro region. The overall maturation period, across both styles of wood, is a minimum of 15 years.

"Horizons, the 12 year-old triple-distilled BenRiach, is one of the most unique whiskies to be released by the distillery. Traditionally, most single malt whiskies are distilled twice, but during the late 1990s BenRiach experimented with some limited production runs of triple-distilled whisky, and we have allowed the whisky to mature for a minimum of 12 years before giving you the opportunity to sample the fruits of our labour."

Kerry added: "Triple-distilled means the raw spirit produced comes off the still at a higher alcohol strength, and the whisky is more fruity and floral than a traditional double-distilled BenRiach - quite different in character, and certainly a rarity amongst single malt whiskies.

"Originally matured in ex-bourbon barrels, the triple-distilled BenRiach has been allowed to finish in Oloroso Sherry casks, and has derived a number of distinctive flavours and aromas specific to the sherry casks."

Article Courtesy of Press Release

Press Release

14 Dec

Whisky barrel flooring firm toasts new velodrome deal

Richard McKay, a director at family-owned McKay Flooring, has been doing more than thinking out of the box to ensure his company thrives through the downturn – he has been thinking out of the barrel.

The company, based in Govan, Glasgow, has in recent days struck a £200,000 deal to provide the special wood flooring for the new Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome in Glasgow’s East End. It is also now offering the world’s first floors made from whisky barrels.

Mr McKay, who is the son of the family company’s founder and claims his firm is the largest sports flooring business in the UK, said that over the past two months his unique whisky barrel flooring product has attracted more than 300 inquiries from around the globe.

He said: “We’ve had inquiries from all over the world – from Denmark, Mexico, Malaysia, the US, China, Russia and Japan.

“We’re never short of ideas around here.

“Whisky barrel flooring, however, has really captured a lot of people’s imagination.”

The company has so far struck one deal for its unique product – which came within days of it first offering the product on its website – and there are a further three deals on the table, one of which McKay Flooring described as “a rather big, potential game-changer”.

The company said it has been approached by a US-based flooring retailer, which is interested in purchasing entire container-loads of McKay’s whisky barrel flooring to sell throughout North America.

Mr McKay said his flooring business this year expects to turn over £3.3 million, down from the £3.9m it made in 2009 – largely the result of the economic slowdown – and he also expects fewer sports flooring contracts next year as a result of the public sector cuts. However, he also said he expects to mitigate the public sector cutbacks with innovative products, such as the whisky barrel flooring.

Mr McKay said he expects to sell at least £200,000 worth of the unique product over the next 12 months, and he sees growth opportunities in the UK and Europe as well as retailer partnerships in the US, United Arab Emirates and China.

The product, which was developed in conjunction with Glasgow-based Sustainable Wood Solutions, was born firstly out of the idea that, given the state of the economic environment, McKay Flooring needed to innovate its way through the downturn. But there was also the realisation that the Scotch whisky industry was looking for an eco-friendly solution to the disposal of its old barrels, rather than simply consigning them to landfills.

And so the idea for whisky barrel flooring was born

“The range of these barrels is really quite extraordinary – some are sherry barrels from the Spanish town of Jerez, others are bourbon barrels from all over the US, which can only be used once to mature bourbon, because of American trade union agreements – so there is no shortage of them,” Mr McKay said. “We developed a way of turning these barrels into a unique and interesting flooring product

“The interesting thing is that each barrel has its own story.

“Many of them still have the original branding on them and perhaps in future many will be RFID (radio frequency ID)-tagged, so it will be possible to trace the life journey of the product.”

He added: “Many people also wonder if the flooring retains the aroma of fine malt whisky. It’s a good question and probably depends on how vivid your imagination is.

“Certainly, when you press a board to your nose, you get a very pleasant smell.”

Article Courtesy of The Herald, Scotland

The Herald, Scotland

11 Dec

Malting barley grower reaps success

Optic crop is overall winner for Highland producer in quality awards

A Highland farmer has won his first prize for the malting barley he grows.

Andrew Gammie said he was shocked to the core to have been presented with the overall malting barley quality award by Highland Grain and distiller Glenmorangie.

Mr Gammie supplies about half of the malting barley he grows on 250 acres at Croftcrunie, Tore, near Muir of Ord, to Highland Grain, the farmers’ co-operative of which he has been a longstanding member.

He added: “I never win anything, not even third prizes. I would have been delighted with a third but to get the top award was a big, big shock.

“I’m never lucky at anything. If I buy raffle tickets then I’m always the one left with the tickets, and never any of the prizes.”

Mr Gammie has three farming businesses, which between them grow 700 acres of malting barley. The bulk of the crop goes through Scotgrain in Inverness. He also grows a range of winter cereals and has potato ground too.

His winning crop was Optic, a variety he said he would be growing again next year as breeders had yet to come up with a viable alternative to it.

Crops entered for the quality award are assessed internally at Highland Grain for nitrogen levels, screenings, germination, 1,000 grain weight and consistency across all the tonnage supplied by the individual member.

Highland Grain chief executive Simon Barry said the co-op would again be sticking to its longstanding tradition of only supplying malting barley from its 89 members to local distillers next year.

Chairman George Maciver, of Bog of Auchterflow, Munlochy, expects a further tightening of barley supplies as farmers elsewhere in Europe and the UK continue the switch out of the crop into wheat and maize, both of which offer higher yields.

While there were temptations to export, Mr Maciver said the co-op had over many years invested heavily in customer relationships and was keen to continue developing integrated supply chains with its distilling customers who include Glenmorangie, Diageo and, indirectly, Edrington Group.

He added: “At Highland Grain, we have always set out to be a preferred supplier to the distilling industry and our partnership with Glenmorangie is an excellent example of this policy. We are delighted to be able to make a continuing commitment to the production of malting barley for Glenmorangie, and our customers, in 2011 and further forward.”

Mr Barry said barley for distilling would continue to be in demand, particularly as the sector increased production again to meet growing world sales, particularly in the Far East and Latin America.

Mr Maciver added: “We are part of an industry which is significant on a local, national and global level, so there are long term benefits for us all. Grain growers across the globe are trying to supply a number of competing interests, and some may be very short term, so we have to look after ourselves and our customers well into the future.”

The individual malting barley awards presented by Highland Grain were judged by Bill Lumsden, Glenmorangie’s head of distilling and whisky creation. He said the quality of entries was extremely high.

Results were:

Best sample of Optic – 1 Easter Ross Farmers, Easter Rarichie, Fearn, Tain; 2 Brahan Farms, Brahan, Dingwall; 3 J. McCallum and Partner, St Martins, Culbokie.

Best sample other varieties – 1 A.J. Maciver and Son, Easter Auchterflow, Munlochy, with Concerto; 2 W.R. and R. Butler, of Hillhead, Forres, with Concerto; 3 Novar Farms, Evanton, with Oxbridge.

Best overall malting quality – 2 W.G. Campbell and Sons, Newton, Cromarty; 3 A. and P. Grewar, Allangrange, Munlochy.

Mr Gammie’s farm at Croftcrunie will host the Scottish ploughing championships on October 22 and 23 next year.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

Press & Journal

09 Dec

The Old Pulteney ‘Ice Boat’ is Unveiled Ahead of Record Breaking Arctic Adventure

Old Pulteney Single Malt Scotch Whisky and explorer Jock Wishart, yesterday unveiled a specially designed ‘ice boat’ which will be rowed in a pioneering arctic expedition – The Old Pulteney Row to the Pole. The bespoke boat has been constructed to withstand some of the harshest conditions on earth and enable Jock and his crew to conquer one of the world’s last true firsts – the first ever attempt to row to a pole, possibly the greatest ocean row ever.

The vessel and some of its crew were revealed for the first time today at the Natural History Museum’s outdoor ice rink in central London, where the boats unique arctic attributes were put to the test.

In July/August 2011, internationally acclaimed adventurer and sportsman Jock Wishart will lead a six strong team on the pioneering Row to the Pole expedition. In the bespoke ice boat, they will set off from Canada on a 450 mile route across the arctic on a voyage to the magnetic North Pole which if successful, will make history. The challenge is of global significance as both a pioneering maritime adventure and an environmental expedition and has only now become possible due to the increase in seasonal sea ice melt and its deterioration because of climate changes. The final leg of the journey is only navigable for a few weeks of the year before refreezing and Jock and his crew will be working with scientific research partners to deliver environmental data and insight from the journey.

The unique rowing boat, known as "The Old Pulteney", was designed by yacht designer Peter Bosgraaf from Amsterdam in collaboration with Devon-based Hugh Welbourne and Roger Daynes, a leading British sledge designer. This vessel is the first rowing boat in the world to have a "cathedral hull" with sledge runners fitted underneath. This unique feature, combined with attachment points for harnesses, will enable the crew to drag the boat over the ice to" leads" they could row on to complete the final leg of their journey. This gruelling feat was last attempted by Sir Ernest Shackleton in 1916 who was forced to drag his boats to safety over the ice during his Imperial Trans Antarctic expedition.

The vessel, which was built in Christchurch, Dorset by Rossiter Yachts, is sheathed in carbon fibre and kevlar to withstand extreme arctic conditions yet remain light enough for the crew to pull. With a planned weight of 900 kilos, its 9.2 m by 1.82 m dimensions were dictated by the size of the plane in Canada which will fly the boat in from Yellowknife to Resolute Bay, Canada (the starting off point for the expedition),on the final stage of its journey from the UK. The Old Pulteney has been constructed to accommodate six crew and their equipment during the four to six week voyage. The colouring of the boat incorporates Old Pulteney whisky’s dark blue in its top sides to help absorb heat during the expedition and its golden underside was selected for visibility should it capsize.

To reach the magnetic North Pole, Jock, who is a descendant of Scotland’s national bard Robert Burns, will row for hours on end in challenging weather and subzero temperatures with little chance for rest or shelter. Joining him will be 36 years old Billy Gammon a British born ex advertising executive who took part in the Indian Ocean race in 2009, South African born Rob Sleep who worked for ten years on a variety of yachts circumnavigating the world and has walked to the Pole on several occasions,36 year old climber, rower and "super yacht" captain Mark Delstanche, a Row to the Pole cameraman and the winner of Old Pulteney’s international competition Pole Position, who will be announced at the London Boat Show in January.

Margaret Mary Clarke, Brand Manager, Old Pulteney says: "We are delighted to unveil such a truly magnificent boat. The Old Pulteney Row to the Pole has been planned for three years and we are confident that the crew will be toasting their success next Summer in the Pole with a dram of Old Pulteney.”

Old Pulteney’s partnership with Jock is rooted in the whisky’s renowned maritime heritage and history of supporting sailing and seafaring adventure. The whisky is distilled in the historic harbour town of Wick, the most northerly distillery on the UK mainland and the windswept and rugged landscape that surrounds it has given the malt its legacy as the Maritime Malt.

Article Courtesy of Press Release

Press Release

09 Dec

Pocket Rocket has designs on new Scotch whisky brand

Stirling agency Pocket Rocket has designed the packaging for Machrie Moor, a new peated malt Scotch whisky from the Isle of Arran Distillery.

The brand takes its name from a "windswept and mystical" peat bog on the west coast of Arran, where bronze age stone circles and standing stones are strewn across its barren terrain.

Its branding takes a nod from one of those stone circles which is named after Fingal, a legendary warrior giant who is said to have tethered his favourite dog Bran to this stone.

Pocket Rocket has therefore designed a dog character to adorn the bottles and bring the story of Fingal and his faithful hound to life.

Article Courtesy of The Drum

The Drum

08 Dec

Bowmore Single Malt Scotch Whisky Unveils Tempest Small Batch Release No. 2

The Second in a Series of Bowmore Small Batch Releases, Tempest No. 2 is the First to Launch in the U.S.

Inspired by the violent gales that at times wage war against its weather-beaten distillery, Bowmore® is proud to introduce Bowmore Tempest Small Batch Release No. 2, the second in a series of small batch releases from the first distillery on this magical island of Islay. And while this Tempest is Bowmore’s second small batch release, it will be the first to be sold on American shores. Production of this Bowmore Tempest – which embodies the spirit of the beautiful and rugged island home of Islay – is limited to only 2,000 cases, and 200 of those precious cases will arrive in the US in December 2010. The suggested retail price will be $100.00.

Aged for a decade in first fill Bourbon casks, Bowmore Tempest has a warm gold color, and a nose of dry peat smoke that invites closer inspection. The first sip delivers bursts of citrus followed by a backbone of smokiness and a sea salt tang. Bowmore Tempest is an extremely complex expression of Islay Scotch yet it adheres to the Bowmore signature style that sets it apart from its neighbors – balance. Sipping a dram of Tempest transports the Scotch lover to the shores of Islay and the cool, dark cellars of Bowmore’s legendary No. 1 vaults, located below sea level, where this whisky rested and matured for 10 years. The distillery is beaten by the wild waves off Loch Indaal, the unbridled tempest that has fought against the Bowmore distillery herself since its creation in 1779. The people of Islay are no strangers to the tempest, and the powerful weather of Islay challenges its people as well as the Bowmore distillers, who have a raw passion for creating fine Scotch.

Bowmore Tempest is a true expression of the unique Scottish island of Islay, the southernmost island of the Inner Hebrides that sits off the West Coast of Scotland. Surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, Islay has a population of only some 3,000 hardy souls, yet no fewer than eight distilleries call it home. Nature fights on Islay, where the mellow, warming influence of the Gulf Stream contrasts with the bone quaking winter storms that drive the ocean spray far inland where it washes over Islay’s peaty soil, imbuing the entire island with the taste of the sea. For this reason the Scotch whisky of Islay is some of the most robust – yet rewarding – found anywhere on earth.

Tasting Notes: Bowmore Tempest Small Batch Release No. 2

* Color - Warm gold
* Nose - Dry peat smoke perfectly balanced by delicious zesty lemon pepper
* Palate - Initial burst of lemon pepper following by the signature Bowmore peaty sea-salt tang; the citrus returns at the end adding balance and complexity to the mouthfeel
* Finish - Fresh lemon pepper

Bowmore Tempest Small Batch Release No. 2 (56% ABV) arrives in the U.S. this December and can be found at retailers nationwide at a suggested retail price of $100.00 for a 750ml bottle. The first bottling of Bowmore Tempest was released last year in the United Kingdom, Europe, Asia and Canada.

Article Courtesy of Press Release

Press Release

08 Dec

High-end whisky unveiled in China - with $2,700 price

A special aged Scotch whisky blend aimed at wealthy Chinese connoisseurs and their growing passion for top-end liquor has just been unveiled in Beijing.

The strong, smoky aroma and high alcoholic content of whisky may not be the easiest of drinks to appreciate, but Asians, particularly in South Korea and China, have been increasingly drawn to the tipple, accounting for around 20 percent of the 3 billion pound ($5 billion) a year industry in 2008.

China has shown the highest growth in Scotch whisky over the last 20 years with 22 percent annual compound growth by volumes. Vietnam, Russia and India have posted the next biggest growth rates since 1990.

But it's the growing passion of wealthy Chinese for high-end whiskies and liqueurs that inspired the Royal Salute whisky group to launch their most-aged blend, the 62 Gun Salute, in the Chinese market, unveiling it on Monday.

"Well, certainly the taste is very smooth. It's got sweetness, it's got richness and fruitiness and the Chinese love that sort of powerful, rich taste they're associating with Royal Salute because it's a mature Royal Salute market out here," said Colin Scott, Royal Salute's master blender.

"But this really takes them several stages further into the mystery and magic of Scotch whisky," he told Reuters Television.

Scott was responsible for choosing the whiskies to blend, each aged for a minimum of 40 years. The end product is a complex and rich combination of flavours and aromas.

Housed in a hand-crafted decanter made by Dartington Crystal, the whisky features a Royal Salute crest painted in liquid 24-carat gold, along with a 24-carat gold plated collar and a crystal stopper set with a 24-carat gold plated crown.

Unsurprisingly, the price is not for the faint-hearted. Each bottle sells for a cool 18,000 renminbi -- $2,707.

Scott said the company was aiming at Chinese who enjoy expressing their status through various high-end products.

"People who are successful entrepreneurs, great businessmen, just people in general who want to make a success of their lives, celebrate with the finest things in life," he said.

"To me, this is one of the finest of the finest Scotch whiskies in the world."

Scotch whisky exports to China have surged in recent years, raking in 28 million pounds ($45 million) in the first six months of this year alone, a 66 percent increase from last year and an 80-fold increase over the last decade.

The British government said last month that Scotch Whisky will get special brand protection in China, a move expected to boost sales of the spirit at the expense of counterfeit versions.

The Scotch Whisky Association estimates that exports to China could double over the next five years from an annual figure of 80 million pounds ($130 million.)

Article Courtesy of Reuters



07 Dec

38-year-old Glendronach wins 2010 malt maniacs top award

A 38-year-old GlenDronach has become the highest-scoring whisky out of 262 entries in the 2010 “Malt Maniacs” Awards.

The GlenDronach 1972, at 49.5% from cask no. 700, an oloroso sherry butt, and a Taiwan exclusive, achieved a gold medal, 90 points and was also the winner of the “Non Plus Ultra” Award 2010 - which means it was the overall top scoring ultra premium whisky out of all the entries.

Malt Maniacs say theirs is “probably the world's most independent whisky competition. And perhaps the most gruelling!”

Other GlenDronach expressions did well in the competition. The 31-year-old Grandeur won a silver medal and 88 points while the 18-year-old Allardice won a bronze medal and 83 points.

BenRiach also excelled in the awards. The 30-year-old achieved a silver medal and 85 points and the BenRiach 17-year-old Rioja Finish and the 20-year-old also won bronze.

Regional Sales Director Alistair Walker was delighted: “To be awarded first place ahead of another 261 fine whiskies is a wonderful achievement. The 38-year-old is an astonishing malt with a very special and intriguing character, and is testament to the skill of our craftsmen at the distillery. 1972 was clearly an extraordinary year.”

The “Malt Maniacs” award is the latest accolade for the company in the last eight years. Top awards include BenRiach becoming Whisky Magazine’s World Distiller of the Year 2009 while the GlenDronach 15-year-old won the Gold Medal and was Best in Class in the 2009 International Wine & Spirits Competition.

Article Courtesy of Press Release

Press Release

05 Dec

A working life: The master whisky distiller

Douglas Campbell has seen many changes in 50 years at a distillery in Scotland. But a wee dram tastes as good as ever

The air is fragrant with the sweet, sickly odour of brewing: it's hard to believe, looking at the frothy beige scum pressing up against the window of the wash tun, that in 12 years' time the liquid below will have turned into a fragrant, sweet liquor that costs £27.99 a bottle.

Douglas Campbell, master distiller for Tomatin Distillery, is showing me around his workplace. We have already passed the huge malt mill where malted barley is ground up to produce a coarse flour called grist, and the mash tuns, where the grist is mixed with hot water, at 65°C, 72°C and 90°C, to extract a sugary liquid called wort that is used for the brewing process.

Now we are standing by the wash backs – 12 huge metal containers with portholes and a submarine-type hatch opening through which 100kg of Mauri Pinnacle yeast is tipped to start the fermentation process. Giant arms rotate in the mixture to break down the bubbles and stop the froth rising to the hatches, but some is still seeping out from a couple of the wash tuns.

Tomatin can truly claim to have a strong community spirit in all senses. Most of the 50 people who work for the distillery live on the premises in heavily subsidised, if basic, accommodation (some, including Campbell, still don't have central heating - and this is northern Scotland), and for many it has been a family affair. Campbell, a quietly spoken man who has worked at Tomatin Distillery for 50 years, clearly feels he was born and bred for the job: "I started working here when I was 15, in 1961. My father worked here as a cooper, my wife worked here for 10 years as secretary for the managing director, and my son works here now in the warehouse. I was born in Tomatin, I belong to Tomatin."

The distillery started in the 15th century as an illicit still, visited by drovers who stopped to fill their flasks at the old laird's house on their way to the market at the village of Tomatin (to rhyme with satin). In 1897 a formal distillery was commissioned on the site to take advantage of the sweet water from the Alt-na-Frith (Free Burn), which rises up from within the Monadhliath mountains, some 16 miles south of Inverness.

Nowadays, Campbell works as an ambassador for Tomatin, visiting whisky trade fairs and conferences around the world to promote the brand: only 2% of the distillery's production is sold in the UK, with most going to the US, Sweden and Japan.

But he started at the very bottom of the organisation doing clerical work, entering the weights of empty and full casks in a ledger under the scrutiny of a customs and excise officer. "After that, the managing director, John McDonald, took me under his wing and gave me the chance to work in different parts of the distillery. I did mashing for three or four years, distilling for a couple of years, worked in the warehouses. Eventually, I was one of the charge hands getting casks ready for dispatch.

"We used to have our own maltings, and I did a little bit of turning of the malt. You steep the barley in water to germinate, and turn it twice a day with a big paddle. Then you heat it to stop the germination. But we stopped doing that ourselves in 1969."

Controversially, he adds: "The distilleries that still malt themselves will tell you it makes a difference to the taste, but I don't think it really has a big impact. The water, the stills and the casks are far more important: 70% to 80% of the flavour comes from the casks. That's why we still have our own cooperage." Most distilleries buy their barley from the same sources, supporting his claim.

It seems improbable that the shape of the still – the giant copper pots where the wash (the alcoholic liquid resulting from the brewing process) is concentrated through evaporation until a crystal clear, colourless liquid of the desired strength is produced – affects the flavour. But Campbell insists that a rounder, flatter shape gives you a sweeter taste, while a longer, thinner one produces a drier flavour.

I notice a wooden ball dangling off a piece of string along the neck of the still. Most have windows to allow the distiller to see inside, explains Campbell, but at Tomatin you use the wooden ball to whack the still. "It makes a different noise if the vapour is rising," he says. "It's traditional."

Distillation takes place in two stages: the wash still, which transforms the wash into low wine with about 21% alcohol, and the spirit still, which concentrates the liquid to "new make", with a strength of between 60% and 73%. The alcohol content varies at the beginning and end of the second distillation and is tested in a spirit safe – a padlocked cupboard with a glass front in which the distiller manipulates the liquids into glass beakers and sees the alcohol content without being able to touch or taste them. Anything below 60%, or above 73%, is siphoned off and mixed with the low wines of the next distillation to go through the whole process again.

We move on to the storage warehouses. Most of Tomatin's casks are stored in a modern warehouse where barrels are stacked 12-high on a metal rack for at least three years, the legal minimum, while some are stored for up to 40 or 50 years. But Campbell prefers the original warehouse, where the casks are closer to the earth, for the storage of Tomatin's limited editions. It is dark and cool in here, and it smells like the old-fashioned vintners my dad used to take me to as a child – a heady and comforting smell of wood and alcohol.

"An average of 2% of the liquid is lost from each barrel, more from those barrels that are higher up because they are warmer," says Campbell. "It's called the angel's share."

While working at a distillery must seem a dream to anyone who appreciates whisky, some elements have – in the past – been unpleasant to say the least. Campbell used to have to climb into the washbacks and stills to clean them out – mostly with water but sometimes disinfectant, a claustrophobic and dirty job now done by machinery.

The hours were horrendous. Campbell used to work six days a week, on a 24-hour rota, including nights (the brewing process didn't stop because you wanted to sleep). Staff got just two weeks' holiday a year. "You finished at 6am on Saturday and started again at 6am on Sunday, and that was your longest period off," he says.

Today the process is less punishing, with different schedules and increased mechanisation: although the whisky is brewed and distilled by just six people compared with double that in the 70s, they work eight-hour shifts and get weekends off plus five to seven weeks' holiday, Campbell points out with a faint, dismissive sniff.

But some things don't change. It was – still is – ferociously cold in the warehouses. Even though within spitting distance of the A9, staff had to be helicoptered in and out one year, the snow was so bad.

Campbell continued working his way up to brewer, then becoming assistant manager in 1989 and distillery manager in the early 90s. Although his own career progress was smooth, the company's own fortunes have been less steady. The distillery had been producing 12m litres of whisky a year in the 70s, mostly for blending. But during the recession of the early 80s, demand plummeted. It was left with a lot of stock it couldn't shift and, in 1984, went into liquidation.

The liquidators allowed the distillery to keep production ticking over: two to three months' work spread over the year. It worked: in 1986 Japanese company Takara Shuzo bought Tomatin, and it owns 84% today.

Now it produces about 2.5m litres a year, and although some still goes for blending (distilleries swap barrels on a like-for-like basis, rather than exchanging money), most is now sold under the Tomatin brands, including 12, 15, 18 and 25-year-old malts, and its own blends – Antiquary and The Talisman.

The role of master distiller was created two years ago, and Campbell travels around the major whisky markets of the world: when I ring him to arrange the interview, he is in Los Angeles. The day after I meet him he is off to Belgium, or is it the Netherlands? He goes to Japan at least twice a year, where he is particularly impressed by the barmen: "They take their job very seriously and have a very high understanding of the history, production and taste," he says.

The next step is to build the brand in the UK. "There are a lot of people very passionate about not just Scotch, but whisky as a whole. They have a very romantic notion of Scotland: whisky is ingrained in the culture. We live a very privileged life."

Curriculum vitae

Salary From £14,000 a year for a warehouseman to £50,000 for the master distiller. Benefits are good with a final salary pension scheme and those living on site benefit from a big discount on accommodation.

Hours It depends on the job, but those involved in whisky production at Tomatin do eight-hour shifts.

Work-life balance Much better these days, but if you're a key worker you have to live on site, which may not be convenient if you have school-aged children or a partner who likes a more urban lifestyle.

Best thing "Tasting all the different whisky. We've got stock going back to the Sixties."

Worst thing "It used to be the long hours. The shifts were meant to last eight hours, but you couldn't get people to stay in the job, so you had to cover for up to 12 hours. Now it's the cold weather. Last year we had snow from the first week of December until the last week of April."

Article Courtesy of The Guardian

The Guardian

02 Dec

NB Studio updates Chivas Regal whisky packaging with 'twisted steel' monogram

NB Studio has designed packaging for luxury whisky brand Chivas Regal's 12 Year Old, which will be rolled out this month to 200 countries.

The consultancy was approached by Chivas in 2009 after it responded to a piece of NB Studio work featured in the International Society of Typographic Designers' poster exhibition My London My City.

Targeting the brand's largely male audience, NB Studio sought to create 'a simple, elegant and masculine' design which denotes 'modern heraldry', says account manager Anoushka Rodda.

Illustrator Alex Trochut was commissioned and art directed by the consultancy to produce 'a bespoke Chivas Regal monogram' based on the Chivas Regal 12 Year Old crest.

The resulting pattern is 'a steel shaving' or a 'twisting steel ribbon', says Rodda, which has been designed with the 'sensibilities' of a global audience in mind.

Tin packaging has been amended with a simplified design and changes to its finishing.

A microsite - - has been developed with consultancy Mime Artist and graphics and animation studio I Love Dust, where an animated version of Trochut's monogram can be downloaded.

Chivas Regal collaborated with French fashion designer Christian Lacroix for packaging of its 18 Year Old whisky in October.

Article Courtesy of

01 Dec

Malmaison extends malt whisky scheme

The Malmaison and Hotel du Vin group is rolling out its collaboration with the Scotch Malt Whisky Society to all its hotels across the UK.

The partnership, unveiled in January this year at Hotel du Vin in Birmingham and Brighton and Malmaison in Aberdeen, was aimed at showcasing the society’s repertoire of single cask malt whiskies in a stylish location. It is now being extended to the other 12 hotels in the group, including four in Scotland.

Robert Cook, chief executive of Malmaison and Hotel du Vin, said: “This partnership further demonstrates our dedication and passion for exceptional food and drink within our brand.”

The hotels make a selection of single cask malts available in their bars and arrange bespoke tastings for guests.

Society whiskies “can be matched with as well as featured within dishes served in the Bistro restaurants” and guests can sign up for society membership at the bar.

The group says all its bar staff have “undergone extensive training by the society so they can recommend the perfect whisky for each customer”.

Paul Miles, managing director of the Scotch Malt Whisky Society, said: “The last months have shown us that our presence in the hotels has been a welcome one and it has allowed us to tell the story of the society to a new audience. We are very excited to be taking the partnership UK-wide.”

Article Courtesy of The Herald, Scotland

The Herald, Scotland
November 2010 Scotch Whisky News

30 Nov

CANCELLED: Christmas Food and Whisky Festival at Glengoyne Distillery

The second GLENGOYNE CHRISTMAS FOOD & WHISKY FESTIVAL due to take place on SATURDAY 4th DECEMBER 2010 has been cancelled due to bad weather conditions.

Stuart Hendry, Brand and Development Manager for Glengoyne said: “Unfortunately we have had to cancel our 2010 Food and Whisky Festival due to access and safety concerns arising from the bad weather conditions. Suppliers and stall holders are currently unable to reach the distillery and we are anticipating that the conditions will not improve sufficiently before the weekend. Safety of our visitors is paramount and, regrettably, the only option is to cancel the event.”

“The distillery team are extremely disappointed not to be able to go ahead with what has proven in the past to be a hugely popular event, for local people and those further afield. A lot of work had gone into organising the event and we are sad to be missing an opportunity to showcase the great range of like-minded local suppliers of food, drink and crafts and create that magical Christmas atmosphere.”

Despite the addition of extra heated areas and indoor parking the conditions around the distillery and car park have been judged as not practical to host large crowds. It is hoped the event will take place again in December 2011.

Building on the huge success of the 2008 event which saw over 5,000 visitors attend, Glengoyne had planned a fun event showcasing the best SLOW produce from the area, as well as food stalls, unusual gift ideas, cooking demonstrations by Tom Lewis and plenty of activities for the family.

Glengoyne Distillery, which offers an unrivalled visitor experience, is situated just 30 minutes outside Glasgow, looking out over the breath-taking West Highland Way.

For further information visit or contact: 01360 550 229.

Article Courtesy of Press Release

Press Release

29 Nov

Old Pulteney Finalists Go Head-to-Head to become a Record Breaking Arctic Explorer

On Saturday 20th November, Old Pulteney Single Malt Scotch Whisky put 48 international adventurers to the ultimate test in the Pole Position Live Finals. The unique global completion attracted entries from all over the world, with applicants eager to win a place on Old Pulteney Row to the Pole – a world first arctic adventure.

The Old Pulteney Pole Position competition was launched in September to put global thrill seekers to the ultimate test. Sponsored by Old Pulteney Single Malt Scotch Whisky, the competition offers one extraordinary person the once in a lifetime opportunity to become an active crew member in a record breaking expedition.

In August 2011, adventurer and sportsman Jock Wishart will lead a six strong crew through some of the harshest conditions on earth in an attempt to row to the magnetic North Pole. In a specially designed ‘ice boat’, Jock and his crew will set off from Canada on a 450 mile route across the arctic and are searching for one determined person to join them. The voyage will require extreme physical and mental endurance and if successful, will make history.

To enter Old Pulteney Pole Position, applicants were asked to apply online and state why they have what it takes to become Jock’s 6th crew member. Hundreds of international entrants applied and a shortlist of forty five finalists competed head-to-head in the Pole Position Challenge Day on Saturday 20th November at Eton Rowing Centre, the Olympic rowing centre for 2012. To test their physical and mental abilities, contestants battled it out in a two and a half hour endurance row, group interviews and psychometric tests. The winner will be announced at the London Boat Show in January and will receive personal training from Jock before embarking on the life changing expedition in August 2011.

Jock Wishart says:

“The competition has attracted a huge volume of international entries, all of an incredibly high standard. When you’re planning an Arctic expedition, the most important thing is your crew, we are confident that we will find an extraordinary person amongst the fantastic group of finalists to join our expedition team.”

The Old Pulteney Row to the Pole is of global significance as both a pioneering maritime adventure and an environmental expedition. The voyage has never been undertaken before and is only now possible due to the increase in seasonal ice melt of the Arctic landscape. The attempt will be captured on camera for UK and international audiences and will follow Jock’s preparations and the 4-6 week long row where his team will face dramatic ice-bound coastlines and shifting sea-ice barriers. His background as an expedition leader and his long track record of organising successful record attempts will stand him in good stead as he faces his biggest challenge to date.

Article Courtesy of Press Release

Press Release

29 Nov

Isle of Jura launches photography competition to find the world’s most inspiring places

The Isle of Jura is launching a ‘Wish You Were Here’ online travel photography competition ( to find the world’s most inspiring places.

Budding photographers from across the world are being offered the chance to win an unforgettable trip to the island of Jura off Scotland’s dramatic West Coast. With a community of less than 200 people, the island is rich in history, myths, superstitions, dramatic landscapes, diverse wildlife and whisky, all of which have provided inspiration to photographers, artists and writers from across the world. Partnering with VisitScotland on the prize, winners will enjoy a once in a lifetime photographic experience on the Isle of Jura with expert advice from National Geographic’s Jim Richardson.

The partnership between one of Scotland’s premier single malts and the national tourism organisation comes during Scotland’s Year of Food and Drink where VisitScotland is using its worldwide marketing campaigns to inspire visitors to come to Scotland to experience our food and drink.

Each one of the three winners and their partners will enjoy a week’s stay in the exclusive Jura lodge, a VIP tour of the Jura distillery and island and a two day photography master-class from National Geographic’s Jim Richardson. All travel arrangements will be paid for and the winners will also receive an Olympus E-PL1 camera to capture images from their visit.

Willie Cochrane, Distillery Manager, said:

“On an island where deer outnumber people by more than 30 to 1, we truly believe that Jura is one of the most beautiful and inspirational destinations in the world. Its remoteness is one of its greatest assets, offering an escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and a place for visitors to wallow in the peace and tranquillity of island life, whilst of course savouring a dram or two of our world famous whisky! Our winners will have the chance to enjoy all of this and more and hopefully return home with a photo album brimming full of many happy memories.”

To enter, applicants must upload a photo that they’ve taken of an inspiring destination onto an e-postcard template and describe on the back of that e-postcard what makes it so inspirational. A panel of judges including National Geographic’s Jim Richardson will assess a shortlist of the very best ‘postcards’ and pick three lucky winners - one from North America, one from the UK and a third from Europe.

The competition, which can be found by visiting, opens today (Monday, 29 November) and will run for eight weeks, closing on Friday 21 January 2011.

Every week for the duration of the competition, Jura and VisitScotland will also pick a Postcard of the Week, with an Olympus FE-5050 camera to be won each week. Entrants are also encouraged to share their e-postcards with friends and family who will be able to vote for their favourite and automatically be entered into a prize draw to win bottles of Jura 10 year old single malt and other Jura goodies.

Ewan Colville, North American Marketing Manager, VisitScotland said:

“The Isle of Jura has a unique landscape and dramatic setting off Scotland’s rugged West coast. Known for its landscape, wildlife and its sublime whisky, Jura is also recognised as a writers’ retreat; most famously it’s where George Orwell came in 1949 to write his futuristic novel 1984. With great transport links to Scotland’s islands, visitors from around the world can be immersed in island life with ease. This is also our Year of Food and Drink, which showcases Scotland’s wonderful, fresh larder and the amazing culinary experiences offered to our visitors. There has never been a better time to visit.”

Jim Richardson, who has travelled the world taking photographs for the National Geographic Society, said:

“The Isle of Jura offers so much in way of inspiration and source material for photographers and artists. The sweeping landscapes, diverse wildlife and dramatic seasonal weather provide a sensational backdrop for any photographers looking to develop their skills. I’m really looking forward to sharing some of my tips and techniques with the winners and helping them push their photography on to the next level. Needless to say, I’m also keen to get my hands on some of Jura’s finest whisky, direct from the distillery!”

Article Courtesy of Press Release

Press Release

26 Nov

Drinking to a grand passion

Alaster Phillips enjoys a wee dram with Richard Paterson, Whyte & Mackay’s master blender

IF ANYONE knows more than most about the world of whisky, it’s this man. Richard Paterson is distinguished, extremely welcoming and every part the gentleman – it is also abundantly clear that he’s a man who loves a good blether about, and over, a wee dram.

Richard is the award-winning master blender for Whyte & Mackay. He joined the company in 1970, after a four-and-a-half year stint at Glen Scotia, where he learned the art of blending.

It might seem unlikely these days that somebody would stay in the same industry for 40 years, let alone the same company, but Richard has just celebrated such an anniversary.

Yet, after surviving nine takeovers, and now on to his 17th boss, there’s no sign that “The Nose” is ready to hang up his tasting glass just yet.

Richard puts his four decades of loyalty to Whyte & Mackay down to a “120% passion for the product”. “You really have to have a love for it more than anything,” he said. “When my father got me the job with the Glen Scotia distillery, people said: ‘You only got this job because of your father.’ That’s why I studied wine for 15 years and why I studied whisky, and that’s what I’ve been doing ever since.

“This doesn’t happen overnight. It takes many, many years, and the more I investigate whisky, the more I enjoy it and love it. That’s what has really kept me here.”

It seems fitting that the Whyte & Mackay 40 Year Old was named best blend in the world at the recent World Whisky Awards, and also received the Masters Award, the highest accolade possible, at this year’s Scotch Whisky Masters.

The third generation of a whisky family, Richard attributes much of his success to his grandfather William Roberton Paterson, who founded W.R. Paterson Ltd in 1933. But he admits it was his father, “Gus” Paterson, who took the reins of the family business in 1956, who inspired him to enter the industry.

Richard said: “Sadly, he died in 1994, and I got a huge award for the best blended whisky in the October, within just a few months of his death. That was really sad, because it was a way of saying to him: ‘Dad, thanks for all your help over the years. Thanks for getting me the job way back in the 60s.’ I like to think he’s looking down and saying: ‘Well, OK. You didn’t do too badly.’”

Richard is one of the real characters of the trade. If he catches you downing your dram rather than savouring it, don’t be surprised if you get a slap.

He said: “My book begins with ‘whack’, because my father whacked me in the back of the head. Maybe that’s why I whack other people, just to say: ‘You’re not doing it right.’ That’s the only way you’re going to get somebody’s attention. Sometimes you’ve got to slap them twice.”

His work takes him all over the world to conferences, festivals and presentations, where he educates people about the subtleties of the drink. “I’m kind of different in many ways; I’ll slap people, especially Americans, because they haven’t a clue how to drink it. They still think whisky is for cowboys in the saloon.”

He mimics a downing motion then a slap: “You give them a slap and they say: ‘What did you do that for?’ And I say: ‘You’re not actually getting into this whisky at all.’

“You’ve got to hold it in the top of the mouth, underneath, back in the middle, and keep it there for 21 seconds. The longer you keep it, the more you’ll extract from the whisky.”

The industry has changed significantly since Richard’s early days. It now has a more dynamic and vibrant image which brushed away the former highbrow, tweedy and secretive stereotype. Scottish whisky has become a global icon and the country’s biggest industry, worth £4billion a year.

Richard has witnessed the changes, and believes they are for the better: “When I started whisky blending, the process was kept within the confines of Whyte & Mackay; it was never divulged. I would never speak to the blender of another company, and no women were allowed in my sample room. It was very conservative, and you had to bow to your peers in many respects.

“The biggest change probably happened about 12 years ago, with whisky magazines and whisky festivals in every capital city of the world.”

Lovers of a good dram may find it easy to be envious of Richard, thanks to his easy access to some of the finest blends in the world. But as far as he’s concerned, it’s not about breaking records and making the most expensive whisky, it’s about making the best whisky he possibly can: “We sold three bottles of our Dalmore Trinitas 64 Year Old for £100,000 per bottle.

“It’s part of liquid history, and it’s very good to be part of that.

“But you have to give it the best wood that will enhance the flavour – so that when you take it with the right coffee, the right chocolate, maybe the right cigar, and put them all together it’s just sensational.”

While Richard is undoubtedly in a privileged position, he is only part of the process.

There are more than 100,000 people employed directly by the Scotch whisky industry and, as Richard is quick to point out, every one of them has an important role to play.

“It’s wonderful to be a master blender, but it’s absolutely not dependent on just me. There are many wonderful and lovely people that I work with that make it happen.

“I’ve got to make it happen for the liquid, but there are wonderful girls at the bottling hall. And when you think about the Trinitas, there are three wonderful girls at Grangemouth who have hand crafted all that packaging. Then there are the individual bottles, the case that’s been made of solid oak, the 12 coatings of lacquer on the wonderful wood, and the locksmith, too. I just play a small part in a big wheel.”

There is another, albeit related, topic, however, that excites Richard just as much – the Shackleton whisky.

Some 35 bottles from MacKinlay’s distillery (which was taken over by Whyte & Mackay) were recovered from the Antarctic hut of explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton in 2006, having been frozen for 102 years.

“All being well, we’ll see that whisky, and nose it, and be in a privileged position to say: ‘This is something that’s not been seen for a century.’

“If the Antarctic Heritage Trust and the New Zealand government allow it, we hope to replicate it and put it on the market, and really bring a better awareness of Sir Ernest Shackleton, a great man. In 1909, he got within 97 miles of the Antarctic.”

Inevitably, the conversation moves on to the cost of whisky. According to the Scotch Whisky Association, the average cost of a bottle is £10.80. But with the Scottish Government’s proposed 45p per unit minimum pricing, the average price for a 70cl bottle rises to £12.60.

Despite this, Richard believes there’s still a whisky for everyone, and adds that the drink’s relatively high price helps keep the industry alive.

“There’s always going to be pricing,” he said.

“What people do not appreciate is that when we’re soaked with rain, production goes down. When the production goes down, the price goes up; there are energy costs, health and safety, and employment’s a cost, distillation’s a cost.”

Whatever the cost, Richard remains a man in love with his trade, and he shows no sign of leaving it any time soon.

“I’ve got a number of things up my sleeve that are quite exciting,” he said. “Things with different ages, different casks – some bordering on quite stimulating – that will create more of a stir.”

It’s also worth remembering Richard’s advice for drinking whisky, whether it’s a 64-year-old rarity worth £100,000, or a supermarket blend: “If I catch you drinking it the wrong way, I’ll kill you,” he said.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

Press & Journal

25 Nov

Council seeks whisky expert in £184m fight with distillery

Benromach company seeking giant payout over effects of flood curbs

Moray Council is seeking a whisky expert to fight its corner in a massive £184million compensation case.

Benromach Distillery lodged the claim with the local authority more than a year ago.

The firm fears its water supply could be disrupted by the flood-prevention scheme at Mosset Burn, Forres.

The distillery – owned by Speymalt Whisky Distributors, parent company of Gordon and MacPhail – laid down the grounds for the compensation claim with the Lands Tribunal Scotland in July 2009.

The disagreement will be settled by the court if the parties cannot resolve their dispute.

The council is now trying to secure the services of a specialist to speak at the Lands Tribunal case.

The individual will be an expert in the conductivity of water and its effects and relevance in whisky production, and be able to demonstrate whether set parameters or conductivity measurements must be met to ensure that a particular brand of whisky can be produced.

Moray Council has spent more than £1million carrying out works to improve and protect the water supply at Benromach Distillery.

The £20.9million Burn of Mosset flood-prevention scheme, which is expected to protect more than 850 homes, was completed in August 2009.

Forres has been hit by five major floods in the past 50 years. In 1997, there was £3.7million of damage in the town.

Gordon and MacPhail has said previously it “wholeheartedly” welcomes the flood-prevention scheme’s obvious benefits to the people of Forres, but it came at a “significant long-term cost to our company”.

They said the £184million claim – about equal to the council’s annual budget – had been produced using the district valuer’s own formula.

Last night, a spokesman said there was “nothing new to report”.

“Negotiations with Moray Council continue.”

A tribunal spokesman confirmed yesterday that “plenty” of correspondence had passed between Moray Council and the distillery since the claim was lodged last year.

Local authority spokesman Peter Jones refused to divulge the sum that the local authority had offered to pay the company. He said the information was not yet in the public domain.

He said negotiations were still ongoing, but appropriate arrangements were being made for the tribunal in the meantime.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

Press & Journal

25 Nov

anCnoc Single Malt is Festival Favourite

anCnoc Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky have celebrated their third successful year as lead sponsors of the renowned Leeds International Film Festival,which kicked off with the anCnoc Opening Gala ‘The Kings Speech’ featuring Colin Firth and Helena Bonham Carter.

anCnoc, who have an extensive year-round arts programme, helped showcase a selection of the best new and unseen films from across the globe, which were featured in the festival’s groundbreaking eighteen day calendar. Cinemagoers were able to sample the light and refreshing anCnoc 12 year old malt prior to select screenings at eclectic festival venues including Leeds Town Hall and the Hyde Park Picturehouse.

anCnoc Brand Manager Gillian Gibson commented “It’s been wonderful to support such a dynamic selection of films at this year’s Leeds International Film Festival, as part of anCnoc’s overall arts programme. Our team have seen a great response from sampling wee drams across the city - with the enthusiastic reception at the anCnoc Single Malt Opening Gala and Film Festival Favourites a particular highlight.”

The Leeds International Film Festival included a selection of world and UK premieres, gripping dramas, new world cinema, animation and hit comedies. The programme culminated in the anCnoc Single Malt Film Festival Favourites event, which screened the most popular movies from the festival as voted by audiences at the Hyde Park Picturehouse.

anCnoc, meaning “hill” in Gaelic, and pronounced “a-nock”, is carefully crafted at Knockdhu distillery in the Scottish Highlands. The malt whisky has a distinctive, fresh and contemporary identity and since its re-launch has also made a name for itself sponsoring contemporary arts venues and events across the UK and internationally.

It is a very well balanced dram; with a round and mellow nose and a sensational tasting experience that starts with a pleasant sweetness and culminates in an incredible fruitiness followed by a long smooth finish. Fully matured in a combination of American Bourbon and Spanish Sherry casks, anCnoc’s is a light yet challenging malt for every occasion.

Article Courtesy of Press Release

Press Release

24 Nov

Diageo to extend malt barley deal

Distiller’s pioneering contract for producers to be repeated for another two years

Distiller Diageo is to repeat for another two years a pioneering malting barley contract for farmers.

The deal, which industry rejoiced at its introduction last year, aims to secure malting barley supplies for the drinks giant, which operates 28 malt and two grain distilleries in Scotland.

Diageo said the extension of its ground-breaking deal was in response to ongoing farmer pleas to bring longer-term stability to malting barley contracts and give them the confidence to continue growing a crop that is the key ingredient in the production of whisky and other spirits, such as vodka and gin.

The contract allows those farmers signed up to it to lock in 70% of the malting barley they supply at a set premium – thought to be about £20 a tonne – on November wheat futures. The remaining 30% can then be traded at open market prices. That proved particularly lucrative for growers this year after rates rocketed to in excess of £150 a tonne.

Diageo cereals procurement manager Alan Williamson said: “The pilot we ran last year in response to the concerns of growers and merchants and our needs as a business, has been a great success and we’re delighted to be able to extend it further.

“Diageo values very highly indeed the job that farmers, growers and merchants in Scotland do. Our ambition is to create as stable and sustainable a way of procuring grain that we need in order to assure long-term supply security. So this deal is good for growers in Scotland and good for Diageo.”

Diageo malt distilling director Brian Higgs said quality was vital for the business – Scotland’s largest distilling company and owner of several of the leading whisky brands, including Johnnie Walker, J&B and Bell’s and a single malt portfolio that takes in Glenkinchie, Dalwhinnie, Cragganmore, Lagavulin, Oban and Talisker.

Mr Higgs added: “In order to produce the high-quality spirit for our world-leading whisky brands, we need a sustainable source of high-quality malting barley. Scottish growers are therefore at the heart of what we do and I’m delighted that we are working closely with them to ensure we get the quality malting barley we need.”

The extension of the contract was welcomed by Ian Keith, a grain trader with Frontier at Newmachar and chairman of the Agricultural Industries Confederation grain committee in Scotland.

Mr Keith said the deal had proved very popular with growers as it gave them the ability to lock their malting production into known rates. Fixing now at a November wheat future of £143 a tonne would give growers £163, he added. “We are finding a very favourable response to the increased allocation of these contracts.”

NFU Scotland vice-president Allan Bowie said the contract was an example of what could be achieved when all those in supply chains worked together.

He added: “Diageo are making great efforts to bring long-term stability to grain price structures by recognising the volatility in the global cereal market and acting now to secure barley which gives a fair return to both grower and end user.

“Scottish growers consistently produce a quality barley and that is certainly reflected in Diageo's product. These partnerships can only bode well for the future of barley growing in Scotland.”

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

Press & Journal

24 Nov

Glengoyne 21 Years Old Wins Gold at Scottish Field Whisky Challenge

Glengoyne 21 Years Old has scooped a prestigious gold award at the highly respected Scottish Field Whisky Challenge for the third year in a row underlining its consistent, exceptional quality.

The panel of expert judges, which include Richard Joynson of Loch Fyne Whiskies, Keir Sword of Royal Mile Whiskies and Darren Leitch, of The Whisky Shop group, rated Glengoyne 21 Years Old in the £30 - £75 category for its “Well balanced palate and pleasant finish”. Judge Tatsuya Minagawa, Whisky Bar Manager at the Highland Inn, commented that the whisky had a “Soft warm and creamy nose with a good level of sherry and weak coffee. Creamy to taste with a delicious and complex finish.”

Launched in 2001, the SFWC, is a ‘blind’ tasting of Scotch whiskies and universally acknowledged as one of the most significant taste tests with an esteemed panel of judges.

Alan Wardrop, UK Sales Manager for Ian Macleod Distiller’s, commented: “It is a real honour to be so highly commended by a team of such well respected judges. It really is testimony to Glengoyne’s craftsmanship and heritage passed down over the generations, including the slowest distillation process of any Scotch whisky, that makes our whisky stand out.”

Glengoyne fought off stiff competition from Big Peat, Strathisla 30 Years Old and Glen Grant 25 Years Old to take the Gold Award with a score of 3.83 out of 5.

Richard Bath, Editor of Scottish Field said of the competition: “This is the 10th year of the Scottish Field Whisky Challenge and a landmark moment for us. The reason for the awards success has been its unimpeachable credibility.

“Any whisky that appears in these pages is guaranteed to be a gold standard dram.”

Glengoyne Distillery earlier this year announced a new long-term marketing initiative based on the concept “SLOW” centred on Glengoyne’s distillation speed, which is SLOWER than any other Scotch Whisky. Glengoyne attributes its high quality, smooth tasting malt to its slow distillation, which is about one third the normal rate. Glengoyne 21 Years Old uses 100% first fill European Oak Sherry Casks and, as with all Glengoyne bottlings, is natural colour.

Article Courtesy of Press Release

Press Release

23 Nov

Scotch whisky name gets protection in Panama

Scotch whisky has been granted official protection by the government in Panama, to safeguard against imitations.

The authorities in Panama have granted an application by The Scotch Whisky Association, made in May 2010, for ‘Scotch Whisky’ to be registered and protected as a ‘geographical indication of origin’ (GI). The news comes weeks after the Chinese government guaranteed Scotch whisky the same protection.

Registration ensures the highest levels of protection by local enforcement authorities, supporting the integrity of Scotch Whisky as a product made in Scotland according to traditional practice.

Panama is Scotch Whisky’s 20th largest export market, with shipments reaching £42 million in customs value in 2009. Export value is now 2.5 times greater than it was a decade ago (£16m in 2000).

Richard Austen, HM Ambassador to Panama, said the news “ensured that consumers in Panama can have confidence in the Scotch whisky they buy.”

Gavin Hewitt, chief executive of the Scotch Whisky Association, said: “It is important consumers around the world can have confidence in the quality and integrity of what they are buying. This welcome decision reaffirms Scotch Whisky’s international reputation and means that consumers in Panama will be better protected from any whisky imitations.”

Article Courtesy of Harpers


22 Nov

Glendronach releases latest batch of single cask bottlings

JUST in time for Christmas, GlenDronach, the richly-sherried Highland single malt, is issuing its latest batch of single cask bottlings. As always, it’s very limited, of exceptional quality and available worldwide.

Founded in 1826, GlenDronach produces an award-winning range of 12, 15 and 18 year-olds. But in addition, it also offers a superb selection of limited edition expressions, and Batch 3 is the latest.

Handpicked by Master Distiller Billy Walker, it comprises five outstanding casks from 1989 to 1996 for GlenDronach aficionados to savour. In nose, appearance and palate, the five are classic fruit-laden GlenDronach – offering brambles, ripe plums, raisins, dates and toffee-apple elements.

Three have matured in Pedro Ximinez Sherry Puncheons while two have been carefully aged in Oloroso Sherry Butts.

The five, in ascending chronological order, are:

Year Number Strength Age Cask Type

1989 3833 53.5% 20yo Pedro Ximinez Sherry Puncheon

1990 3059 54.9% 20yo Pedro Ximinez Sherry Puncheon

1990 3068 52.6% 20yo Pedro Ximinez Sherry Puncheon

1991 2512 51.9% 18yo Oloroso Sherry Butt

1996 202 58.3% 14yo Oloroso Sherry Butt

The range is astonishingly subtle and varied. On the nose, the 1989 bottling commences with full earthy aromas leading to a huge portion of dried fig and sweet date pudding. And on the palate, it offers concentrated dried fruit with figs and dates, with toffee-nut brittle on the finish. Contrast that with the 1996, which on the nose suggests super-ripe morrelo cherries and stewed plums combining with spiced raisins and all-spice while on the palate it delivers sweet plum pudding and chocolate-coated raisins with an elegant sherry finish.

Batch 3 has been bottled at cask strength, with natural colour and non chill-filtered. The bottles are individually numbered by hand and presented in a gift box.

Marketing Manager Kerry White said: “Our limited edition expressions have been very successful in the past and we are confident this latest batch will give huge pleasure to our customers. We believe they balance perfection, rarity and sweet delicacy in one glass – the perfect antidote to long winter nights!”

Article Courtesy of Press Release

Press Release

22 Nov

Whisky fun primed for a roll-out

Cellar Trends is planning to roll out its Auchentoshan Presents events nationwide as it looks to attract younger drinkers into its Auchentoshan whisky brand from the rum category.

The Sunday events are currently being held only at north London’s Lock Tavern and are a mixture of music and whisky tasting.

They form part of a series of “seeding events designed to challenge whisky norms and appeal to an emerging discerning whisky drinker as well as the single malt evangelist,” said brand manager for whiskies Michael Cloke.

Collaborations with the pop-up supper club Shacklewell Nights and the Brighton Photo Biennial are also in the pipeline.

Article Courtesy of Morning Advertiser

Morning Advertiser

22 Nov

Glendronach distillery targets corporate sector

FOUNDED by the Scottish entrepreneur James Allardice in 1826, Forgue’s GlenDronach distillery shows it's just as enterprising hiring out its historic premises to the corporate sector.

Marketing Manager Kerry White explained: “As well as being an award-winning malt whisky distillery, GlenDronach is also an excellent corporate events venue. So if companies are seeking somewhere fun, memorable and unique, we’re the perfect choice for that perfect event.

“Whether it’s a corporate lunch, meeting, conference, product launch, incentive, in-house training or team-building day, our recently-refurbished facility will provide a very comfortable and enjoyable environment for hosting that special event. We can comfortably accommodate up to thirty people Monday-Friday all year round.”

She added: “Research shows that workers who are happy and who feel valued make good companies even better. We can help create that special “feelgood” factor for organisations that want to motivate, entertain or innovate, and we’re offering a professional service, expert planning, some wonderful malts and of course a phenomenal location.

"GlenDronach, with its twenty acres of ground, nestles in the valley of Forgue amidst rolling hills which are home to some of the most breathtaking scenery in Scotland. It’s peaceful, calming and far from the madding crowd – yet only fifty minutes from Aberdeen. With atmospheric historic stone buildings, an 18th century cobbled courtyard and many of the time-honoured distilling methods still intact, GlenDronach is the jewel in Aberdeenshire’s crown."

Facilities include a flexible conference room, presentation facilities and broadband Internet access plus friendly staff and excellent food. And as it’s a distillery, there’s a range of tours and opportunities for whisky sampling and expert talks on whisky production and distilling.

For more details, contact 01466 730 202.

Article Courtesy of Press Release

Press Release

19 Nov

Grouse sculpture to be galvanised before it is unveiled

Broxden big bird to take a dip

An iconic sculpture of a massive grouse taking flight will be unveiled on a roundabout at one of the main approaches to Perth on Sunday.

The feature, which has been described as Perth’s answer to the Angel of the North, will be installed on the Broxden roundabout.

Before it is erected, the final part of the sculpting process is taking place over the next few days.

The main body of The Grouse has been taken to Joseph Ash Galvanising in Telford, Shropshire, to be galvanised to protect it from the elements, while sculptor Ruaraig Maciver finishes off the wings and tail sections at Beltane Studios in Peebles.

Joseph Ash Galvanising has the largest galvanising tank of its type in the UK and the main body of the grouse is so large that it is the only place in Britain that can accommodate it.

The 21ft sculpture, which is made of steel and is estimated to weigh over a tonne-and-a-half, will be lifted by a specialist crane and dipped in a bath of molten zinc, which reaches temperatures of around 450 degrees.

Brian Finch, sales director of Joseph Ash, said: “Joseph Ash are delighted to be charged with galvanising The Grouse sculpture, being the latest in a long line entrusted to us by world-renowned UK sculptors in steel who wish to protect their works from corrosion for generations to come.

“Immersing The Grouse in molten zinc at 450C not only gives the sculpture an amazing silver spangle, but it will ensure protection of the base steel against the elements for anything up to 170 years dependent on local climatic conditions.”

Once it has been installed on Sunday, a ceremony will take place next Friday to officially gift the sculpture – which is being paid for by the Edrington Group which produces The Famous Grouse whisky in the town – to the people of Perth to mark the finale of the Perth 800 celebrations.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

Press & Journal

18 Nov

Win a Year's Supply of Whisky From Master of Malt

Master of Malt have launched a Golden Dram Competition in which five lucky winners will receive a year's supply of whisky from the world's greatest distilleries.

The competition was launched to celebrate the release of Master of Malt's dram sets - 24 different tasting sets showcasing the world's finest spirits. Each set includes five beautifully labelled, wax-dipped samples, specially selected by the Master of Malt tasting team. There is a wide range of sets to choose from including an Old and Rare Whisky Tasting Set, a Regions of Scotland, a Super Peaty Whisky Tasting Set, and many more.

120 Different Whiskies

Golden Drams have been hidden in five lucky tasting sets, and if you find a golden dram before the end of November, you win a free Gold Membership (RRP GBP499.95) into Master of Malt's Dram Club. Gold members receive a year's supply of whisky, with 10 exquisite drams every month! That's a glass of superb whisky every other day!

Dram Club

Master of Malt's Dram Club is the ultimate chance to try exceptional whiskies from all over the world. There are three different membership options;

Bronze Dram Club Membership (GBP84.95) includes;

- A 5 dram box-set every three months
- Two Glencairn tasting glasses

Silver Dram Club Membership (GBP249.95) includes;

- 5 new whiskies to try every month
- Two Glencairn tasting glasses

Gold Dram Club Membership (GBP499.95) includes;

- 10 new and exciting drams every month (a year's supply of whisky)
- Two Glencairn tasting glasses.

You can browse the range of dram sets here

Article Courtesy of Press Release

Press Release

17 Nov

Scotch whisky and decanter break records

A 64-year-old single malt Scotch whisky in a unique crystal decanter has sold for a record price of almost £300,000 at an auction in New York.

The decanter, crafted by famous French designer Lalique, holds 1.5l of the rare The Macallan whisky.

All the proceeds will be given to the clean-water group charity: water.

The Macallan, founded in 1824, is produced at a distillery near Easter Elchies House in north east Scotland's Speyside whisky region.

The Lalique decanter was created using the "cire perdue" or "lost wax" method.

Before the auction, the whisky was taken on a 12-city "tour du monde" to build up interest and raise funds for charity: water, an organisation that provides access to clean, safe drinking water for people in developing nations.

At the auction at Sotheby's in New York, The Macallan 64 Year Old in Lalique: Cire Perdue sold for $460,000 (£288,000), to an unnamed woman buyer.

David Cox, director of fine and rare whiskies for The Macallan, said: "We have had a phenomenal response to this very special and rare decanter.

"We are absolutely thrilled with the result of last night's auction which has smashed the world record for the most expensive whisky ever sold.

"It was wonderful to experience the culmination of this incredible project, which has made its way around the world to raise a staggering $600,000 (£373,000) for charity."

The Macallan is one of the world's most-admired single malt whiskies.

It was traditionally known for maturation in Spanish oak, sherry seasoned casks.

Article Courtesy of BBCi


16 Nov

Malt created for Highlanders museum at Fort George

A single malt whisky has been created to help raise money for a museum's £3m redevelopment project fund.

Called Cuidich'n Righ, proceeds from sales of the limited edition spirit will go to the Highlanders museum in Fort George, near Ardersier.

The malt has been created by Elgin-based whisky specialist Gordon & MacPhail.

Museum chairman, Maj Gen Seymour Monro, said the site served as a memorial to Scottish regiments.

He added: "This is an important project which will deliver a quality museum, fit for the 21st Century.

Article Courtesy of BBCi


15 Nov

Balblair Releases Millennium Malt on to the Global Drinks Market

Multi award-winning Balblair Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky has unveiled its latest vintage expression – Balblair 2000, another perfectly timed addition to the Balblair portfolio.

Distilled in the Millennium year, this unique spirit is the latest handpicked choice of Distillery Manager John MacDonald and is another example of the distillery’s unique approach to only ever releasing premium vintages which have matured to perfection.

Only limited quantities of this vintage will be made available to specialist whisky outlets throughout the UK this September and will be rolled out internationally to key focus markets including France, Spain and the travel retail channel.

Slowly matured in single American oak ex bourbon casks, Balblair 2000 vintage is bottled in its purest form at a strength of 43% abv. Bright golden in appearance, it is a superbly well-balanced, full-bodied malt with aromas of pears, pineapple and green apple. On the palate the sweet, honey, floral notes combined with hints of coconut and rich spices lead to a smooth, long lasting and warm finish.

Says Distillery Manager John MacDonald: “We are delighted to be introducing this new addition to our vintage range. We have spent a great deal of time and care in selecting this perfect malt and all the hard work, dedication and devotion has paid off. We are confident that whisky enthusiasts worldwide will really enjoy this newest member of the Balblair family.”

Balblair Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky is ‘timed to perfection’ in every sense. At Balblair’s distillery, on the shores of the Dornoch Firth in Edderton, Tain, super-premium vintage expressions are specially selected after a complex tasting and nosing process. Only the finest whiskies – those that have reached the peak of their perfection – are chosen and named by the year that they were distilled and layed down in cask.

Article Courtesy of Press Release

Press Release

12 Nov

Master of Malt’s Movember Whisky gets a Pop Art Makeover

Master of Malt have release a limited edition range of whiskies featuring pop art cartoons of five leading whisky industry figures. The whiskies are being sold in aid of Movember, the annual men’s health charity, and all profits will be donated to Movember UK.

Two different styles of whisky have been release. Both are blended malts which were created especially for Movember. One, the Mo’land, is a sweet and malty Lowland whisky, the other, the Smo’key, is a peaty, smoky whisky from Islay. There are five different pop art labels to choose from, and each features a famous figure from the whisky industry, sporting a handsome moustache.

The labels include images of:

* Richard Paterson, master blender at The Dalmore and Whyte and Mackay
* Serge Valentin, a French whisky connoisseur and founder of
* Charlie MacLean, a prolific author and expert on the subject of whisky
* Dave Broom, a taster, author and spirits writer
* Marcin Miller, Whisky Magazine’s co-founder, and an icon for both the Scotch and Japanese whisky industries

Just 840 bottles have been released, and all profits go directly to Movember UK.

Article Courtesy of Yahoo News

Yahoo News

11 Nov

SNP bid for minimum alcohol pricing is rejected by MSPs

Watered-down measures backed which aim to tackle binge drinking in Scotland

The Scottish Government’s flagship policy of minimum alcohol pricing was voted down by opposition MSPs yesterday – but a package of other measures to tackle binge drinking will go ahead.

Labour, Conservative and Liberal Democrats MSPs rejected the SNP’s plans to impose a 45p per unit charge by 76 votes to 49, going against advice from the medical profession, chief police officers and some sections of the licensed trade that the measure was the best way to address the health and crime consequences of cheap lagers, ciders and spirits.

Opposition MSPs said the proposal would line the pockets of supermarket giants to the tune of £140million a year, do little to reduce consumption among hardened drinkers, and penalise moderate consumers and the poor instead.

Scotland’s 129 MSPs threw their weight behind other measures in the Alcohol etc. (Scotland) Bill, however, describing it as an “important milestone”.

The new law will mean that “quantity discounts”, such as three for two or 25% off when you buy six cans of beer or cider, will be banned.

Drinks promotions in off-sales premises, including supermarkets, will be restricted, and a Challenge 25 age verification scheme will be introduced in all licensed premises.

The bill also paves the way for the introduction of a social responsibility levy, to ensure those who profit from the sale of alcohol put something back into the community to compensate for anti-social behaviour.

Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon said: “I am disappointed that the legislation we have passed today is not as strong as we would have liked or as it could have been. It has, undoubtedly, been diluted through the absence of minimum pricing, which would save lives and reduce crime.”

Green Party co-convener Patrick Harvie, who supported minimum pricing, said opposition parties were more interested in “giving the SNP a kicking” than improving the nation’s health. But Labour health spokeswoman Jackie Baillie said the SNP’s opponents were right to reject the policy as a tax and duty system was the best way to target cheap drink at UK level.

Tory health spokesman Murdo Fraser said the challenge now was for all parties to come together and find real, practical solutions to tackle Scotland’s drink problem.

Liberal Democrat health spokesman Ross Finnie said: “Scotland’s relationship with alcohol must change and this bill is one step on the road to that change.”

Scotch Whisky Association chief executive Gavin Hewitt said he was pleased minimum pricing had been rejected because it would have damaged the industry at home and abroad.

Dr Evelyn Gillan, chief executive of Alcohol Focus Scotland which was in favour of the policy, described the vote as “a sad day for Scotland”.

Dr Brian Keighley, chairman of the British Medical Association in Scotland, said the result had left him “frustrated and disappointed”.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

Press & Journal

10 Nov

Scotch whisky distillers call on MSPs to reject minimum pricing

Scotch whisky distillers are calling on Scottish politicians to reject minimum pricing, as the final vote on the Alcohol Bill takes place today.

Distillers believe minimum pricing, as proposed by the Scottish Government, would have little impact on alcohol harm but would violate EU and international trade rules.

The Scotch Whisky Association says this would lead to copycat trade barriers in export markets and undermine the industry and its Scottish supply chain.

At 45p a unit, the SWA maintains that the average cost of a bottle of Scotch whisky in Scotland would increase by 16% to £12.60, reducing the domestic market by nearly 13%. Value and own-label brands would be particularly impacted.

Scottish health secretary Nicola Sturgeon told the BBC this morning that it "would be a shame" if Scotland missed the opportunity to introduce minimum pricing. "This is a big moment for Scottish politics. I'd appeal to all MSPs to vote for something that will improve public health," she added.

Measures likely to be passed in the Alcohol Bill include a ban on quantity discounts, an age verification scheme and a social responsibility levy for licensees.

Gavin Hewitt, SWA chief executive, said: "We urge MSPs to reject a minimum pricing proposal that simply will not work, fails to meet the basic tests of EU law, and which would significantly damage Scotch Whisky at home and abroad.

"Political parties should instead look at an alternative UK-wide solution to concerns around the pricing of certain drinks. Excise duty reform so that all drinks are taxed on the same basis, according to alcohol content, and a ban on sales below tax, is a fair and socially responsible way forward. It would also secure over £1bn a year extra revenue for the public finances."

Article Courtesy of Harpers


10 Nov

Moray whisky firm is toasting a whole list of new awards

Gordon and MacPhail’s products recognised with no less than five separate honours

A Moray whisky firm is celebrating after scooping a clutch of awards.

Elgin-based whisky merchants Gordon and MacPhail walked away with five awards at the annual Scottish Field Whisky Challenge.

Joint managing director David Urquhart said the company was “proud and delighted with this result”.

He added: “For generations our company has been laying down, maturing and bottling the best and rarest whiskies Scotland has to offer.

“It’s satisfying for all our team at Gordon and MacPhail to have those efforts recognised.”

The firm won gold for Milton Duff 1969 and silver for Longmorn 30 Years Old in the over-£75 category, and two bronze awards for Glen Grant 25 Years Old and Strathisla 30 Years Old in the £30 to £75 category. The Scottish Field Whisky Awards took place on Monday at Edinburgh’s Scotch Whisky Experience. The annual awards seek to find the best whiskies across a range of categories.

Earlier in the year, three malt whiskies from Gordon and MacPhail scooped medals in Scottish Field magazine’s Summer Whisky Challenge. The firm also recently received five Liquid Gold awards in Jim Murray's 2011 Whisky Bible, while their Mortlach 70 Years was named his Single Malt of the Year.

The company bottles more than 300 expressions of single malt whisky and exports to over 50 countries.

Gordon and MacPhail also owns Benromach Distillery at Forres and launched its flagship single malt – Benromach 10 Years Old – in 2009.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

Press & Journal

09 Nov

Scotch legal protection is huge boost for distilleries

China hammers out whisky deal

First Minister Alex Salmond last night toasted a milestone deal with the Chinese government which could lead to a multimillion-pound boost for the Scotch whisky industry.

The agreement will give Scotland’s national drink legal protection in China, meaning it will have to be sold according to UK rules.

It is estimated that the deal could increase sales by tens of millions of pounds each year.

UK Business Secretary Vince Cable was in China to sign the agreement, giving the product geographical indication (GI) status.

Yesterday Mr Salmond was at Portsoy’s Glenglassaugh Distillery to celebrate the deal with Madam Tan Xiutian, consul general of China.

The Scottish Whisky Association (SWA) applied to the Chinese government for GI status in 2007.

Last year, the SNP leader led a delegation, including members of the SWA, to progress the application with China’s minister of quality supervision, inspection and quarantine Wang Yong.

Mr Salmond said: “This is a long-awaited and very welcome announcement from China.

“It provides a great boost for our world-renowned whisky industry, strengthening efforts both to increase exports in a key market and to secure jobs across Scotland.” SWA chief executive Gavin Hewitt added that the deal was “an important milestone”.

He said: “It will support growth in this key market, protecting Scotch whisky and consumers from fake products.”

At Glenglassaugh, Mr Salmond and Madam Tan signed a small cask of commemorative whisky, which will be eventually sold for charity.

The distillery’s managing director, Stuart Nickerson, said: “China is a key market for Glenglassaugh and today’s announcement means that we can refocus our efforts with renewed confidence, knowing that our products and consumers will be protected.”

More than 10,000 people are employed in Scotland’s whisky industry, supporting a further 25,000 jobs indirectly.

Direct shipments of Scotch to China last year were valued at £44million. Once indirect shipments are taken into account from regional distribution centres, the export value is nearly double that at £80million.

Moray MP Angus Robertson, whose constituency has more than half of all malt distilleries, added: “The whisky industry is a vital contributor to the Moray economy and one of Scotland’s key industries in export, earnings and employment terms.

“In Moray, the sector is especially important at a time when the local economy has been badly hit by the strategic defence review.”

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

Press & Journal

08 Nov

Cable backs Diageo’s bid for China spirits group

Diageo’s bid to buy Chinese spirits giant Shui Jing Fang has been boosted by business secretary Vince Cable.

The Liberal Democrat MP is in Beijing as part of the UK’s biggest-ever trade mission to China. He pledged to help the Guinness and Smirnoff owner process its £700m move for Shui Jing Fang.

Diageo has been waiting for months for Chinese regulatory approval to increase its stake in Shui Jing Fang from 43% to a controlling 53% stake.

Cable told The Daily Telegraph the deal would be the subject of “discussions” with the Chinese.

The news comes after the Asian economic giant committed to new legislation to prevent its country’s whisky suppliers from calling spirits ‘Scotch whisky’.

The UK government expects the move to help Scotland to double the amount of whisky it exports to China over the next five years.

Article Courtesy of The Grocer


The Grocer

07 Nov

Chinese boost for Scotch whisky industry

The Scotch whisky industry is set for a multi-million pound boost after securing greater legal protection for the brand in China.

UK Business Secretary Vince Cable is to sign an agreement with Chinese officials which will recognise the brand as whisky produced in Scotland.

It means Scotch whisky on sale in China can only be sold according to UK rules.

The UK government estimates the deal could increase sales by tens of millions of pounds a year.

Under the agreement, Scotch whisky will be granted geographical indication of origin status, which officials said would give consumers greater certainty that the product bought was genuine.

The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) first applied to the Chinese government for geographical indication of origin status in 2007.

In 2009, First Minister Alex Salmond led a delegation with the SWA, Scottish Enterprise and the UK Ambassador in Beijing to press the case with Chinese officials. Mr Salmond returned again in July this year to help secure the designation.

'Recognised worldwide'

In a market currently worth £80m a year, the SWA estimates sales in China will grow by 100% in the next four to five years as a result of the geographical indication registration.

Mr Cable said: "Scotch whisky is a brand recognised worldwide so it is important all consumers should have confidence that the product they are buying is genuine.

"This agreement means greater legal protection in China which will only help strengthen export sales of this successful Scottish product."

The registration followed co-operation between UK Trade and Investment, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), the SWA and the British Embassy in Beijing.

UK Agriculture Minister Jim Paice said: "If it says Scotch whisky on the bottle, it will be Scotch whisky in the bottle in China's bars, restaurants, hotels and homes."

Article Courtesy of BBCi


06 Nov

SWA says value of whisky exports continues to increase

Group urging policymakers to press for fair market access

The Scotch Whisky Association’s latest report on how much of the product was being shipped overseas also revealed that demand continued to grow in traditional markets as well as emerging economies.

Globally, whisky sales netted £1.47billion during the six months to June 30, compared with £1.26billion a year earlier.

Volume was up by 3% in the latest period, to 476.8million standard 70cl bottles.

SWA chief executive Gavin Hewitt said: “Whisky distillers continue quietly and consistently to deliver impressive exports in many markets.”

Mr Hewitt urged the UK Government to help the industry by making fair market access for whisky a priority in talks with trading partners.

He added: “We also look to the government to create a domestic business environment which supports exporters.”

The SWA wants all alcoholic drinks to be taxed at the same rate but on a sliding scale according to alcohol content.

Michael Urquhart, joint managing director at Elgin whisky firm Gordon and MacPhail (G&M), said: “This upturn in sales is a very encouraging sign for the industry, which remains vitally important to the Scottish economy. We’ve seen demand for our products grow in key international markets, such as Japan, Australia, France, the Netherlands and the US, and also in emerging markets such as Taiwan and Hong Kong.”

The SWA figures tell a similar story for whisky makers throughout Scotland.

France was the industry’s top market by sales volume in the first half, importing 80.2million bottles, although this was down 2% on a year earlier.

America was the second biggest market, with sales there shooting ahead by 21% to 56million bottles as the country emerged from its recent economic slump.

Sales to India were up 36% to 19.2million bottles, making it the fifth largest market after France, America, Spain and Singapore.

By value, by far the number one market is America. Whisky exports to the worlds biggest consumer were worth £233.7million, which was up 34% year-on-year.

Sales to France were worth £194.1million, up 6%, and in Spain there was a 1% rise to £116.2million.

The top 10 markets by value also include South Korea, South Africa, Germany, Taiwan, Greece and the United Arab Emirates.

Although Thailand was not among the top 10 export markets by value, volume sales there rocketed 79% year-on-year to some 16.1million standard 70cl bottles as more of the Far East country’s citizens acquired a taste for Scotch.

Meanwhile, the SWA is hoping for a favourable outcome on Monday to talks over the legal status of whisky in China.

The association wants the Chinese government to ensure that all products labelled as Scotch whisky actually do come from Scotland.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

Press & Journal

05 Nov

Scotch whisky exports up 17%

Nine out of Scotch whisky’s top 10 export markets grew in value over the first six months of 2010, according to figures published today by the Scotch Whisky Association.

Global shipments between January-June 2010 were valued at £1.47bn, up 17% on the first half of 2009.

South Africawas one of the leading lights, with shipments increasing 44% (£52.8 million), closely followed by a 34% increase in shipments to the USA (valued at £233.7 million). The value of shipments to France also grew by 6% (£194.1 million). Tough economic conditions in Greece, led to a 9% fall in exports.

Single malt Scotch whisky exports rose by 31% (to £242m), with blended Scotch whisky shipments also up 9% (to £1.1bn), compared to the first half of 2009. New figures showed blended malt Scotch whisky exports are valued at £57m.

The global volume of Scotch whisky shipments rose by 3%, with the equivalent of 477m bottles exported.

Gavin Hewitt, SWA chief executive, said: “Scotch whisky distillers continue quietly and consistently to deliver impressive exports in many markets.

“The industry welcomes the UK coalition government’s commitment to support exports. With a Trade White Paper being developed, fair market access for Scotch whisky must be a priority.

“We also look to the UK government to create a domestic business environment which supports exporters. Bold reform is needed at home to introduce a fair and socially responsible UK excise duty system, which also secures revenue to address the deficit.

“Taxing all alcohol on the same basis according to alcohol content would achieve these objectives. It would send out an important message to administrations in our export markets which would support Scotch whisky’s global competitiveness.”

The SWA figures derive from HM Revenue & Customs data, and are based on the value and volume of shipments to each market.

Article Courtesy of Harpers


03 Nov

Glayva bid to ‘save the British drinks cabinet’

Whyte & Mackay is launching its biggest campaign for Glayva ever this week, as it calls for consumers to ‘Save Britain's Drinks Cabinets’.

The six-figure campaign asks stay-home drinkers consumers to swap the whisky liqueur for long-neglected bottles at the back of their cupboards.

The Scots company surveyed 3,000 drinks cabinets around the UK and found half had not been cleaned out for at least four years.

Consumers that post on Facebook pictures of themselves cleaning out dusty drinks cabinets can earn discounts on Glayva.

“We’re putting more weight behind the brand than ever before and by integrating social media properly with our traditional media, sampling and off-trade discounts, we’ll resonate with our existing drinkers as well as new, younger customers,” said off-trade sales director John Bradbury.

The six-week campaign began on Monday and includes print and radio media.

Article Courtesy of The Grocer


The Grocer
October 2010 Scotch Whisky News

30 Oct

Glenfiddich releases Snow Phoenix whisky

Glenfiddich is releasing a new whisky, Snow Phoenix, to mark the dramatic events of January this year when heavy snow caused some of its warehouse roofs to collapse.

On January 7 2010, a number of warehouse roofs gave way under the weight of four feet of snow, leaving the maturing oak casks exposed. In temperatures of -19˚C, distillery staff swung into action, working round the clock to clear the snow.

Glenfiddich malt Mmster, Brian Kinsman, said: "Standing amongst the wreckage and exposed casks, we were working out our next steps and assessing the situation. I was thinking about how the casks, some of which were very old, contained some beautiful whisky and it occurred to me that they would create a fantastic non-aged single malt. A limited edition bottling from the whiskies in the damaged warehouses would be an appropriate way of celebrating the pioneering spirit of the distillery team at this moment in Glenfiddich's history. "

"A photographer was shooting the scene and rather fittingly, when we looked at the pictures, the light shining through the warehouse roofs looked like a phoenix rising above us. I suppose this was the moment of conception of Glenfiddich Snow Phoenix."

Snow Phoenix was uses natural strength and non-chill filtered casks of different ages and finishes, including American oak and Oloroso sherry. The result is a single malt, gold in colour with bright copper highlights.

Glenfiddich has dedicated Snow Phoenix to the Cairngorm Mountain Rescue Team and has made a special contribution to their funds.

One thousand bottles will be made available exclusively to members of the online club, Glenfiddich Explorers,, with the remainder available in from mid-November, ABV 47.6%, priced £49.99 RRP for a 70cl bottle.

Article Courtesy of Harpers


29 Oct

Bottling boost for single malt supplies

£13m plant opens at Livingston

SINGLE malt whiskies Glenmorangie Original and Ardbeg 10 Years Old made their first journeys along the production line at a £13million bottling plant at Livingston yesterday.

The new site in the West Lothian town’s Alba Business Park is the result of a two-year investment programme by the Glenmorangie Company, which distils the eponymous single malt whisky at Tain, in Ross-shire.

Over the past two years Glenmorangie has sold its Broxburn bottling and cask warehousing site, moved its headquarters from there to Edinburgh and upgraded the visitor centre at Ardbeg Distiller, in Islay.

The company has also increased distilling capacity and cask warehousing at Tain as part of a near-£45million investment aimed at capturing a bigger share of rising global whisky sales.

Announcing the start of operations at Livingston yesterday, Glenmorangie said: “These initiatives have been made in order to meet the future demand for Glenmorangie and Ardbeg in growing markets such as Asia, continental Europe and the US.”

Chief executive Paul Neep added: “These are exciting times for the Glenmorangie Company.

“Alongside our new facilities, we are also investing to develop Glenmorangie and Ardbeg in its key markets across the world.”

Glenmorangie is part of Moet Hennessy, the wine and spirit arm of French luxury goods firm LVMH.

The 130,000-square foot, two-storey, purpose-built site at Livingston features two bottling halls and has various features to boost energy and water efficiency.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

Press & Journal

28 Oct

Glenglassaugh whisky launches Manager's Legacy

Glenglassaugh Distillery has launched a new Manager’s Legacy range of single cask malt Scotch whiskies.

Between 1962-1986 the distillery had four managers — Walter Grant, Bert Forsyth, Jim Cryle and Dod Cameron and a cask from each of their periods in charge has been carefully selected.

Stuart Nickerson, managing director, said: “The Manager’s Legacy range is the first range of whiskies that recognises the contribution of the managers who produced the original spirit that was filled into cask at the start of maturation.

“With each release being an individual cask filling they are all limited edition with the number of bottles per cask varying between 200 and 500 dependent upon the cask selected. Each bottle in each release is individually numbered.”

The first release in the range, celebrating the contribution of Jim Cryle, had 200 bottles available of which only a handful remain unsold. The second release in the range, the “Dod Cameron” bottling will be available from early November and the final two releases will be available in early 2011.

The Jim Cryle release has an rrp £250 per 700 ml bottle, Dod Cameron is £130 for a 500 bottle release, Bert Forsyth is £350 for a 300 bottle release and Walter Grant is £450 for the 200 bottle release.

Article Courtesy of Harpers


27 Oct

Christmas Food and Whisky Festival at Glengoyne Distillery

Experience the Real Taste of Malt and the Real Taste of Food

Glengoyne, Scotland’s most beautiful distillery, is pleased to announce that the second GLENGOYNE CHRISTMAS FOOD & WHISKY FESTIVAL will take place on SATURDAY 4th DECEMBER 2010. This Christmas event with local, like-minded food and drink partners will showcase the best SLOW produce from the area at the home of the SLOWEST distilled Scotch whisky.

Open from 10.30am – 4.30pm it will be a fun day aimed at all ages. In addition to food stalls there will be a range of unusual gift ideas and plenty of activities for all the family.

Distillery tours and tastings will be on offer as well as wonderful food from renowned local chef, TOM LEWIS of MONACHYLE MHOR and his team at MHORfish and MHORbread. Glasgow’s DELIZIQUE and local favourites EDNMILL FARM SHOP will be among a host of other names. For the children there will be story-telling, face painting and of course Santa’s Log Cabin – by the foot of the distillery waterfall at the end of a magical glen.

Building on the success of the 2008 event, Glengoyne have added a number of new initiatives, including a much wider range of food for consumption on the day, additional food and gift stalls, a farmers market, in-depth, one-off super-tastings to showcase the rarest and finest Glengoyne whisky, wandering minstrels, free wine, curry and MHOR master classes, additional heated areas, indoor parking, cooper racing (barrels, not cars) and, of course, a random fire engine.

Stuart Hendry, Brand and Development Manager for Glengoyne commented: “We’ve made a number of improvements this year, but been careful not to lose the unique atmosphere in the distillery courtyard which brought that elusive feeling of Christmas’s past. There was something magical about the last festival and it is important to keep hold of that.

“This year’s Festival will also see the launch of very special micro-release which will give whisky fans a unique insight into the maturation process. This ground breaking approach will appeal to whisky collectors and consumers alike. Further details to follow mid November.

“Glengoyne award-winning Single Malts are made without cutting corners, resulting in a uniquely smooth whisky, which is distilled at a slower rate than any other. We are proud of our ‘slow’ credentials and have been working with local producers such as Tom Lewis at Monachlye Mhor to celebrate these values as well as creating strong and growing links to local food producers and enthusiasts.”

Glengoyne Distillery, which offers an unrivalled visitor experience, is situated just 30 minutes outside Glasgow, looking out over the breath-taking West Highland Way. The event is open to all ages.

Article Courtesy of Press Release

Press Release

27 Oct

Grouse makes a roundabout more famous

Whisky firm funds 20ft sculpture of bird taking flight for Broxden interchange

As part of the Perth 800 celebrations to mark eight centuries since the town was granted charter burgh status, the sculpture is to be erected above the trees on Broxden roundabout.

The project was given planning permission by Perth and Kinross Council yesterday.

The sculpture of the grouse has been chosen as a symbol of Perthshire and will be gifted to the people of Perth by the project funders, The Edrington Group, which produces The Famous Grouse whisky in the town.

Work has now begun on the sculpture, which is being created by Ruaraig Maciver of Beltane Studios, in Peebles, who is best known for the statue of Jean Armour at Mauchline, in Ayrshire.

The 20.5ft structure is being made from an open framework of galvanised steel and will be mounted on a 26ft plinth sitting above the trees on the roundabout, which brings together the A9 from Inverness and the M90 from Edinburgh.

The project also forms part of the council’s bid to get city status for Perth in 2012.

North Tayside MSP John Swinney said: “I am delighted that planning permission has been granted for this striking sculpture at the gateway to Perth, providing a lasting legacy of the Perth 800 celebration with the symbol of Perthshire.

“The Scottish Government wholeheartedly supports Perth in its aim to restore its city status.”

Perth and Kinross Provost John Hulbert added: “Perth 800 has been a huge success and this gift from The Edrington Group to the city is a fantastic legacy to end our year-long celebrations.

“I am sure this statue will become a key landmark for Perth and one which the residents of Perthshire will be very proud of. We hope this sculpture will become our version of the Angel of the North in Gateshead.”

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

Press & Journal

26 Oct

Jura celebrates 200th birthday with new 21-year-old whisky

Jura distillery is celebrating its 200th anniversary with the release of a limited edition 21-year-old which will be available to buy direct from the island or through specially selected whisky partners.

The distillery, which was founded in 1810, is the only distillery on the island and is home to single malt expressions 10-year-old Origin, Superstition, 16-year-old Diurach’s Own and Prophecy.

The new 21-year-old is matured in vintage sherry casks from 1963 and each pack will contain an invitation from distillery manager, Willie Cochrane, to a special tasting of rare whiskies at the distillery. There will also be 21 stays at the Jura available for buyers of the commemorative malt.

Cochrane said: “At the distillery we are all extremely proud of this 200th anniversary expression. Not only is it an exceptional malt, it’s also an exceptionally rare malt with only a few thousand people being lucky enough to be able to enjoy this beautiful whisky that has been matured in a vintage Oloroso sherry cask.”

Article Courtesy of Harpers


23 Oct

Jeweller’s dram good job on pricey whisky

An East Renfrewshire jeweller has played a key role in the story of the world’s most expensive bottles of whisky.

The first bottles of whisky in the world to break the six figure price barrier were unveiled by the Highlands-based Dalmore distillery with a price tag of a cool £100,000 each.

Eric Smith’s Newton Mearns based team was commissioned to design and craft the intricate silver work adorning the three bottles of this exquisite golden spirit.

Bosses at Dalmore – which is part of the Whyte and Mackay group – have called the silver work which is on the bottles “stunning”.

The first two editions of 64-year-old Trinitas, which were named because there were just three bottles produced, were acquired by a luxury whisky lover in the US and a renowned whisky investor in the UK.

If the record-busting bottle had been sold by the glass in exclusive restaurants and clubs, it would fetch up to £20,000 a dram.

Eric and his wife Yvonne have run their successful jewellery business on Ayr Road for more than 30 years.

As a diamond jewellery designer, Eric has been named Diamond Jewellery Designer of the Year in and has created pieces for the Queen, former President Bill Clinton and a string of celebrities.

Article Courtesy of Glasgow Evening Times


Glasgow Evening Times

22 Oct

Global taste for whisky boosts Pernod Ricard

Performance of key brands helps French group to 14% rise in annual sales

Strong performances from key whisky brands helped French alcoholic-drink group Pernod Ricard to a 14% rise in net sales in the quarter to September 30.

The Paris-based company said yesterday that sales of Chivas Regal, produced in the Strathisla distillery, at Keith, and The Glenlivet, distilled near Ballindalloch on Speyside, soared 14%, compared with a year earlier.

Another whisky brand, Ballantine’s, produced at Dumbarton, did better still as global sales jumped 16%.

The higher sales of Chivas Regal, The Glenvlivet and Ballantine’s, which are among Pernod’s 14 strategic spirit and champagne brands, contributed to organic sales growth of 10% at the group.

Pernod said the overall performance had been driven by the success of its key brands – which also include Absolut vodka, Beefeater gin and the Mumm and Perrier-Jouet champagnes – and increased demand in growing export markets such as China and Russia.

Chief executive Pierre Pringuet said the first-quarter result reinforced the group’s confidence for the current trading year.

He added: “Against this background, we have set ourselves the target of achieving organic growth in profit from recurring operations for the current financial year close to 6%.”

Rising global demand for Scotland’s national drink has led to millions of pounds of investment being poured into the industry over recent years, including for a new distillery which opened at Roseisle, in Moray, earlier this month.

Pernod said comparable sales growth in China and Russia over the past three months reached more than 30%. It also reported a pickup in sales to America.

Business was resilient in Germany and France but remained “sluggish” in Spain, Greece and the UK.

Pernod’s revenue rose to £1.67billion in the three months to September 30, from £1.47billion a year earlier and beating analyst forecasts of about £1.6billion.

Alcoholic-drink group Diageo said yesterday chief executive Paul Walsh had exercised options over 150,000 shares in the company at 759p a share under a senior executive plan.

Mr Walsh subsequently sold 140,000 shares for £12.07 a share, gaining £551,300 before taxes and costs.

He now has interests in 663,758 shares.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

Press & Journal

20 Oct

Bowmore launches £6.5k whisky in hand-blown bottles

Whisky brand Bowmore has launched a limited-edition Single Malt in a hand-blown bottle that retails at £6,500.

The Islay firm has produced only 53 unique bottles of Bowmore 40 Years Old that are inspired by the islands coastline and are available in shops in October and November.

Scottish glass-blowers Brodie Nairn and Nichola Burns created the hand-blown bottles that are sculpted using molten glass and stones collected from the Islay shore so that no two bottles are the same.

Nairn said: “Our approach to creating glassware is very similar to the approach Bowmore take with their whiskies; hand-crafted and born from the environment. All our work is free-blown and very organic in nature. For us, the Islay coastline was the natural inspiration for the bottle design.”

Hamilton and Inches, a Scottish jeweller and a warrant holder added the finishing touches to the bottle with a hand-engraved solid silver collar that adorns each bottle.

The bottle is presented on a beautifully polished slab of natural slate providing a fitting plinth to display the bottle at its best.

David Wilson, sales and marketing director at Morrison Bowmore, said: “We are extremely proud of the Bowmore 40 Years Old. They are the result of a huge amount of care and skill by our dedicated and devoted team of craftsmen, and are a valued addition to our unrivalled collection of limited editions.”

Bowmore has also launched 402 bottles of Bowmore 1981 that sells at £270 a bottle.

Bowmore 1981 is packaged in a wooden gift box with a ‘weather-beaten’ brown leather strap and copper buckle, each bottle is also accompanied by a hand-signed and numbered certificate by the distillery manager.

Article Courtesy of Packaging News


Packaging News

19 Oct

A Quartet of Awards for DRAMBUIE 15

DRAMBUIE® is celebrating winning two Gold Medals in the prestigious Drinks International Travel Retail Excellence Awards at TFWA Cannes for its new innovative addition to its Travel Retail range – DRAMBUIE® 15.

Revealed at the world’s largest travel retail exhibition, Drambuie 15 was awarded Gold Medals in two of the most sought after categories, Best Drinks Launch at TFWA Cannes 2010 and Best Drinks Launch of the Year.

Exclusively for drink products, the Drinks International Awards is one of the most established awards in the travel retail sector, recognising the best launches, marketing, packaging and retailers in the world of travel retail. Success in the high-status awards follows last year’s Gold Medal, also in the Best Drinks Launch at TFWA category, for Drambuie’s premium Travel Retail exclusive The Royal Legacy of 1745™.

Will Birkin, Senior Brand Manager for Drambuie Liqueur Co. commented: “To be awarded two Gold Medals in these influential awards is a fantastic achievement. That Drambuie has won Best Drinks Launch Gold Medals for the last two years in a row is unprecedented, and a real credit to Drambuie’s new innovative and forward thinking attitude.”

In addition, Drambuie 15 received Silver Medal recognition from both The Spirits Business Travel Retail Awards and Travel Retail Masters Awards, winning medals in the Best Travel Retail Liqueur and Best Liqueur categories 2010 respectively.

Designed to appeal to Malt Whisky drinkers, Drambuie 15 is a connoisseur expression of Drambuie, drawn from the company’s finest selection of 15 Year Old Speyside Malts. Selected for their soft, complex fragrance and flavour, the rare Speyside Malts ideally complement and balance the herbs and spicy aromas of Drambuie’s famed secret recipe.

With a price position above Drambuie original, Drambuie 15 will appeal directly to existing Drambuie customers trading up and new Malt Whisky experimenters. Drambuie 15 will be available exclusively through select international travel retail outlets (1 litre, 43% ABV).

The Drambuie Liqueur Co. Ltd is an independent, family owned business that has been producing the world-renowned Drambuie Liqueur since 1909. Drambuie is regarded as one of the Top 5 Liqueurs ever produced (Paul Pacult, Spirit’s Journal, 2008) and remains a Top 50 global spirit in volume (IWSR, 2008).

A full list of winners for the 2010 Drinks International Awards can be found on the website

The Drambuie Liqueur Company stand at Cannes TWFA 17-22 October 2010

Riviera Village, Stand RF9

For more information visit

Article Courtesy of Press Release

Press Release

15 Oct

Whisky no more as thief plunders the world’s oldest malt

A RARE limited edition bottle of the world’s oldest whisky has been stolen at a prestigious European trade fair.

The precious malt – worth £385 a nip – was one of the main attractions at the Stockholm Beer and Whisky Festival which was held in Stockholm last weekend

Shocked exhibitors discovered the vintage Mortlach 70 Years Old was lifted from a table by a thief when no one was watching.

The attractive looking 20cl decanter was simply taken from the tasting table of Swedish importers Symposium at the weekend.

It was reported to local police, but so far no trace has been found.

Distillers Gordon and MacPhail behind the classic ‘Generations’ range of whisky revealed it will be almost impossible for anyone to sell the bottle on because it is so rare.

The thief also left behind vital packaging and certificate, a must for any serious buyer.

One of just 162, it was part of a limited number of bottles made by the company under their “Generations” range.

Distilled at the Mortlach Distillery in Dufftown on October 15, 1938, it was left to mature in a first fill oak, ex-bodega sherry hogshead cask at their warehouse in Elgin.

It was bottled at Boroughbriggs Road in Elgin on October 15, 2008, boasting a natural cask strength of some 46.1 per cent.

Regarded as a real gem among whisky aficionados, distillery bosses said they were upset that real fans would now miss out.

Michael Urquhart, Joint Managing Director of Gordon & MacPhail said: “This is a pretty despicable act – depriving whisky connoisseurs of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to sample such a unique whisky.

“We would urge the thief to put it right and return the goods immediately.

“The bottle is engraved with its own unique number, number 53, and we would ask whisky lovers around the world to be vigilant and report any attempts to resell the whisky.

“This is a very special whisky which was the first of a series of older whiskies we are releasing under our “Generations” label.”

Launched by the whisky specialists in March, just 54 full size bottles were made along with 162 smaller decanters.

At a recommended £10,000 for the full size bottle, the rare malt is already selling for far more at auctions across the world.

The smaller decanters start retailing at £2500.

Whisky experts say it has a delicate, fresh, fruity taste with attributes of waxiness and smokiness.

It comes in a tear shaped crystal decanter with a removable sliver stopper and handmade presentation box made from Brazillian Rosewod.

However its value is only assured with the accompanying certificate signed by joint managing directors David and Michael Urquhart.

The Scotch Whisky Association said to their knowledge it was the first 70 year old bottle of whisky ever bottled for retail sale, making it very distinctive in the marketplace.

The collection was only released for general sale in March this year.

Mortlack was the first distillery to be built in Dufftown, founded back in 1823 on the site of an original illicit still.

Operated by Gordon and MacPhail since 1895, it has been owned by four generations of the Urquhart family, specialising in rare whisky.

The family run firm now exports to 50 countries and was awarded the Queens Award for Enterprise in International Trade last year following a 94 per cent increase in total exports value across the preceding five years.

Article Courtesy of Deadline Scotland


Deadline Scotland

14 Oct

World First: Bottle Of Whisky Sold For Six Figure Sum

The first bottle of whisky in the world to break the six figure price barrier was revealed today by The Dalmore distillery which has sold two bottles for £100,000...each.

The 64 year old Trinitas, named because there were three bottles produced, was acquired by a luxury whisky lover in the US and a renowned whisky investor in the UK.

The third bottle of the record breaking spirit will be sold at the Whisky Show in London at the end of October. But organisers are keeping the exact details of the exclusive sale under wraps for the moment.

Industry experts claim that if the bottle was sold by the glass in exclusive restaurants and clubs, it could fetch up to £20,000 for a typical 50ml dram.

Trinitas is believed to contain some of the rarest and oldest stocks of whisky in the world, some of which have been maturing in the distillery on the shores of the Cromarty Firth for more than 140 years.

The Dalmore’s renowned master distiller Richard Paterson used his unrivalled expertise to fuse a range of these exclusive malts together.

He claimed this was not about breaking world records but about making the best whisky money can buy.

"The hand of time has been generous and rewarding with the malts I chose to use. They allowed me to create a taste sensation which will never be repeated again and will only ever be available to those that own these bottles. You cannot put a price on that."

Paterson concluded: "People recognise that you have to pay a premium for true exclusivity, craftsmanship, quality and heritage. Even in this day and age, when times are tough, those that enjoy the finer things in life want to reward themselves with something very special. And you won’t get more special than The Dalmore 64."
If you need additional information about The Dalmore please contact:

Rob Bruce, Head of Global PR on +44(0)750 784 9831

Jill Inglis, Global PR Manager on +44(0)773 636 5247

For information about the Whisky Show contact Charlie Bell on +44(0) 7977 518 613

Article Courtesy of Press Release

Press Release

14 Oct

Smokehead Joins The Search For The UK’s Greatest Unsigned Rock Band With The Marshall Ultimate Band Contest

Smokehead Whisky, in association with Marshall and Lick Library, is sponsoring the greatest unsigned rock band battle of all time, with the most coveted prize in the music industry: The Marshall Ultimate Band Contest (UBC).

Launched on 1 October in partnership with rock ‘n’ roll’s spirit of choice, Smokehead Whisky, the Marshall UBC is calling all rock gods in-the-making to get online and submit their music video. Not only will the winning band receive an amazing set of prizes, their music will be heard by top music industry insiders and influencers, receiving the honour of a Marshall endorsement for one year.

A full endorsement for guitar and bass players from Marshall Amplification is sought after by all the top artists around the world. Bestowed on the likes of Slash and Jimi Hendrix, in the past the only way to get the endorsement was to already be signed and making waves within the music industry.

Not only will the winning band have full Marshall artist support and loan of gear for a year, they will also win a fantastic bands’ worth of Marshall amps including a bass stack and guitar stack. The prize also includes Smokehead Whisky, the powerful Islay Single Malt which has become the drink of choice at rock events including the Classic Rock Roll of Honour Awards and High Voltage Festival; a four-track demo re-master courtesy of Metropolis Studios; Licklibrary DVDs and Classic Rock magazine will put a track from the winning band on a classic rock covermount CD.

Entry is simple and free. Bands need to register with the website, uploading their own YouTube video of original music to The top 20 groups with the most votes will then go through to the second round, where five bands will be selected to compete in the final before Christmas at Marshall HQ in Milton Keynes, performing live in front of an audience and respected industry judges.

Paul Marshall, Artist and Customer Liaison Manager of Marshall Amplification said: “The aim of the Marshall UBC is simply to find the best unsigned band out there and give them a shot. We have brought together some huge music-obsessed sponsors in Smokehead, Classic Rock Magazine, Lick Library and Metropolis, all passionate and committed to supporting and promoting some of the best raw talent that the UK has to offer. Entries have just opened and already the standard is immense.”

Iain Weir, Marketing Director of Ian Macleod Distillers, brand owners of Smokehead Whisky said: As a powerful, peaty Islay Single Malt, Smokehead is irreverent, powerful and not for the faint-hearted - the perfect mix to become a true rock brand. We are honoured to be involved and working with the iconic Marshall Amplification on this exciting project. Through the Ultimate Band Contest, our work with Classic Rock Magazine and High Voltage Festival, we are cementing Smokehead’s reputation and its synergy with the rock world.”

For more details, rules of entry and to enter see

Closing date for entries to Marshall UBC is 15/11/10

Article Courtesy of Press Release

Press Release

13 Oct

Relaunch for Burn Stewart malts

Burn Stewart Distillers is to launch its entire malt whisky range in un-chillfiltered form.

The move applies to the existing Bunnahabhain 12-year-old, Tobermory 10-year-old and Ledaig 10-year-old malts, and a new launch, Deanston Virgin Oak.

Master blender Ian MacMillan said: "Whisky spends all those years maturing in the casks, developing the aroma and flavour.

"By un-chillfilteing, nothing is taken away or added so whisky lovers can enjoy the whisky at its very best, giving them a better whisky experience."

All the whiskies are being bottled at 46.3% abv.

Deanston Virgin Oak has been finished in new oak casks from a cooperage in Kentucky.

The other three malts are being given a new look to coincide with the launch.

Article Courtesy of Harpers


13 Oct

The Glenrothes Offers the Opportunity of a Lifetime:

Could You Become a Glenrothes Whisky Maker?

Berry Brothers & Rudd, makers of the exceptional Glenrothes® single malt Scotch whisky, are offering a one-of-a-kind experience to a select few. Four passionate, promising Scotch aficionados will have the chance to work as an official Glenrothes Whisky Maker, spending a week at the distillery in Speyside, Scotland for a whisky adventure unlike any other.

Each winner, selected from qualified entrants from around the globe, will work at the historic Glenrothes distillery learning the art of creating Scotland's quintessential elixir. The winners will be hosted by Ronnie Cox, Keeper of the Quaich and The Glenrothes Brand Heritage Director, and The Glenrothes Malt Master, Gordon Motion. The participants will spend time learning and honing their skills at each stage of the craft, from testing the fresh water source that runs alongside the distillery, to milling, mashing, fermenting and distillation. From there the whisky makers will be rolling up their sleeves at our onsite cooperage, laying down casks for maturation, nosing whisky from maturing casks to discover the art of maturation, and selecting exceptional casks to be bottled as The Glenrothes single malt whisky. Each of the winners will produce their own selection of The Glenrothes – labeled with their own hand-written tasting notes.

Would-be whisky makers can enter by visiting and telling the judges why they are uniquely qualified to undertake this exciting, immersive task. More information will also be found on The Glenrothes Whisky Facebook page or by following the brand on twitter @The_Glenrothes.

What's in store for the winners? While working at the distillery, the fledgling whisky makers will stay at Rothes House, the brand's accommodation for visiting friends, just a short walk from the distillery. After spending the days learning their craft, they will live as the locals do: fishing in the local streams, dining in the local Highland restaurants or picnicking in the hills surrounding the distillery.

The final day of their adventure will be spent in Edinburgh with overnight accommodations at The Scotsman Hotel and dinner with legendary Scotch expert, Charlie MacLean.

For more information, complete rules/regulations and to enter to win consideration to become one of The Glenrothes Whisky Makers, visit The grand prize is one of four trips to spend time working at The Glenrothes distillery in Speyside, Scotland. Runners up will also have the opportunity to receive unique prizes from The Glenrothes. The contest is open to consumers from around the globe, where legal, who are 21 and over. Entries must be received by January 31, 2011. The trip will commence on May 8, 2011, lasting for seven nights, ending May 14, 2011. The winner must have a valid passport and be able to travel on these dates. Four winners will be selected by an independent judging panel.

About The Glenrothes

The Glenrothes is an award-winning Speyside Single Malt Whisky of exceptional quality from the town of Rothes in Speyside - Scotland's whisky heartland. Established in 1879, the distillery was known only to Master Blenders until the early 1990s, and revered as a Class-A quality enhancer for their premium blends. Today, only 2% of production becomes The Glenrothes single malt scotch whisky. Each vintage is, by definition, rare and finite. Currently available expressions in the U.S. include: The Glenrothes Select Reserve – The House Style, Alba Reserve, Vintages 1994, 1998, 1985, 1975 and 1979 Single Cask.

Article Courtesy of Press Release

Press Release

12 Oct

BenRiach Distillery Company boosts sales team

THE BenRiach Distillery Company, owners of the BenRiach and GlenDronach brands, is beefing up its sales team with the appointment of Donald MacLellan.

He joins the fast-growing Edinburgh-based company as International Market Development Executive.

Working alongside Regional Sales Directors Alistair Walker and James Cowan, MacLellan (29) will be responsible for developing business in new markets such as South and Central America, and Eastern and Central Europe.

He was born in Australia to Scottish parents and educated there, obtaining a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management.

After travelling around Europe in his gap year, Donald joined Bruichladdich where he spent five years, first as Web Shop Manager and thereafter in the sales team where he was responsible for Eastern Europe and Russia which he subsequently developed into more than fifteen active markets.

Commenting on his appointment, Donald said: “I couldn’t resist the lure of working with the BenRiach and GlenDronach brands - two phenomenal malts with huge growth, especially in the last two years - and innumerable opportunities for impressive growth in the future.

“BenRiach is enormously under-appreciated by malt whisky fans. Until becoming independent in 2004 it was largely unknown on the general market as it was used primarily for blending in the past, but with over forty years’ stock – both peated and unpeated – it has huge potential worldwide.”

Donald also plans to develop BenRiach and GlenDronach’s social media accounts, such as on Twitter and Facebook.

“These give us a huge opportunity to connect with our many thousands of fans worldwide. I’ll keep all BenRiach and GlenDronach followers fully informed about news, stories, new products, tasting notes and general distillery happenings.”

Alistair Walker said: “We are delighted to have Donald on board. He brings excellent industry experience with him, and his addition to the team will allow us to further expand the availability of our malt brands worldwide.”

Article Courtesy of Press Release

Press Release

11 Oct

Ballantines takes top honours in whisky awards

A blended scotch whisky has swept aside all single malt rivals to take the prestigious Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible Award for 2011.

Ballantine’s 17-year-old has topped all other whiskies in this year’s publication, which includes 4,500 different brands – of which over 1,000 new entries were tasted by Jim Murray in six months.

Single malt scotch, often preferred by whisky lovers, failed also to take either the runner’s up or third spot. Second place went to Thomas H Handy Sazerac Rye (129 proof) ahead of William Larue Weller (134.8 proof), both from the same distillery: Buffalo Trace.

Speaking at the publication of the Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible 2011 Jim Murray said, “Blends are seen by many as the poor relations to single malts. Ballantine’s 17 proves, quite spectacularly, what many of us have known for a great many years: it isn’t.

“A blender has the chance to create something unique and quite beautiful by putting together many whisky styles. With Ballantine’s 17, the blender has done his job in glorious, quite majestic fashion.”

Article Courtesy of Talking Retail


Talking Retail

09 Oct

BenRiach returns to profit as whisky sales soar

Benriach Distillery Company, the business owned by whisky veteran Billy Walker, has surged back into the black on the strength of expanding domestic and overseas sales of its malts.

Accounts obtained by the Herald from Companies House show Larbert-headquartered BenRiach posted a pre-tax profit of £3.9 million for the 2009 calendar year, compared with a pre-tax loss of £1.9m the year before. Sales rose to £15.1m, from £12.6m in 2008.

Mr Walker, the former operations director at East Kilbride distiller Burn Stewart who acquired the Elgin-based BenRiach distillery from French giant Pernod Ricard in 2004 and then Aberdeenshire-based GlenDronach four years later, said: “I’m extremely pleased with these results. We were also profitable last year, but we decided to take some goodwill impairment on the acquisition of GlenDronach.

“This year’s profits were driven by the growth of our brands right across all our markets – Taiwan, Japan, the US, France, Germany, Denmark, you name it.

“We shifted around 200,000 bottles of GlenDronach last year, which is double the amount we thought we’d sell.”

Mr Walker bought GlenDronach distillery, in Forgue, Aberdeenshire, in August 2008 with funding from partners Geoff Bell and Wayne Keiswetter.

A £7m investment plan was unveiled last year to restore the single malt to its former glory – in the 1960s, GlenDronach was in the world’s top five most popular brands – and to take it to new global markets.

In 2004, the three-man consortium paid Chivas Regal around £5m for the mothballed Speyside distillery BenRiach, which Walker has since grown into an award-winning business.

At the end of 2009 net debt climbed to £22.1m, compared with £20.1m the year before.

Article Courtesy of The Herald, Scotland

The Herald, Scotland

09 Oct

Drambuie says Greek debt crisis hits demand for whisky liqueur

Sales down 8% in Scottish company’s third largest market

Whisky liqueur maker Drambuie said yesterday its annual volume sales to Greece dived by 8% amid economic turmoil in the Mediterranean country.

Greece is Edinburgh-based Drambuie’s third most important market after America and the UK.

Demand for the drink among Greeks plummeted as financial woes hit the nation earlier this year leading to violent protests on the streets of Athens and other places.

The falling sales in Greece and a difficult market in the US offset a strong performance in the UK, where sales volume grew by 27%.

Turnover in the 12 months to June 30 was down slightly, at £19.17million, with Drambuie reporting pre-tax losses of £1.65million – after profits of £1.44million in 2008-09 – but also “a seminal year” for the firm. It said: “A new packaging design for the core brand was rolled out from July 2009 to ensure that it was in all key markets prior to the peak Christmas period.

“Its introduction was accompanied by a significant investment in new TV advertising for the top four markets of the US, UK, Greece and Canada, which account for two-thirds of the brand’s volume sales.”

Drambuie said it had also strengthened its global travel retailing, with the introduction of The Royal Legacy of 1745 – a super-premium expression of Drambuie – at the Cannes Tax-Free World Exhibition last autumn.

“The focus on this important sector of the business led to an overall volume growth in global travel retail of 11% in the year,” the firm said.

In addition, Drambuie changed its supply arrangements during the period.

Whisky procurement, blending, bottling and warehousing plus customer services were transferred to Morrison Bowmore Distillers from the Glenmorangie Company earlier this year.

Chief executive Phil Parnell said: “We are absolutely delighted with this new business partnership, which is already yielding significant benefits to both parties.

“The quality of the product has been enhanced, there is a reduction in production overhead and we have secured synergy on distribution.”

Drambuie – whose underlying operating profits were flat at £2.8million – said its balance sheet remained strong, adding: “The company continues to be debt-free, with £4.8million of cash on hand. Tangible assets have increased by £1million as a result of the investment made in a dedicated bottling line at Morrison Bowmore.

“With the exception of the problems in southern Europe we look forward to further recovery in 2011.”

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

Press & Journal

05 Oct

Relaunch for Glen Garioch Scotch whiskyl

The 200-year-old Scotch whisky brand Glen Garioch has reappeared on the market, after a 15-year hiatus, with three new single malt expressions.

The distillery, which dates from 1797 and is pronounced Glen Geery, closed for a two-year period between 1995 and 1997 for extensive refurbishments. Since 1995 its whiskies have been available only in very small quantities, usually through travel retail, until it could build its stocks up again.

Brand ambassador Tom Jones said: “For independents and whisky shops it’s an oportunity to have a brand that’s not widely available in national chains. I'd expect to sell around 16,000 cases per annum by 2013 or 2014."

It now aims to focus its attentions on independent retailers and specialist whisky shops, and plans to specialise in vintage expressions.

Glen Garioch plans to release small batch vintage expressions to complement the core range — the latest is 1991. It was matured in North American oak, bottled in 2010 at cask strength of 54.7% abv, and retails for £64.99.

Jones said the distillery used peated barley until 1993, so the 1991 vintage has quite a distinct flavour compared to the other two in the range. He said the distillery’s location, at Oldmeldrum in Aberdeenshire, meant there was “no maritime influence on the smokiness”.

Glen Garioch is distributed in the UK through Cellar Trends.

Article Courtesy of Harpers


03 Oct

Diageo opens the first major new whisky distillery for a generation

The £40m distillery at Roseisle can produce 10m litres a year which go into brands such as Johnnie Walker, J&B and Bells

As visitors to Scotland's whisky trail wend their way amid the rugged beauty of the Highlands, they are more used to glimpsing the turrets of baronial mansions than outcrops of sleek modernism. But Roseisle, in Speyside, the country's first major new distillery in a generation, looks like it has been plucked from London's south bank. A squat industrial design incorporates glass walls that expose the giant copper stills at the heart of the £40m complex, owned by drinks group Diageo.

The new distillery is a symbol of optimism for the industry after the uncertainty of the global economic downturn. The scotch industry had been riding high when the financial crisis hit and the subsequent collapse in demand in 2009 ricocheted through important markets like South Korea, where sales contracted by almost 25%. Sales in Spain and Singapore were down 5% and 9% respectively. There was also evidence of drinkers trading down to cheaper spirits – such as hard-up Russians returning to vodka.

David Gates, global category director for whiskies at Diageo, says emerging markets are leading the recovery: "The places we're seeing demand pick up quickest are Asia, Latin America and parts of eastern Europe. Southern Europe is more concerning because Spain and Greece, which are big scotch markets, remain in very difficult economic situations."

Whisky sales in 2009 see-sawed, with the weak first half followed by a strong rebound, an effect that resulted in a fourth year of record exports, up 3% at £3.1bn. Gates says that while the financial crisis was a rollercoaster ride it has not been a permanent setback for the industry.

"The bounce back was much bigger and quicker than everyone thought," he says. "If we look at our sales predictions from three years ago we are back where we expected to be. The economic crisis caused us to take a deep breath and consider whether it would affect long term projections but within a year we were back feeling comfortable again."


The vagaries of global demand give drinks companies like Diageo a headache as often at the darkest hour they have to predict the level of demand for blends such as Johnnie Walker, J&B and Bells a decade ahead, when the current crisis will be just another page in economic history.

Hence the investment in Roseisle. "We know the growth in scotch is going to be strong," Gates says.

The wrong decision cannot be easily corrected – at the moment Diageo's Lagavulin is in short supply so its marketers have had to switch focus to other malts such as Caol Ila instead.

Legally it takes three years for the "new make" to even earn the name whisky and London will be hosting the Olympics before the first dram from Roseisle's stills makes the grade.

At full pelt, Roseisle will produce 10m litres of spirits a year. Before it opened Diageo's largest malt distillery was Dufftown which produces 6m litres. Test production began last year but all 14 stills are now operational.

It is Diageo's 28th malt distillery and a leading piece in the jigsaw of a £600m restructuring that proved controversial, The expansion at Roseisle, where Diageo is trying to make production carbon neutral with features such as a £14m biomass plant, is set against the planned closure of its packaging plant in Kilmarnock.

The renaissance of Scotland's whisky industry has had little to do with Scottish consumption. Drinks groups have concentrated on the emerging middle-class in countries such as Brazil, where sales shot up 44% last year.

In Mexico whisky sales were up 25% as locals defected from tequila. Even in the US where Buchanan's is the fastest growing whisky brand, this is down to its popularity with the Hispanic community.

Although a very profitable market, UK sales were lacklustre at the last count when compared with global scotch sales growth of 5%, but Gates says "bollocks to that" and is determined to rekindle interest. "We have had a lost generation who opted out because they didn't want to drink their father's drink but there are early signs that scotch could be cool again.

Against a backdrop of potentially devastating public sector job cuts in Scotland, likened by one MSP to the closure of a Ravenscraig steelworks every two weeks, Diageo is not the only company investing in the industry.

David Williamson, public affairs manager at the Scottish Whisky Association, says five smaller new distilleries other than Roseisle, have been built since 2005. The projects include Kilchoman on Islay and William Grant's Ailsa Bay at Girvan. Distilling capacity has also been increased at The Glenlivet, which is owned by Chivas Brothers, and The Macallan, part of the Edrington Group.


There has also been substantial investment in bottling and warehousing – John Dewar's owner Bacardi has built a new warehousing facility at Poneil in the Douglas Valley.

"We are aware of plans for seven new distilleries which are at different stages of development," said Williamson. He said in recent weeks planning permission had been granted for new distilleries at Annandale and Falkirk.

Diageo chief executive Paul Walsh has hinted at the possible need for another distillery in three to four years but the company said no planning applications were currently being progressed.

Roseisle has been built to support Diageo's blended whiskies but has not ruled out bottling the whisky as a single malt.

"I don't really know what it will taste like yet," admits Diageo master blender Douglas Murray as he noses the "new make".

"It reminds me of the smell you get when you walk on a lawn after it's been raining. The character will depend on the marriage of the wood (of the casks it is aged in) and the distillery but I know it will be good."

Article Courtesy of The Guardian

The Guardian

02 Oct

Whisky company William Grant toasts turnover rise

Spirits firm William Grant & Sons has reported a 40% rise in turnover to £838.3m.

Pre-tax profits fell from £129m to £114m due to one-off charges.

The company said the growth came from its core brands, which include Glenfiddich malt whisky and Hendrick's Gin.

The group recently bought the Irish whiskey Tullamore Dew and said it had plans to turn it into a "truly iconic brand".

William Grant said it continued to invest in its core brands and had set up a marketing office in India to manage them across the sub-continent.

Stella David, William Grant & Sons' chief executive, said: "We remain focused on becoming the most coveted branded spirits company in the world and shall continue to invest in Glenfiddich and our other core brands to secure the long-term future of the business."

Article Courtesy of BBCi


01 Oct

Highland Park launches unique packaging for oldest whisky

Highland Park distillery has unveiled the oldest ever island single malt whisky - Highland Park 50 year old - launched exclusively at Harrods.

With only 275 bottles produced, each bottle is unique, encased in an intricate ‘net cage’ of hand-crafted ornate Sterling silver created by Scottish jewellery designer Maeve Gillies, who took inspiration from Orkney’s elemental forces. Gillies’s bottle design celebrates Orkney: its seas, island life, wild elements, incredible natural light and the passage of time.

In recognition of the famous St Magnus Cathedral and its medieval beauty, the front of each bottle features a single piece of circular Orkney sandstone into which is hand-carved the Highland Park amulette. Inside the bottle, behind this sandstone, lies a Sterling silver replica of the St Magnus rose window which is revealed over time as the whisky is drunk.

Matthew Turner, Global Controller of Highland Park, said: “The success of Highland Park’s 30 and 40 year old single malts, coupled with the distillery’s enviable position of having aged whisky stocks available, has enabled Highland Park to meet increasing demand for exclusive bottlings. We are thrilled to be launching what we believe to be the oldest ever island single malt whisky.

“At a price breaking the £10,000 mark reflecting the super-premium nature of the product, the 50 year old combines the strong, award winning reputation of Highland Park with a unique and artistic artefact unlike anything ever seen in the single malt whisky industry.

“Furthermore this historic limited edition encapsulates Highland Park and its close connection with the land and seascape, wild elements, history and culture of Orkney.”

The bottle designer, Scottish born Maeve Gillies of MaeVona, said: “This bottle design is my tribute to the incredible natural beauty of Orkney and Highland Park. The design and crafting was made to look and feel in tune with ancient artefacts that define Orkney and with every bottle being uniquely hand- finished, each is very personal and dear to my heart. I hope people enjoy it for a lifetime, and beyond.”

Highland Park 50 year old is presented in a hand-carved Scottish oak box with softened edges as though eroded by the Orcadian elements. Each has its individual characteristics and detailing along with a Sterling silver porthole through which one can view the Highland Park bottle and on its front the single piece of Orkney sandstone and the hand-carved amulette.

The Highland Park 50 year old is available exclusively at Harrods in London until the end of October when it will be available in the UK from specialist independent whisky retailers and globally.

Article Courtesy of The Drum

The Drum
September 2010 Scotch Whisky News

30 Sep

Grants whisky signs TV sponsorship deal

Grant’s whisky will return to TV screens after a 15-year break after signing a sponsorship deal with Piers Morgan Life Stories on ITV1.

Five, ten and fifteen-second break bumpers will be shown at the beginning and end of the prime time Saturday show, as well as either side of all commercial advertising breaks.

Grant’s whisky will also be the official sponsor of a one-off special ‘When Piers met Lord Sugar’ programme. The series begins on October 2.

James Stocker, marketing controller for dark spirits at First Drinks, said: “The ITV sponsorship deal with Piers Morgan Life Stories will demonstrate our commitment to Grant’s whisky and will really end the year on a high for the brand, which continues to enjoy strong growth.”

As part of the pre-publicity planned for the ITV1 series, Grant’s whisky will benefit from significant online advertising exposure. Off-trade support to increase visibility of the sponsorship will include shelf barkers and trade advertising.

This will be the fourth series of the hit biographical talk show which has attracted a host of star interviews, including Simon Cowell, Katie Price, and then Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

Article Courtesy of Harpers


29 Sep

Groundbreaking Moray distillery to bring jobs boost

Malt whisky from the plant to be used in premium international blends from 2012

AN INNOVATIVE Moray distillery is to open next month.

The £40million malt whisky distillery at Roseisle, the first of its scale to be opened in Scotland in more than 30 years, will create about 25 jobs.

Roseisle, which already has a large maltings facility, became fully operational as a distillery in April 2009.

It features 14 copper stills, and has the capacity to produce more than 2million gallons of whisky per year.

The liquid produced at Roseisle will be used in Diageo Scotch whisky blends such as Johnnie Walker and Buchanan’s from 2012.

The premises will be formally opened by Diageo’s chief executive, Paul Walsh, on October 11.

Mr Walsh said: “Economic growth and consumer demographics present a great opportunity for the Scotch whisky industry.

“The construction of Roseisle will allow Diageo to supply the growth in demand of its premium international Scotch brands.”

Roseisle was designed using a variety of environmental technologies and traditional distilling techniques in an attempt to make it as sustainable as possible.

The majority of the byproducts from whisky production will be recycled on-site in a bio-energy facility.

This means the distillery can generate most of its own energy and reduce potential carbon dioxide emissions by about 13,000 tonnes.

Roseisle has already won two awards from the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors, gaining the accolades for sustainability project of the year and overall project of the year.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

Press & Journal

29 Sep

Crew Member Wanted to Attempt one of the Last Great World Firsts

Old Pulteney Launch Global Search for Record Breaking Arctic Explorer

Internationally renowned Scottish explorer Jock Wishart and Old Pulteney Single Malt Scotch Whisky have today announced a new international competition to find the final crew member for a pioneering arctic expedition –The Old Pulteney Row to the Pole.

The Old Pulteney Pole Position Challenge will put the world’s thrill seekers to the ultimate test to see if they have what it takes to make history. They will join a remarkable mission to conquer what could be one of the world’s last true ‘firsts’ – a rowing attempt to the North Pole.

In August 2011, adventurer and sportsman Jock Wishart will lead a six strong crew through some of the harshest conditions on earth in an attempt to row to the Magnetic North Pole. In a specially designed ‘ice boat’, Jock and his crew will set off from Resolute Bay in Canada and the Pole Position winner will be given the once in a lifetime opportunity to join them.

The Old Pulteney Pole Position Challenge was created to offer one determined individual the chance to do something beyond the extraordinary. The 450 mile route across the arctic will require extreme physical and mental endurance and dedicated individuals that feel they have the potential to become a member of Jock’s crew can apply online now at:

Shortlisted entrants will be selected by Jock and invited to showcase their fitness, team building and mental abilities by competing head-to-head in a Pole Position Challenge Day on 20th November. The winner will be personally trained by Jock in the lead-up to the expedition and will join the crew in August 2011 in their attempt to create history.

The Old Pulteney Row to the Pole is of global significance as both a pioneering maritime adventure and an environmental expedition. The voyage has never been undertaken before and is only now possible due to the increase in seasonal ice melt of the Arctic landscape. The attempt will be captured on camera for UK and international audiences and will follow Jock’s preparations and the 4-6 week long row where his team will face dramatic ice-bound coastlines and shifting sea-ice barriers. His background as an expedition leader and his long track record of organising successful record attempts will stand him in good stead as he faces his biggest challenge to date.

Jock Wishart says:

“When you’re planning an Arctic expedition the most important thing is your crew. When Shackleton asked for his crew he made it clear what kind of people he needed: “Men wanted for hazardous journey. Small wages, bitter cold, long months of complete darkness, constant danger, safe return doubtful, honour and recognition in case of success.

The Old Pulteney Row to the Pole will hopefully not be as dangerous as Shackleton’s adventure but there will be plenty of excitement, adventure and opportunities for the Pole Position winner to test their mettle and physical stamina.

Old Pulteney’s partnership with Jock is rooted in the whisky’s renowned maritime heritage and history of supporting sailing and seafaring adventure. The whisky is distilled in the historic harbour town of Wick, the most northerly distillery on the UK mainland and the windswept and rugged landscape that surrounds it has given the malt its legacy as the Maritime Malt.

Margaret Mary Clarke, Senior Brand Manager for Old Pulteney commented:

‘Old Pulteney is delighted to launch the Pole Position Challenge which will offer one person the unique opportunity to become a record breaking arctic explorer. We will be supporting Jock throughout his search for a final crew member and are confident the competition will attract some truly exceptional entrants.”

Article Courtesy of Press Release

Press Release

27 Sep

Dram-atic day at Dufftown auction

More than £10,000 worth of whisky sold to collectors

MORE than £10,000 of whisky was sold to collectors at Dufftown’s whisky festival auction yesterday.

A limited edition 1971 Glenmorangie, which went under the hammer for £250, was the highest-selling bottle of the Scottish dram.

Organiser Gordon Haughton said the atmosphere was exciting as more than 50 enthusiasts people attended the event at the town’s Royal British Legion Hall.

Auctioneer Ian Duncan, of Tulloch Farm, Dufftown, held the floor for more than three hours.

The event was organised by Dufftown 2000. The limited charitable organisation raises funds to run the town’s whisky museum and other local initiatives, including the Christmas tree and decoration display.

Mr Haughton, 58, of Mount Crescent, Dufftown, estimated that up to £700 was raised for Dufftown 2000 through commissions.

He added: “It’s a long drawn-out affair by the time you organise everything and get the bottles numbered, but for the three or four hours that you’re in the hall it’s just pandemonium.

“As soon as the bottles sell people want to pay for them and take them home. There’s a silence in the hall when anything sells for over £150. It’s really quite exciting.”

Hundreds of whisky enthusiasts descended on Dufftown at the weekend for a whisky extravaganza. The autumn festival featured accordionists, drummers, singers, pipers and clarinet players in Memorial Hall.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

Press & Journal

24 Sep

Whisky lovers to invade Dufftown

Stage set for four-day celebration of Speyside and its most famous product

Hundreds of whisky enthusiasts will descend on Dufftown for a whisky extravaganza this weekend.

Speyside hotels and guest houses are expected to be full as visitors flock to the Dufftown 2000 group’s four-day event.

Organising group vice-chairman Andy Cameron said various whisky-themed events were lined up for the weekend-long celebration.

The autumn festival started last night with a welcome party for members of Dufftown’s Whisky Museum.

Throughout the weekend the Keith and Dufftown Railway will be ushering whisky visitors aboard for a scenic taste of Speyside.

Up to 25 musicians will take to the floor of the Dufftown Memorial Hall tonight at 8pm.

The ensemble will feature a group of 25 musicians, including accordionists, drummers, singers, pipers and clarinet players.

Musical leader Andy McCormack has been involved in Moray’s music scene for more than 60 years.

Mr McCormack, of Church Street, Dufftown, who previously led the Elgin Strathspey and Reel Society and runs the Forres Accordion Players’ Club Orchestra, said the magic of the stramash was the unexpected.

He added: “That’s the unique thing about the stramash. Whoever comes in the door is welcome to join us.

“That happens all the time. On Monday night we had two guitarists from Germany and we had a singer from Russia the week before.

“We don’t know who’s coming in and they’re all made very welcome. Language is never a barrier.”

The festival will feature a craft fair in the Dufftown Memorial Hall from 10am to 4pm tomorrow and on Sunday.

Speyside High School pupils will perform from 2pm to 2.45pm tomorrow.

A whisky auction, featuring 240 lots, will take place on Sunday at 3pm in Dufftown Royal British Legion Hall in Balvenie Street.

On Monday, walkers will enjoy a five-hour “dramble” around seven whisky distilleries.

Festival vice-chairman Mr Cameron, 59, of Davaar, Church Street, Dufftown, said he expected the town to heave with whisky enthusiasts.

He added: “In springtime we celebrate the Speyside Whisky Festival for the whole of Speyside, but the autumn festival is very intimate for Dufftown. We get hundreds of regulars coming back every year.”

For information about the event phone Mr Cameron on 01340 820464.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

Press & Journal

24 Sep

Star-struck! Glendronach visitor centre awarded four stars by VisitScotland

VISITSCOTLAND has awarded GlenDronach’s Visitor Centre four stars in recognition of its excellent facilities and services, making the Aberdeenshire distillery one of Scotland's top tourist attractions.

The Tourist Board’s Quality Assurance Inspector visited the Forgue distillery this summer and says she was most impressed by the efforts it has made to welcome visitors from home and abroad.

VisitScotland says its grading schemes take the guesswork out of planning a holiday or short break, giving reassurance to visitors quickly and clearly.

The report noted that visitors travelling along the A96 are given an excellent opportunity to navigate to the distillery, via the comprehensive system of brown tourist signing.

The Inspector found the clock display showing the next available tour very helpful and she had high praise for the decorative state of the Visitor Centre.

She commented: “Its new interiors are very contemporary and of high quality, which has certainly brought the Visitor Centre up to date.”

She was also very complimentary about the daily tours visitors are given around the distillery.

“The tour was very ably undertaken by Karen who was very easy to recognise given her corporate appearance. Tours are tailored carefully to meet the expectations of visitors, being structured around the product itself for the enthusiast or a good dash of history for the general visitor.”

She also welcomed the fact that some of the staff are able to speak a number of foreign languages, helping to make the tour intelligible and interesting for the international visitor.

GlenDronach’s Marketing Manager Kerry White oversaw the Visitor Centre’s transformation during the summer. She said: “Everyone at GlenDronach is delighted with this latest award. It’s a wonderful tribute to our staff at the Visitor Centre and reflects the care and attention to detail we have lavished on it this year. It also shows that we have achieved high levels of excellence and offer exceptional service to the thousands of visitors who come here every year.

“The Report was very helpful in indicating some areas we can do even better, and we are now aiming to get five stars very soon.”

For more information, visit

Article Courtesy of Press Release

Press Release

23 Sep

Diageo might build new distillery

Drink giant says growing whisky demand could lead to need for extra capacity

Alcoholic-drink giant Diageo might have to build another new whisky distillery in Scotland in the next few years to cope with rising demand, it emerged yesterday.

Chief executive Paul Walsh revealed the possibility during a media briefing at the company’s Edinburgh offices.

Diageo said last month organic sales of its whiskies had grown by 5% in the year to June 30.

The increase helped the group – best known for its Johnnie Walker brand – to deliver a 12.5% rise in annual profits to £2.4billion.

Its worldwide operations include 30 whisky distilleries in Scotland employing 4,000 people.

Diageo spent £40million recently on constructing the first major new whisky distillery north of the border for 30 years at Roseisle, near Elgin. This will produce more than 2million gallons a year.

Richard Bedford, the company’s grain-distilling director, said Roseisle had now been in production for about 15 months and was performing extremely well.

Its output will appear in all of Diageo’s blends.

Mr Walsh, when asked if the group had enough capacity to meet possible future demand, said there was some expansion capability at Roseisle. He added: “If we saw reasonable Scotch growth over the next four years, we would have to make a decision for a new distillery.”

The chief executive added that a reduction in the high taxation of whisky exports to India – which would give a big boost to Scotch sales – could also force Diageo to act. Mr Bedford could not say where a new distillery might be built, however, or whether it could be of a modern or traditional design.

On the group’s financial performance, Mr Walsh said the business had managed to grow through one of the world’s worst recessions and continued to expand.

He added that Diageo continued to invest in Scotland. He said the company’s investment north of the border in the past six years was £600million, while this year alone, Diageo is spending £100million on construction projects in the central belt.

The group came in for criticism last year when it announced plans for a shake-up of operations which involved closure of its Johnnie Walker bottling plant at Kilmarnock and the Port Dundas grain distillery in Glasgow.

Mr Walsh said these decisions had not been easy, but added that as a result the Scottish operation would be best in class and world leading and ready for the future.

Scotland is one of Diageo’s largest spirit supply centres, responsible for producing nearly 50million cases of whisky and white spirits and 4million-plus cases of ready-to-drink brands annually.

More than 80% of its output from Scotland is exported to 180-plus markets worldwide. Diageo also produces and bottles Tanqueray gin, Gordon’s gin and Smirnoff vodka north of the border in addition to bottling Captain Morgan rum.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

Press & Journal

23 Sep

Elvis to Appear at the Jura Music Festival

A surprise addition to the Jura music festival was announced today as organisers revealed that Elvis will be making an appearance.

Although he will not be performing at the traditional music event, the local distillery’s four year old moggy will be taking pictures of the island shenanigans over the whole weekend using his “petcam”.

Whisky aficionados, feline fans and music lovers will be able to get a cat’s eye view of the bands and the punters enjoying three days of entertainment on one of Scotland’s remotest islands.

The festival starts this Friday (24 – 26 September) with a line up that includes Session A9, Mary Ann Kennedy, piper Fred Morrison, Brigada Mercy and a host of talent from the island itself.

Artists that have made the trip previously to Jura - described as “ungettable” by author George Orwell - include Blazin’ Fiddles, Karen Matheson, Michael McGoldrick, Anna Massie Band, Stuart Cassells, Dannsa, Samba ya Bamba and Deaf Shephard.

Jura distillery manager Willie Cochrane said that Elvis was a much loved regular at the music festival.

“Elvis is very sociable and loves the music and the people, and can often be seen weaving his way between dancing feet into the wee small hours.

“For the first time visitors to the Jura website will be able to see what Elvis sees, and get a very unique insight into this great event. If it’s successful and loads of people log on, we may well make it a permanent feature and people can get a cat’s eye view of life on the island.”

Article Courtesy of Press Release

Press Release

23 Sep

Introducing the Glendronach distillery manager's cask

VISITORS to the GlenDronach Distillery in Aberdeenshire this autumn can now fill their own special bottle from the Distillery Manager’s Cask.

Alan McConnachie has personally selected a cask for bottling - and people visiting the distillery can take home a unique malt they have personally decanted from the cask.

Alan has chosen a single cask GlenDronach (No. 564) distilled in 1993, aged for 17 years in an Oloroso sherry cask and bottled at cask strength 58.4% vol. Each bottle is hand-labelled by the visitor, hand-numbered and signed by Alan. A record is then kept in the Distillery Manager’s book.

He commented: “This is a superb expression from 1993. Its appearance is startling – a pronounced red wood glow with a rich gold edge. On the nose, earthy elements merge with sweet fine oak aromas complemented with sweet cloves and allspice. And on the palate, mocha and hazelnut influences emerge, leading to a sweet rich finish. It’s spectacular.”

The bottles are exclusively available from the GlenDronach Visitor Centre at £66.99 per bottle.

Contact the Visitor Centre for more information on 01466 730 202 or email

GlenDronach Distillery, Forgue by Huntly, Aberdeenshire AB54 6DB.

Article Courtesy of Press Release

Press Release

22 Sep

Elgin whisky specialist adds trio to bolster boardroom

Appointments at Gordon and MacPhail include first non-family executive director

Elgin-based whisky firm Gordon and MacPhail (G&M) unveiled three new members of its boardroom team yesterday.

Two of them, Stephen Rankin and Neil Urquhart, belong to the fourth generation of the Urquhart family to have owned and managed the business.

The third, Ewen Mackintosh, is the first non-family member to hold an executive directorship at the firm. Other board members include three brothers – joint managing directors Michael and David Urquhart, and former MD Ian Urquhart – plus their sister, Rosemary Rankin, and non-executive chairman John Curran.

G&M – owner of Benromach Distillery at Forres – said that the three promotions would help the firm to continue to grow after a near-20% increase in annual turnover despite facing the worst recession for more than half a century.

Results from the parent, Speymalt Whisky Distributors, at the start of this month showed pre-tax profits of £961,436 for the 12 months to February 28, against £697,897 a year earlier. Turnover soared to £18.94million in the latest period, from £15.82million.

G&M said that the boardroom appointments were part of an ongoing succession plan.

Michael Urquhart said: “We take a very proactive approach to change in the business.

“We may operate in a very traditional market but the company has been successful in business for more than a century because we have adapted and developed with the times.

“We have also actively managed the handover from one generation to the next, avoiding the problems faced by some family-owned companies.”

“Each of our new directors brings a wealth of experience to our board of directors.

Last year, G&M won a Queen’s Award for Enterprise in international trade after a 94% increase in exports over five years.

The company bottles more than 300 expressions of single malt whisky and exports to in excess of 50 countries worldwide.

Mr Urquhart added: “These are exciting times for Gordon and MacPhail as we continue our development and, in particular, as we focus on the growth of our Benromach brand.”

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

Press & Journal

22 Sep

Glengoyne single malt scotch whisky still going SLOW

Following a recent 25% increase in case sales Glengoyne Single Malt Whisky has announced a new long-term marketing initiative based on the concept “SLOW”, and is to invest upwards of £1m in the campaign drive over the next two years.

The campaign is centred on Glengoyne’s distillation speed, which is SLOWER than any other Scotch Whisky. Glengoyne attributes its high quality, smooth tasting malt to its slow distillation, which is about one third the normal rate.

SLOWLY distilling the spirit allows more contact with the copper stills, removing unwanted sulphur which can result in bitterness and encouraging the formation of esters creating Glengoyne’s distinctive apple fruitiness. The increased copper interaction also helps draw more flavour from the slowly handcrafted Spanish Sherry oak casks during maturation.

The campaign is supported by Glengoyne’s Ten Slow Truths, a set of facts that are central to life at the distillery and clearly set out why only the SLOWEST distillation process, untainted by peat smoke creates Glengoyne - The Real Taste of Malt. The Slow Truths contain facts about Glengoyne’s distillation and maturation processes, as well as insights into life at ‘Scotland’s most beautiful distillery’.

The Slow Truths have been handed down over the generations at Glengoyne, and the wisdom imparted to every visitor. By sharing the Slow Truths Glengoyne is encouraging drinkers to adopt a slower lifestyle, helping them to slow down, take things easy and spend time appreciating the finer things.

A new advertising campaign keeps the message simple and eye catching, highlighting the core Slow Truths and positioning Glengoyne in a unique way, sustaining its point of difference.

Greg Buckley of STORM-RDA, one of the creative teams behind the initiative, said of the campaign: “Slow is a simple, bold articulation which communicates a core product truth. Our campaign brings this truth to life via a series of 'Slow' communications showing how taking your time and doing everything properly creates quality, both in product and in life.

“We are bombarded with thousands of commercial communications every day. In order to cut through, marketing messages need to be simple, relevant and engaging. Slow is a powerful philosophy that sets Glengoyne apart from all other Scotch Whiskies.”

Iain Weir, Marketing Director for Ian Macleod Distillers said: “The Slow philosophy has worked well for Glengoyne for over 175 years, as great recent sales figures show. We have mastered the art of producing the Real Taste of Malt, using methods handed down over the generations, including the slowest distillation process of any Scotch whisky distillery. Slow is about taking the time to do everything as well as possible, instead of as fast as possible, quality rather than quantity is at the heart of everything the distillery does.

“Our creative teams have been working hard on effective communication of this important message, to both current and potential Glengoyne drinkers. There are still many exciting stages of the campaign to be revealed.”

Further initiatives will continue to be rolled out, slowly, with a number of multi-platform creative elements planned for the next two years. Rebranding of the website and online shop at has already started and is expected to be completed, by award winning digital agency The Weather, by the end of the year, depending on how SLOW they take it…

Glengoyne – The Slow Truths

1. Glengoyne has the SLOWEST distillation process of any Scotch Whisky. The spirit trickles from our stills at about one third the normal rate. This spirit creates the highest quality and smoothest tasting Single Malt Whisky – The Real Taste of Malt.

2. Our barley SLOWLY germinates on the malting floor before being air-dried, rather than dried using peat smoke. The result is a rich, complex whisky in which all of the flavours are allowed to fully express themselves without being masked by smoke.

3. We nurse the spirit through the stills SLOWLY, simmering it to ensure it spends more time in contact with copper. This removes unwanted sulphur, which can result in bitterness.

4. SLOW distillation encourages the formation of esters, bringing sweet, fresh vibrant notes to the spirit.

5. Our spirit is collected so SLOWLY that Duncan our Stillman sometimes just drifts off.

6. We take our time over every aspect of our process. SLOW creates quality, not quantity and is at the heart of everything we do.

7. SLOWLY distilled spirit is rich in copper, which interacts with oak to draw more flavour from the cask during maturation.

8. Our oak casks are also prepared SLOWLY. They spend two years drying in the Spanish sun and over two years absorbing Oloroso Sherry, before they are filled with Glengoyne, the world’s SLOWEST distilled Scotch whisky.

9. Nothing is ever rushed at Glengoyne. Once filled, our casks are SLOWLY rolled into place to begin their long sleep.

10. The best way to appreciate the quality of Glengoyne is to drink it SLOWLY. Sit back, relax and savour the subtle flavours. Glengoyne should never be rushed. Always drink responsibly.

Only the slowest distillation process, untainted by peat smoke, creates Glengoyne THE REAL TASTE OF MALT.

Glengoyne Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky encourages responsible drinking.

Article Courtesy of Press Release

Press Release

21 Sep

Macallan dram sells at auction for £26,300

Businessman in Asia breaks record paid for shot of malt

A dram of Scotch whisky has been sold at auction in Asia for a record £26,300, it emerged yesterday.

Glass-for-glass, the price paid in Taipei for a 10cl (0.17pint) shot of a 64-year-old Macallan – the oldest and rarest expression of the single malt – shattered the previous world record.

Had the entire contents of the 1.5 litre (2.6pints) decanter been sold at the same rate, they would have fetched nearly £400,000.

On the basis of a standard 70cl (1.2pint) whisky bottle, the buyer would have forked out £184,155.

The world record for a bottle of Scotch is £29,400, paid at an auction in 2007 for a 19th century Bowmore.

That was for a 75cl (1.3pint) bottle, which works out at £3,920 for a 10cl dram.

Announcing its coup yesterday, Macallan Distillers said the sale in Taipei was the sixth of a series in a charity campaign to bring clean and safe drinking water to developing nations.

Earlier auctions of the whisky – in 10cl lots – took place in Paris, London, Moscow, Hong Kong and Seoul. They raised around £42,730, with a top price of around £11,100 being paid for a single serving.

The new total of nearly £70,000, including the Taipei sale, will fund more than 17 projects to provide water for in excess of 5,000 people worldwide. Next stop on the round-the-world charity drive is Shanghai on Friday.

The tour then moves to Singapore, Tokyo, Osaka and Beverly Hills.

The whiskies are poured from a specially-made Lalique decanter to mark the 150th anniversary of the birth of Rene Lalique – a renowned glass designer. It will be auctioned in November to round off the fundraising. Lalique pieces have sold for nearly £200,000.

The Macallan is produced near Craigellachie on Speyside by Glasgow-based company Edrington Group.

The buyer was last night identified as a “businessman and Macallan lover”.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

Press & Journal

21 Sep

Isle of Skye Whisky reward success at William Hill (Ayr) Gold Cup

Isle of Skye 8 Years Old Blended Scotch Whisky was the dram of choice at this year’s William Hill (Ayr) Gold Cup Festival (16-18 September), toasting the success of race champions and competition winners alike.

The winning team of Harriet's Girl: trainer Mrs K Burke; owner Mr Ray Bailey; and jockey Andrew Elliott, were each presented with a bottle of the award winning Isle of Skye 8 Years Old Blended Scotch Whisky, by Iain Weir, Marketing Director of Ian Macleod Distillers Ltd.

Stocked in all of the public bars at the event, Isle of Skye 8 Years Old Blended Scotch Whisky’s position as Scottish Racing's official whisky of the William Hill (Ayr) Gold Cup Festival was supported by a comprehensive marketing strategy that integrated advertising, banners, point of sale and promotions.

Iain Weir, Marketing Director for Ian Macleod Distillers, commented: “Isle of Skye’s Scottish Racing sponsorship of the William Hill (Ayr) Gold Cup Festival has been a fantastic success. We were delighted and honoured to be a part of this prestigious event. Feedback from our sampling and promotion teams over the three days has been extremely positive, reaffirming why Isle of Skye and Scottish Racing share a natural affinity.”

The high profile sponsorship at the William Hill (Ayr) Gold Cup Festival was the next stage in Ian Macleod’s comprehensive brand development strategy for Isle of Skye 8 Years Old Blended Scotch Whisky, which aims to raise the profile of the award-winning whisky throughout Scotland and beyond. The official whisky partner at all five Scottish Race courses - Ayr, Hamilton Park, Kelso, Musselburgh and Perth, Isle of Skye 8 Years Old Blended Scotch Whisky is also the sponsor of Scotland’s number one National Hunt racehorse trainer, Lucinda Russell and her team at Arlary House Stables.

Isle of Skye Blended Scotch whisky is available at 8 Years Old, limited edition 21 and 50 Years Old. An exceptionally smooth and mellow Scotch whisky containing a high proportion of carefully selected Island and Speyside Malts, the 8 Years Old has been described by whisky expert Jim Murray, as “an absolute must for any Islay-philes out there – in fact, a must for everybody. Your taste buds are beaten up and caressed simultaneously. One of the most enormous yet brilliantly balanced whiskies in the world.”

The preferred brand of whisky at all five Scottish racecourses, Isle of Skye 8 Years Old Blended Scotch Whisky is served along with three other Ian Macleod brands, award-winning Glengoyne Highland Single Malt, London Hill Gin and Watson’s Trawler Dark Rum.

The Isle of Skye 8 Years Old is available in a range of sizes - 1.5 litre, 70cl, 35cl and 5cl with a retail price of £13.99 for 70cl in Tesco.

Article Courtesy of Press Release

Press Release

20 Sep

Isle of Skye Whisky the toast of the Clan MacLeod Parliament

Held in Dunvegan on Clan MacLeod’s home island of Skye every four years, over 170 clans folk from overseas, including America, Tasmania, Malta and South Africa attended the Clan MacLeod Parliament from Saturday 24 – Friday 30 July.

20 September 2010, Edinburgh: Isle of Skye Blended Scotch Whisky, owned by independent family company Ian Macleod Distillers Ltd, was the Official Whisky Sponsor of the Clan MacLeod Parliament World Gathering 2010.

Held in Dunvegan on the Clan MacLeod’s home island of Skye every four years, the Clan MacLeod Parliament ran from 24 –30 July. Over 170 clans folk attended, many from as far as America, Tasmania, Malta and South Africa.

As well as supplying the whisky for the Clan MacLeod Parliament finale ball, each attendee received a miniature of Isle of Skye Blended Scotch Whisky to sample and take home. Ian Macleod Distillers also provided four limited edition decanters of Isle of Skye 21 Years Old Blended Scotch Whisky and one bottle of the extremely rare Isle of Skye 50 Years Old Blended Scotch Whisky for a silent auction, that raised over £800 for charity.

Iain Weir, Marketing Director of Ian Macleod Distillers commented: “We are incredibly happy to be supporting the Clan MacLeod Parliament and celebrate the history and culture of Skye and the Clan MacLeod.

“Created from Ian Macleod’s original family recipe, Isle of Skye Blended Scotch Whisky seemed the perfect fit to toast the return of the MacLeod diaspora to their native island and gives those from further afield the opportunity to taste the high quality blended Scotch whisky, perhaps for the first time.”

Dr Malcolm Macleod, OBE, President of the Associated Clan MacLeod Societies, said: “This was the sixteenth Clan MacLeod Parliament World Gathering to be held in Dunvegan, the spiritual home of many MacLeods whose ancestors left Scotland to begin new lives overseas.

“I thoroughly enjoyed welcoming some of their descendants from all over the world and renewing friendships that have built up over the years of these wonderful gatherings.”

The week long event included visits to sites of historical and cultural significance to the Clan including climbing MacLeod’s Table, attending the Dunvegan show and a visit to the residents of the Orbost Estate on Raasay.

The modern Clan MacLeod Parliament is based on the definition of a Parliament as "a meeting or assembly for conference on public or national affairs". The Parliament is a world gathering of MacLeods with the purpose of bringing together MacLeods from all over the world to talk about the Clan.

For more information on Isle of Skye Blended Scotch Whisky see:

For more information on Clan Macleod Parliament World Gathering 2010 please see

Article Courtesy of Press Release

Press Release

20 Sep

Glenmorangie moves bottling facility

Scotch whisky producer Glenmorangie moves to a new production centre in Livingston, West Lothian, today.

The bottling facility replaces one at Broxburn and will meet growing demand for Glenmorangie’s brands in world markets.

Livingston was chosen because of its transport links and its proximity to the old site, meaning that skilled members of the existing workforce have been retained.

The move comes a week after Glenmorangie relocated its head office to central Edinburgh.

Chief executive Paul Neep said: “As a company we are very focused on growing our premium single malt whisky brands – Glenmorangie and Ardbeg.

“We now have a new, made-for-purpose, bottling facility to support our objectives.”

Article Courtesy of Off Licence News


Off Licence News

17 Sep

Cooperage staff lift top award

Venue wins Visitor Attraction of the Year

A COOPERAGE that produces oak casks for distilleries across the north of Scotland has won a prestigious award.

Around 20,000 people visit Speyside Cooperage, in Aberlour, every year to see wooden barrels constructed using ancient techniques.

Its staff were presented with the Whisky Visitor Attraction of the Year accolade at the Icons of Whisky awards in Glasgow last Friday.

Visitor centre manager Adeline Murphy said staff are “absolutely delighted”.

“We managed to obtain the award through the hard work and competence of the staff at the visitor centre,” she said.

“There was quite a lot of competition, but we came out on top as we work hard to deliver a good tour.

“Visitors can watch the coopers from the viewing gallery, and it is not just a show, these lads work very hard.”

The cooperage, in the town’s Dufftown Road, has been supplying barrels to distilleries throughout the region since it opened in 1947. It is unique in that it is Britain’s only working cooperage with a visitor centre.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

Press & Journal

17 Sep

South Korean boost for Scotch whisky

Scotch whisky sales in South Korea should be boosted by a free trade agreement between the European Union and the Asian nation which removes import duties, Secretary of State for Scotland Michael Moore declared yesterday.

South Korea is the world’s seventh-largest importer of Scotch whisky. It accounts for about £112.5m of the Scotch whisky industry’s annual sales.

The trade pact between the EU and South Korea, sealed yesterday, will slash billions of dollars in industrial and agricultural duties. The deal – the first such pact between the EU and an Asian trading partner – is due to be signed at an EU-South Korea summit on October 6 and to come into force on July 1, 2011.

The Scotch Whisky Association industry body believes the 20% import duty will be phased out over three years from July 2011 – creating a “level playing field” in South Korea.

The SWA also highlighted South Korea’s agreement to recognise and protect EU geographical indications of origin, including ‘Scotch whisky’.

An SWA spokesman said: “Tariff elimination in South Korea has been a key SWA trade priority for a number of years and an issue we’ve pursued both in Brussels and Seoul.

“It is a welcome boost for Scotch whisky exports in what is already a major market for Scottish distillers.”

Agreement between the EU and South Korea was reached in spite of some European countries’ worries that the auto industry could be hurt by a flood of cheaper cars from the Asian nation.

Mr Moore said: “This is welcome news for the Scottish drinks industry and will help boost sales in an already burgeoning market which currently accounts for £112m annually and is the seventh-largest importer of Scotch whisky.

“The removal of the 20% import duty should lead to increased sales and generate more revenue for Scotland’s economy.”

The agreement must be approved by the EU and South Korean parliaments before it can come into force. Meanwhile, European carmakers are still hoping lawmakers will ensure safeguards for their industry.

Article Courtesy of The Herald, Scotland

The Herald, Scotland

16 Sep

Whisky company William Grant sells off liqueurs

Whisky company William Grant & Sons has agreed to sell its liqueur business for more than £100m.

The sale to Gruppo Campari includes the brands Carolans, Frangelico and Irish Mist, which William Grant acquired from the Irish company C&C group.

Under a 10-year agreement, William Grant will continue to blend and bottle the liqueurs in Ireland.

It said there would be no job losses as a result of the sale, which will be completed by the start of October.

William Grant bought the spirits and liqueur business from the Irish company C&C group for £250m earlier this year.

Chief executive Stella David commented: "We remain committed to building our business in Ireland and to building the long-term value of Tullamore Dew around the world.

"Whilst Tullamore Dew was the key focus in our newly acquired portfolio, we always intended to develop the liqueur brands.

"However, we were offered a very attractive price from Campari and believe they will be able to develop these brands given their relevant expertise."

William Grant is more than 100 years old, with brands including Glenfiddich, Grants and Hendrick's Gin.

Article Courtesy of BBCi


15 Sep

A Taste of Scotland with a flavour of Spain

Discover what south western Spain and the remote Scottish island of Islay have in common with a tasting broadcast live and interactive from Jerez

Show date: Thursday 23rd September

Show time: 20:00 CET (GMT +1)

While a hearty Rioja or a glass of sangria are the typical accompaniment to tapas, a Scottish whisky imparted with the flavour of locally-produced sherry offers a more sophisticated solution.

Whisky-lovers are more than familiar with the distinctive taste of Laphroaig, and by introducing Laphroaig to sherry barrels for maturation, a uniquely rich flavour and hue is added to the whisky, delivering an unmistakable taste of Laphroaig with characteristics of the sherry.

It’s a subtle and rewarding combination for the consumer, but still a relatively rare one as industry estimates suggest less than 7% of whisky is matured in sherry casks, compared to bourbon casks.

It’s this rarity which makes the latest Laphroaig Live production such a must-see show. Following the successes of the first-ever live online whisky tasting in 2007, followed by live shows from the distillery on Islay, and then the Maker’s Mark distillery in 2009, this year the Laphroaig team comes live from the sherry bodegas of Jerez.

While Laphroaig whisky boasts a rich 200-year-old heritage, the Jerez region has been producing wine since 1100BC, and fortified wine – sherry – since at least the 13th century, with many believing production began even earlier.

Located in the south west of Spain, Jerez continues to produce sherry for export around the globe. In all there are more than 10,000 hectares (25,000 acres) of vineyards in the region and sherry is produced in a variety of styles, ranging from dry, light versions such as finos to darker heavier versions known as olorosos, made from the Palomino grape - with sweet dessert wines also being made from Pedro Ximenez or Moscatel grapes.

Broadcasting live from the Harvey’s bodegas, this interactive tasting experience will offer a further insight into the ‘marriage’ between the sherried oaky flavours from the oloroso sherry casks and the sweet flavours from the ex American Oak Bourbon barrels used in the creation of some of Laphroaig’s expressions.

We will be offering a unique insight into this maturation process by comparing Bourbon cask matured Laphroaig with sherry matured Laphroaig to assess how the flavours of the wooden barrels help create the distinctive taste of the expression.

We will also be pairing a selection with authentic Spanish tapas to bring out the rich and creamy flavours and smoky notes that punctuate the individuality of Laphroaig. For those whose palate seeks a more traditional style, Quarter Cask will also be tasted to highlight the effect of different maturation styles.

John Campbell, Jose Antonio Souto, Diego Sandrin and Simon Brooking join us live online at to take part in this live tasting session on Thursday 23rd September 2010 at 20:00 CET (GMT +1)

Click here to submit questions before the show:

Please note, if you will be watching this show on your mobile handset do check your data charges in the first instance.

Article Courtesy of Press Release

Press Release

15 Sep

'Misleading' whisky advert banned

Panama-based company Scottish Spirits has been banned from using an advert which suggests its whisky is Scotch.

The advert featured a coat of arms and different bottles of whisky, one of which stated "Scottish Spirit".

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said although the company did not claim the whisky was Scotch, the name and images created "ambiguity".

The ASA concluded that the advert was misleading and should not be used.

Scottish Spirits said it had already stopped showing the ads.

The ASA said it noted that a company outside Scotland was free to produce whisky but regulations stopped the "labelling, packaging, selling, advertising or promotion of a drink in any way that created a likelihood of confusion on the part of the public as to whether the drink was Scotch".

The Scottish Spirits group produces a number of different whiskies including "Grand Son" and "John Bow".

It also produces a halal alcohol-free version of the drink called "Aikay".

Article Courtesy of BBCi


14 Sep

Balblair Launches New Web Site to Tell Vintage Story

Balblair Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky has announced the launch of its newly designed web site as part of a new brand proposition.

Following a creative review led by Balblair’s Brand Manager Andy Hannah, the website was redeveloped to reflect the brand’s ‘Timed to Perfection’ philosophy which reflects the fact that Balblair is the only distillery to produce vintage whisky expressions exclusively. These are handpicked by the Distillery Manager only when they have reached peak conditions in terms of flavour and aroma. Only then, when it has been judged to be ‘Timed to Perfection’, will the whisky be bottled as a Balblair exclusive vintage.

Features of the new web site include a variety of channels which enable Balblair Distillery Manager John MacDonald to communicate with whisky lovers worldwide. These include a filmed interview with John on the secrets behind Balblair’s exclusive vintages, his Distillery Manager blog and tweets on the site’s homepage.

The site will enable whisky fans to learn more about Balblair exclusive vintages, including tasting notes and a Where to Buy Guide. A new subscription area allows users to sign up for email updates and an in-depth history section will reveal Balblair Distillery’s rich cultural heritage.

Andy Hannah, Brand Manager, Balblair Highland Single Malt Whisky says: "Balblair is delighted to unveil its new-look website which tells the story of the brand and explains our philosophy and approach to releasing only the finest vintage malt whiskies."

Article Courtesy of Press Release

Press Release

14 Sep

Caol Ila™ 12 year old is best single malt under 15 years old at the IWSC

… and other Gold Medals pile up for Diageo’s single malt scotch whiskies

With the 2010 results now announced by the major spirits competitions, Diageo is celebrating the 34 Gold Medals won for its Classic Malts Selection Single Malt Scotch Whiskies in 2010.

Talisker and Lagavulin, in their several expressions, once again feature prominently, maintaining their long-standing record for supreme malt whisky quality, recognised consistently in blind tastings by independent experts across the cycle of competitions.

But this year also saw major rewards for Caol Ila, Clynelish and other stars.

‘Magic’ Caol Ila™

Billy Stitchell and his small team on the shores of the Sound of Islay learned in July that Caol Ila 12 year old Single Malt Scotch Whisky had won the International Wine & Spirit Competition Trophy - the competition’s top award - for the Best Single Malt Scotch Whisky under 15 Years Old.

Earlier in the year, Caol Ila 12 year old had set the scene for this supreme achievement by walking away with a Double Gold at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition as well as a Master at the Scotch Whisky Masters.

'Stunning dram' - Lagavulin™

From the other end of Islay, Lagavulin 16 year old and Lagavulin Distillers Edition, as so often before, won a Gold or higher award in every competition they entered.

In the last 6 years, Lagavulin 16 year old has earned itself 21 Gold Medals or higher in major international competitions. In 2010 alone, this iconic and much adored Islay malt took:

• a Gold Medal at San Francisco
• a Master at the Scotch Whisky Masters
• a Gold – Best in Class at the IWSC
• a Gold at the International Spirits Challenge

The IWSC judges spoke of “A stunning dram in its best condition”.

More honours for Talisker™

Repeating its 2009 performance, Talisker 10 year old won Golds or higher at San Francisco, the Scotch Whisky Masters (London), and at the IWSC (Gold – Best in Class). Talisker Distillers Edition took Golds at the Scotch Whisky Masters and the IWSC.

In the last six years, Talisker has won 18 Gold medals for its 10 year old expression alone.

Article Courtesy of Press Release

Press Release

13 Sep

Glenmorangie takes a step into the future

LVMH’s whisky operation Glenmorangie is moving to a new head office at The Cube in Edinburgh city centre today.

The company behind the Ardbeg and Glenmorangie whisky brands has sold its 33-acre bottling plant and headquarters in Broxburn, West Lothian, to rival Diageo, the company behind Johnnie Walker whisky.

The six-storey glass-fronted Cube was designed by Allan Murray Architects and is owned by German real estate firm IVG.

Glenmorangie will relocate its bottling operation from Broxburn to a new £9 million plant in Livingston later this month.

Chief executive Paul Neep said of the move: “We believe it will help to reinforce the direction of our company and to retain and recruit the best people.”

Article Courtesy of The Herald, Scotland

The Herald, Scotland

11 Sep

Whisky-maker’s profits strong

Annual surplus soars to £118.6m at owner of The Famous Grouse

A “solid” performance and increased earnings from bestseller The Famous Grouse helped profits at Edrington Group to soar by 25% to £118.6million, the whisky firm said yesterday.

Edrington smashed through the £100million barrier for pre-tax profits during the year to March 31 on turnover up 11.5% at £468.3million.

The latest figures compare with profits of £82.1million on turnover of £419.9million in 2008-09.

Among other brands, Edrington said The Macallan showed significant growth in earnings and was now the second best selling single malt in the world by value.

Chief executive Ian Curle said: “The company grew shareholders’ earnings, reduced borrowings and further improved its strategic position during the year.

“We remain confident about the long-term growth prospects for premium authentic spirit brands, however, the board remains cautious in its view of trading prospects in the short to medium-term due to challenging market conditions, especially in Europe.”

Edrington, whose other whiskies include Orkney-produced Highland Park, said the 2009-10 trading year started with many of its markets continuing to suffer from the fall-out from an economic downturn. It added: “As the year progressed, stability returned to a number of our markets and a clearer picture began to emerge.”

The UK, Spain, Greece and Portugal were more badly affected than other European markets and the outlook in these countries was still fragile, Edrington said, highlighting conditions of high unemployment and substantial government debt.

It added: “Despite these difficult market conditions we have protected the market share of our whisky brands.”

Edrington said it had also grown sales of Brugal in Spain, its main export market for the golden rum brand.

Trading conditions for spirits in the US were said to be showing encouraging signs of improvement, while many Asian economies continued to grow – along with demand for Edrington’s premium drink brands on the continent – during 2009-10.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

Press & Journal

10 Sep

Picture perfect thanks to whisky casks

Expert framer comes up with nifty idea to give barrels new lease of life

OLD oak whisky casks which are no longer of use to the drinks trade are being given a new lease of life as picture frames.

Kintore-based expert framer Gordon Skinner came up with the idea after the industry made an appeal to local crafts people asking them to come up with ways of re-using tens of thousands of redundant barrels.

Mr Skinner was convinced they could be used to make picture frames, and after much trial and error devised a design, to which he now holds the intellectual property rights.

He said: “I started looking into it but one of the problems was that they are bent.

“It took Bill McGregor, my business partner and photographer, and I quite a while to suss out how to use them, but we decided the barrels were ideal for panoramic photos.”

Mr Skinner, of Fintray Fine Framing, said the Glenfiddich distillery near Dufftown has supplied him with the casks so far, but he has now also struck a deal with Ardmore, near Huntly.

An exhibition featuring the picture frames is at Touched by Scotland, Oyne, until the end of the month.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

Press & Journal

10 Sep

Elgin war veteran solves whisky riddle

Rotarian reveals he gave gift to mark 50th anniversary of POW’s liberation

A Moray war veteran has finally solved a 15-year mystery involving a bottle of whisky and a mysterious benefactor.

Bill Barr Cochrane featured in the Press and Journal in 1995, after he received an anonymous donation of a bottle of whisky to mark the 50th anniversary of his release from a Japanese prisoner of war camp in World War II.

Yesterday, Lawrence Fraser, the organiser of Sunday’s Holding Hands for Heroes event, presented Mr Barr Cochrane with another bottle of 14-year-old Oban malt, to thank him for supporting the charity event.

Mr Fraser admitted that he was the anonymous whisky donor from 15 years ago, who had left a note which said: “Although I was born almost 20 years after you were released, I feel a great debt to you and all who served.”

Mr Barr Cochrane, of 18 Fleurs Place, Elgin, said: “I didn’t know anything about it. It was a welcome gift.”

The 95-year-old, who is one of the last surviving World War II prisoners of war, said he was supporting Elgin Rotary Club’s “holding hands for heroes” event on Sunday.

He said: “I would do my best to encourage people to support the cause. It will bring notice to the general public about what is happening recently, and also 70 years ago and in World War I.”

He added: “I am very fortunate to be still here. Many of my colleagues have gone to a better place.”

The organisers want between 5,000 and 6,000 people to take part in Holding Hands for Heroes, and link up across a 4.6-mile route from Elgin Town Hall to RAF Lossiemouth. Organiser Mr Fraser said: “It should be non-political. It’s simply supporting people who serve their country, and to show a bit of solidarity.”

All proceeds from the event will go to the Help for Heroes charity, which helps to rehabilitate and care for wounded servicemen and women.

A helicopter will film the event for British Forces TV, and it is hoped copies of the film will then be shown to serving personnel in Afghanistan to give them a morale boost.

To take part, participants are asked to buy colour-coded stickers at a minimum cost of £1. Stickers have been selling well. However, organisers are concerned that some people may not turn up on the day.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

Press & Journal

09 Sep

Chemistry of whisky

Our columnist continues his single-malt whisky education in a chat with Glenmorangie’s ‘Doctor of Whisky’.

DR Bill Lumsden is a mad scientist.

No, he doesn’t go around creating world-destroying devices or mutant sheep, but his experiments do tend to produce some really good whisky.

As the head of Distilling & Whisky Creation of The Glenmorangie Company, Lumsden’s job has everything to do with the golden liquid that goes into a bottle of Glenmorangie whisky.

Unlike many other master whisky distillers, who usually start their careers in the production line, Lumsden holds a PhD in Biochemistry and started out in the business as a research scientist – he earned the nickname “Doctor of Whisky” because of his PhD as well as his reputation for wacky whisky experiments.

“I think that making a good whisky is 20% science and 80% art and craft. I take a very analytical approach to my whiskies,” he said, adding that Glenmorangie does have a reputation for experimentation, innovation and for pushing the boundaries of whisky.

“Before I arrived (in 1995), the company had started off a regime of experimenting, and as a scientist I just allowed it to mushroom. The Glenmorangie distillery was like my own personal giant laboratory!” he said, before stressing that unlike other companies which would bottle the end result of their experiments no matter how it turns out, he only allows it to be released into the market if he thinks it is good enough to have the Glenmorangie name on it.

The day job

Beyond experimenting with whiskies, Lumsden’s day job also entails running the company’s Glenmorangie and Ardbeg distilleries in Scotland.

“I run the company’s distilleries, and the key part of my job is cask selection – which is the nosing and the tasting of the whiskies to ensure they meet the right quality standard,” he said. “The other part (of my job) is going around the world, talking about Glenmorangie whisky, and getting feedback from consumers about their products.

Lumsden was in town recently to conduct a whisky-tasting session for the Glenmorangie 18 Years Old, which is a specially aged, rare Scotch with a rich, rounded flavour. According to him, it is a very mellow, nice and soft whisky that you take your time to sip and savour.

“This current batch of 18 Years Old is a lot higher quality than ever before, the reason being that the company first started improving their wood management policy about the time this batch was made, and they are only now seeing the fruits of that policy,” he said, adding that Glenmorangie is one of two or three labels that is perfect for beginner whisky drinkers to start off with, especially the flagship Glenmorangie Original 10-Year-Old.

“I’ve got a well-developed palate that is well used to drinking whisky, but I always go back to the Original as my favourite. It has a very soft yet complex flavour, and there are nice toffee, vanilla and fruity flavours,” he said. “Glenmorangie is a very gentle whisky with a very soft palate. If you drink peaty Islay single malts like Ardbeg to start with, you’re going to be shocked because it is so intensely flavoured. You definitely don’t want to start off with something that will likely put you off whisky for life!”

Older isn’t always better

According to Lumsden, people usually like drinking whisky for two reasons. “There’s one group of people who know all about the production, the heritage and what goes into it and how carefully it’s made, so they realise they are drinking a genuine luxury product. There’s a certain prestige to it and I think some consumers like to be SEEN drinking,” he said. “Then there are those who are not so knowledgeable and may not even know where it comes from, but they just like the taste!”

Nevertheless, one of the most popular mistakes that consumers make is assuming that the older the whisky, the better it is.

“So many consumers think that older is better, but this is so often not the case. As much as I like the 18-year-old, I personally think that most whiskies reach a perfect balance around 10 to 12 years,” he said.

To illustrate the point, he recalled the times when he had the privilege to try 50-year-old and 46-year-old whiskies from Glenmorangie’s competitors. “Frankly, I would rather drink the 12-year-old ones from either of those labels because the old whiskies were far too woody for me,” he said. “Very, very old whiskies have to be very carefully managed. Our oldest regular product – Glenmorangie Quarter Century – is a very tricky recipe to manage because if I’m not careful, the wood would overwhelm everything else.”

The wood makes it good

Water is often touted to be one of the most important elements in whisky production. But Lumsden, who has a great reputation within the whisky industry as a pioneer in wood management, reckons that the most important part of a good whisky is the wood barrels it is stored in.

“All you’re allowed to use in whisky is malted barley, water and yeast. Then you distil it twice and mature it in oak barrels. If you consider the final flavour to be 100%, the wood in my mind contributes about 60% of that, while the water is only about 2-3%,” he said. “In terms of managing the wood, it’s a very, very long-term thing. I only started 15 to 16 years ago, and I’m only really just starting to see the fruits of my labours coming through now.”

So how then does one know how a whisky will turn out in 15 to 20 years?

“You never know for certain that the whisky is going to be very good 15 years down the road! But if you’ve done your homework, then there’s a good chance it will be the way you want it to be,” he said.

“The way I know is through experience – from tasting thousands of whiskies from different barrels and knowing the specification of wood that’s going to complement the flavour of Glenmorangie.”

According to him, Glenmorangie’s approach to wood management is to go back to the basic first principle – what type of wood will give the best flavour?

“We’ve not just thought about which country the barrels are coming from, but we’ve also thought about the type of wood itself. We hand-select the type of wood we want, cut them into staves, and then allow them to dry naturally in the open air for a minimum of two to three years,” he explained.

After that, the wood is then made into barrels and seasoned with American bourbon whisky for another four years. “The Scotch way of making whisky is to use barrels that have been used for something else before – either American bourbon, Tennessee sour mash or wine or sherry wine,” Lumsden said.

“The spirit used for Scotch whisky is much more delicate compared to the spirit used for bourbon or even cognac, and if you fill it straight into a new barrel, it would taste too woody.”

The mad scientist

Back to his mad scientist experiments, Lumsden is the first to admit that not every experiment he has done has been successful. One of the craziest things he’s tried was to try and ferment the whisky naturally the way Belgian lambic beer is made.

“I tried this at the Ardbeg distillery where I seeded the whisky with some yeast to start the fermentation, and then just opened the vats up and left it for 10 days to be colonised by wild yeast in the atmosphere,” he recalled.

“The initial samples I’ve tasted have confirmed that it was a pretty crazy thing to do! But I might go back and try it again; I’m determined to make it work!”

They may not work all the time, but more often than not, his experiments produce some exceptionally unique whiskies.

“About 90% of the new products I’ve developed have been very, very well-received. Obviously, some have been quite risky – Signet (a unique chocolate-malt-flavoured whisky) in particular was a departure from the house style,” he said.

“I’ve got 100% freedom to do what I want.

“Of course, the company wouldn’t thank me if I completely changed the character of Glenmorangie. I also can’t experiment TOO much, because our stock has to be enough for our normal range of whiskies.”

One thing is for sure though – if the product is not good enough, Lumsden would be the first to put his foot down and refuse to release it for sale.

“Once, early on in the job, I was ‘forced’ to release some whisky that I didn’t think was good enough – I wouldn’t allow that to happen now!” he said.

“I actually told our CEO that if he forced me to do that again, he would have to fire me!”

Article Courtesy of


08 Sep

Pernod Ricard boss slams minimum price proposals

Education, not pricing policies, will curb excessive drinking, says Spriet

The boss of Pernod Ricard UK has joined the chorus of disapproval over the prospect of a minimum price for a unit of alcohol.

Speaking after the French-owned drinks giant revealed turnover for the last year down two per cent at €7bn (£5.8bn), Jean-Manuel Spriet, Pernod Ricard UK’s chief executive, said he was “completely opposed” to the introduction of a minimum price for alcohol.

“You won’t solve the issue of harmful drinking by raising the price. It needs to be done through education,” he added.

Spriet said he supported a ban on below-cost selling and supported the health aims of industry bodies such as Drinkaware and the Portman Group. “But I am clearly not in favour of a minimum price.”

Spriet’s comments came as the Scottish government said it would look to press ahead with its plans to introduce a 45p per unit minimum price.

Pernod Ricard retails a number of wine and spirit brands in the UK including Glenlivet whisky, Absolut vodka, Beefeater gin and Jacob’s Creek wines.

Article Courtesy of The Publican

The Publican

07 Sep

Jura launches Online Pub Quiz to win a free bottle every week for a year

Jura has launched the Jura Pub Quiz aimed at encouraging its community of honorary Diurachs to keep in touch with island life online.

Every week for 12 months, Jura will be giving away one bottle of Jura to a different lucky recipient for correctly answering the Question of the Week which will be posted on The person or people who have answered most correct answers at the end of the 12 months will be entered into a prize draw for a limited edition bottle of Isle of Jura 1974, worth around £500, of which there only 685 in the world.

The quiz will cover all sorts of weird and wonderful facts and trivia from Jura, ranging from the Island’s diverse wildlife and natural history to the island’s famous myths and superstitions.

The competition forms part of a programme of activity aimed at building Jura’s honorary Diurach community. Those who have registered to become a Diurach at will gain access to a range of competitions over the coming year including the chance to win stays for friends and family at Jura’s exclusive Lodge (worth around £300 per room per night) alongside opportunities to win rare and valuable limited edition whiskies. The Diurach programme also offers its subscribers discounted accommodation on Jura, a free Dram every month for life at the Jura pub and a free distillery tour.

Distillery manager Willie Cochrane said:

“The pub quiz is our way of trying to reward those who have joined our great Diurach community. We wanted to show our appreciation for their interest in Jura’s island life and of course our whisky. So we’ve launched this quiz as one of many exclusive offers to encourage Diurachs to stay in touch with island life online and win some of Jura’s fine whisky at the same time. Over the next 12 months, we’re aiming to launch a real live interactive pub quiz direct from the one and only Jura pub involving the locals and our worldwide online Diurach community.”

Article Courtesy of Press Release

Press Release

06 Sep

World Duty Free launches "Whisky Fest" event

The nine-week long event in participating stores at Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen airports allow passengers to enjoy offers and events promoting the exclusive whiskies

Travel retailer World Duty Free (WDF) has created its first "Whisky Fest" event in its stores at Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen airports. The nine-week long promotion allows passengers to take advantage of numerous offers and special events promoting the exclusive whiskies found in-store.

Customers can save up to £150 ($230) on certain malts such as the Dalmore 50yo, which retails at £799 ($1,227) but is on sale for £639.20 ($982), the 70cl Old Pulteney 23yo Sherry Cask usually retailing at £150 but on sale at £120 ($184) and the 100cl Famouse Grouse, down to £21.59 ($33) from £26.99 ($41) For more examples of the savings on offer passengers can log on to

Whisky fanatics can also see and hear from various brands who are each taking two-week slots to further support the "Whisky Fest" with airport-first activities and events. Liquor supplier William Grant & Sons sent has already sent specialist coopers Robert McMillan and Jason Robert into Edinburgh and Glasgow terminals to show travellers how whisky casks are repaired by hand and tomorrow Pernod Ricard International brand ambassador Ian Logan will visit the terminals to conduct tastings of the full Glenlivet range with staff and customers and celebrate the launch of its new £1,200 Glenlivet 1968 bottle. Further events, promotions and sampling activities are expected from Whyte and Mackay and Maxxium.

Customers in participating WDF stores also have the opportunity to win a whisky cabinet filled with exclusive whiskies courtesy of WDF and selected distilleries. A cabinet is on display in each of the three WDF stores during the "Whisky Fest" activity.

Article Courtesy of Duty Free News International


Duty Free News

03 Sep

Call to halt pricing plans ‘for the good of our whisky’

Distillers left reeling as minimum cost per unit of alcohol is revealed

Scotland’s iconic whisky industry would be damaged “significantly” at home and abroad, and jobs could be lost, if a minimum price for alcohol is introduced.

The stark warning was issued by the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) yesterday after Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon revealed the SNP government’s preferred price of 45p per unit.

The organisation, which has 56 members, said distillery owners across the north and north-east were convinced the policy would break EU and international trade rules.

Producers fear that copycat action in export markets would have a “major negative impact” on the sale of whisky overseas during uncertain economic times.

The SWA said the cost of an average bottle of blended whisky would increase by 16% to £12.60, reducing the size of the domestic market by nearly 13%.

Value and own-label brands, which are sold by Asda for £9.20 a bottle and £9.95 in Tesco, would be worst affected.

The organisation said research had shown the response to a 10% increase in price was an 8% reduction in sales.

SWA chief executive Gavin Hewitt said: “The Scottish Government’s scheme fails to meet the basic tests of EU law and will do little to address alcohol misuse.

“This policy would, however, significantly damage Scotch whisky at home and abroad. We need consensus on a legal alternative.

“Excise duty reform so that all drinks are taxed on the same basis, according to alcohol content, and a ban on sales below tax, is a fair and socially responsible way forward.

“It would also raise more than £1billion in extra revenue for the public finances.”

Conservative health spokesman Murdo Fraser said it was disappointing that the Scottish Government was determined to “hurt” one of the country’s most important and successful industries.

“Those in the industry are deeply concerned about the impact of minimum pricing,” he said.

“For the good of the whisky industry, the SNP should now withdraw their plans for indiscriminate blanket minimum pricing and allow a consensus to be built around measures to tackle alcohol abuse upon which all parties can agree.”

Plans outlining the impact that a 45p minimum price would have on whisky showed it would have no bearing on premium brands such as Highland Park and Glenfiddich, which cost about £28 a bottle.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

Press & Journal

03 Sep

Glengoyne Distillery hosts launch of ‘eat Scottish venison’ day 2010

Two of Scotland’s iconic products team up to give Eat Scottish Venison Day 2010 an extra push

Scottish Venison and Glengoyne have joined together this year to promote Eat Scottish Venison Day (4 September), with Chef Tom Lewis of Monachyle Mhor demonstrating, with two new dishes, how whisky and venison are a perfect partnership.

Visitors to Glengoyne Distillery’s launch event sampled the new recipes from Tom Lewis, along with award-winning Glengoyne 10 year old, the perfect accompaniment. Guests were also able to watch demonstrations by Tom, showcasing how easy it is to cook with venison.

Eat Scottish Venison Day and the website were first unveiled by the Scottish Venison Working Group, a marketing alliance of Scotland’s venison producers, in 2009 at Blair Castle,

This annual focus is designed to prompt chefs, caterers and food service companies, retail buyers and the general public to think about Scottish venison, to encourage them to ask for it, and to visit the website.

Scottish venison is increasing in popularity; so much so that one major processor is now importing 15,000 carcases to meet current demand.

Attending the launch, Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead said:

“Scotland is a land rich in primary produce with a vibrant food and drink sector. Consumers associate Scottish produce with outstanding quality and taste, and they are becoming increasingly aware of what's available on their doorstep and the associated economic, health and environmental benefits.

“I am determined to enhance Scotland's reputation as a world leader for quality food and drink and Eat Scottish Venison Day will raise awareness of this iconic Scottish product. The Scottish deer management industry is important to our economy contributing about £105m each year and directly employing over 900 people. A significant proportion of venison is now produced to Scottish Quality Wild Venison (SQWV) standards and it is one of healthiest products on the market. Initiatives like this help demonstrate to consumers that venison is an easy to cook, versatile and succulent food.

“Our ‘provenance on a plate’ toolkit encourages restaurants, pubs and cafes to show origin information on menus. This means that whether eating out or doing the weekly shop, consumers have a greater opportunity to choose fresh, seasonal produce – such as Scottish venison. I am pleased that the Working Group has succeeded in bringing together Scotland’s main producers of wild and farmed venison in a joint campaign to market Scottish venison.”

Peter Russell, Chairman of Ian Macleod Distillers, hosts of the launch at their Glengoyne Distillery said:

“Glengoyne and Scottish venison is the perfect partnership both in terms of taste and as quality iconic Scottish products. We are proud to be working with the Scottish Venison Working Group, further enhancing Glengoyne’s Real Taste of Malt, Real Taste of Food credentials.”

Richard Cooke, Vice Chairman, Scottish Venison Working Group, said:

“We are looking at a tremendous opportunity. Venison has some of the best qualities in terms of health and nutrition of any meat, and we have a market that literally cannot get enough, fuelled by continuous welcome mention on food and cookery programmes and by leading chefs. We also have a very strong local market being serviced through farmers’ markets, farm shops and local independent butchers. We need to capitalise on this, and one of the priorities of our Group now is to develop and bring forward ways where we can meet this demand and increase the value of this income stream to our rural economy. The potential is enormous.”

Tom Lewis, chef and owner, Monachyle Mhor, Balquiddher, said:

“Chefs have always recognised Scottish venison as a great product - delicious, nutritious, easy to cook, and perfect for creativity. It’s a very versatile meat that lends to all types of cooking, from exotic celebration meals to simple fare. Not only our local distillery, Glengoyne’s unpeated, natural taste is the perfect ingredient and accompaniment to the recipes, bringing out the best qualities and flavours of the venison.”

Tim Hughes, Chef Director, Caprice Holdings, said:

“Over the years that I have spent at the Caprice Group, I have noticed a significant change in customers’ tastes. They are now very clued up about provenance, seasons and sustainability. And some are intent on keeping trim, so very watchful of the fat and vitamin content of what they eat. Scottish venison ticks the boxes, because it is a high quality free-range product, with very little fat, a high percentage of protein and, to boot, it is easy to cook. We have it on the menus at many of our restaurants - The Ivy, J Sheekey, Le Caprice, Rivington Grill and Scott’s - during the season and it always proves very popular with the customers.”

Article Courtesy of Press Release

Press Release

02 Sep

Scotch whisky producers say minimum price would "breach EU rules"

Scotch whisky producers believe today's proposals to introduce a minimum price on alcohol would breach EU and international trade rules and cause significant damage to its industry.

The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) said the Scottish Government's proposed minimum price of 45p a unit will do little to address alcohol harm in Scotland but will cause significant damage to Scotch whisky at home and abroad.

Producers believe minimum pricing would breach EU and international trade rules and copycat action in export markets - with trade barriers justified on spurious health grounds - would have a major negative impact on Scotch whisky overseas.

They say it would undermine the industry and its supply chain across Scotland at a time of economic uncertainty.

At 45p a unit, the cost of an averagely priced bottle of Scotch whisky in Scotland will increase by 16% to £12.60.

It will reduce the domestic market by nearly 13% and value and own-label brands will be particularly impacted.

Producers believe the Scottish Government commissioned model suggests the proposed price fails to meet the basic tests of EU law, with only a 4.3% fall in alcohol consumption predicted.

Gavin Hewitt, SWA chief executive, said: "We need consensus on a legal alternative. Excise duty reform so that all drinks are taxed on the same basis, according to alcohol content, and a ban on sales below tax, is a fair and socially responsible way forward. It would also raise over £1bn extra revenue for the public finances."

In response to today's announcement The Wine and Spirit Trade Association, spokesman Gavin Partington thinks setting a minimum price at 45p is "wrong in principle".

"It won't tackle alcohol misuse but will punish families on low incomes and pensioners. Surely Ministers cannot believe that making a hazardous drinker pay an extra £1.08 per week is going to solve the problem."

Article Courtesy of Harpers


02 Sep

Whisky brand’s philosophy reflected in new website

Balblair Distillery has redeveloped its website to reflect the brand’s ‘Timed to Perfection’ philosophy.

This philosophy sees Balblair Distillery determining a whisky’s perfect bottling point by continually assessing casks from various years until the whisky is judged to have reached peak condition in terms of flavour and aroma. Only then, when it has been ‘Timed to Perfection’, will the whisky be bottled as a Balblair Exclusive Vintage. This process is unique to Balblair and it is the only distillery to offer exclusively vintage whiskies.

Edinburgh’s Whitespace was responsible for the redevelopment and has included on the site Vintage tasting notes and a Where to Buy guide. Phase two development is set to include e-commerce functionality.

In a short film on the website distillery manager John MacDonald explains the brand’s unique approach to production, the characteristics of the whiskies it produces and the passion he and his team have for the job.

Article Courtesy of The Drum

The Drum

02 Sep

Speymalt Whisky profits ‘boosted by staycationers’

Speymalt Whisky Distributors, which trades as Gordon & MacPhail, has boosted profits by almost 40% as the global economic downturn inspired burgeoning swathes of Scottish staycationers to purchase its brands in increasing quantities, it has said.

However, Michael Urquhart, a co-director at Elgin-based Speymalt, also told The Herald that as the ravages of recession have receded around the world, Speymalt’s export sales roared back 91% during the first six months of its current financial year.

Meanwhile, pre-tax profits climbed to £961,436 at the maker of Benromach whisky for the year to the end of February, compared with £697,897 the year before.

Turnover at the company, which exports to 50 markets around the world - with Benromach now in 35 of those markets - rose 20% to £18.9 million, compared with £15.8 million last time.

Mr Urquhart said: “Last year turned out be a pretty good year for us - thanks to the home market.

“Exports were down about 7%, partly because of some destocking but much of that year was also devastated by a pretty severe recession.

“What saved us was the popularity of our brands in the UK. Sales in the UK last year were up 27% because of the good summer for tourism in Scotland.”

Sales of Benromach increased by 22% during the year to February.

Mr Urquhart also said the company was delighted to have been awarded the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in the International Trade category last year in recognition of a 92% increase in overseas sales in the previous five years.

The company’s wine and spirit distribution division had won a number of new contracts, including one to supply the Nicolas chain of wine and spirit outlets in the UK.

Meanwhile, Speymalt earlier this year launched its Gordon & MacPhail Generations brand, a 70-year-old Speyside single malt from Mortlach distillery in Dufftown.

The whisky is world’s oldest bottled single malt, and was filled into the cask on October 15, 1938 by John Urquhart, the grandfather of Gordon & MacPhail joint managing directors, David and Michael Urquhart.

The company added that its strategy was to “continually build and premiumise its portfolio of key whisky brands, developing new markets around the world”.

Article Courtesy of The Herald, Scotland

The Herald, Scotland

01 Sep

Glengoyne Launches New Port Cask Finish

For the first time in its 175 year history Glengoyne will have a special cask finish as a permanent addition to their multi-award winning core range, with a different limited edition finish always on offer to the consumer.

The first of the new cask finishes to be launched is a limited edition 13 Years Old Port Cask Finish which takes Glengoyne’s subtle, complex Highland Single Malt to a new level whilst still capturing the authentic ‘Real Taste of Malt’, created by the slowest distillation in Scotland and untainted by peat smoke. Only 2817 bottles of the 13 Years Old Port Cask are available and will be replaced by a different cask finish when sold out.

The new addition to the core range is described as having a nose of soft malt and gentle amber wood with notes of gingerbread and cloves. The fruity body of the Port wood Finish hits the palate with hints of lemon zest and spicy bubblegum before leaving a taste of citrus and peppermint in its wake.

The branded wooden presentation box clearly shows the bottle and label, whilst tasting notes, history of the Glengoyne Distillery and notes on the whisky making process bring the new Port Cask Finish to life.

Previously Glengoyne cask finishes have only been available to specialist retailers who opted to buy whole casks exclusively for their customers. This addition to the core range means that special cask finishes will now be available to a larger number of consumers through a greater number of channels including

Iain Weir, Marketing Director for Ian Macleod Distillers commented: ‘There is a growing demand for Glengoyne Cask Finishes, by including a different finish in the core range at all times we can make it easier for Glengoyne drinkers to access a variety of finishes.

“Glengoyne Cask Finishes only ever enhance and add to the flavour and character, and never detract from or mask the high quality taste of our whisky.”

The new Port Cask Finish will be available throughout the UK and worldwide from specialist retailers and online at RRP £65, 70cl.

Award-winning Glengoyne is one of the leading premium malt whiskies in the world and has been distilled at Glengoyne distillery since 1833. The Glengoyne portfolio consists of the 10 Years Old, 12 Years Old Cask Strength, 12 Years Old at 43%, 17 Years Old , 21 Years Old and Vintage 1972 as well as other limited edition special bottlings.

Article Courtesy of Press Release

Press Release
August 2010 Scotch Whisky News

30 Aug

Balblair Launches Stylish Jazz Campaign as Global Vintages Showcase

“Jazz was born in a whisky barrel” Artie Shaw

Balblair Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky has collaborated with internationally acclaimed Jazz and Blues singer Niki King for the launch of The Balblair Vintage Lounge – a new event that will match Balblair Vintage expressions with classic jazz performances in an evocative lounge setting.

The Balblair Vintage Lounge promises both jazz and whisky enthusiasts an unforgettable experience, and plans are currently in place to stage events at luxury venues in Paris and New York, following the official campaign launch in Edinburgh during the festival season this month.

The Edinburgh event saw an exclusive range of media and guests attend the prestigious National Museum of Scotland venue on Thursday 26th August to enjoy an hour-long intimate performance by Nikki King and her three piece band. Hosted by Distillery Manager John Macdonald, guests sampled a selection of Balblair Vintage single malts in a specially created bespoke lounge, which recreated a classic vintage style and atmosphere.

Balblair is the only distillery to solely produce vintage expression whiskies which are handpicked by the Distillery Manager after a complex tasting and nosing process. Only the finest whiskies – those that have reached the peak of their perfection – are chosen and named by the year that they were laid down in cask. Like Balblair whiskies, jazz is all about perfect timing and this new creative partnership provides the ideal platform to showcase classic vintages which are timed to perfection.

Scottish born singer Niki King was a natural choice to launch the first of the Balblair Vintage Lounge events. Catapulted into the international spotlight in 2001, when she won the prestigious Perrier Jazz Vocalist of the Year award, she has since released four critically acclaimed albums. Hailed by reviewers for her beautiful reworking of Jazz classics, Niki’s enthusiasm for vintage jazz sees her perfectly placed to launch the first of Balblair’s unique experiences.

With further events to be scheduled globally over the next two years fronted by a selection of leading jazz artists, the initiative aims to introduce Balblair’s award-winning whiskies to new international audiences.

Andy Hannah, Brand Manager, Balblair Highland Single Malt Whisky says: The Balblair Vintage Lounge provides a real opportunity to introduce our multi award-winning malts to whisky enthusiasts worldwide. In Jazz and at Balblair distillery timing is everything, and it is this link that provides the perfect platform to host events which combine style, class and vintage luxury.

Balblair has become established as the quality choice for discerning malt whisky drinkers worldwide. Its contemporary design and celebrated taste reflects the time-honoured and un-rushed methods of production that have remained virtually unchanged over the years.

Article Courtesy of Press Release

Press Release

27 Aug

Whisky sales soar in Asia to boost profits at Diageo

Surging sales of Johnnie Walker whisky in Asia and the Middle East helped Diageo to achieve modest growth in sales and profits, despite facing challenging conditions in the developed markets of Europe and the US.

The blended Scotch was the star performer in Diageo’s stable in the year to June when sales of the whisky increased by 7%, by value. Total sales of all whisky in Diageo’s portfolio, which also includes malts like Lagavulin, increased by 5% during the year.

The strong performance helped the drinks giant to increase operating profits before exceptionals from £2.6bn to £2.75bn. Sales increased from £9.3bn to £9.8bn. Diageo said it achieved 2% organic growth in sales and profits.

Diageo booked a £93m exceptional charge for restructuring its supply operations, most of which was due to the cuts in the company’s Scottish operations that were announced last July.

The company provoked an outcry when it decided to close its bottling plant in Kilmarnock and a grain distillery in Glasgow with the loss of around 900 jobs. The proposed closures may come under renewed scrutiny in view of the growth of the firm’s whisky operations.

However, a senior executive in Diageo’s European business defended the decision.

Richard Bee, finance director for European supply, said Diageo had acted to ensure the long-term cost competitiveness of its business.

Pressed on whether the closures were necessary in view of the prospect of strong growth in sales of whisky in coming years, he said: “We still had significant excess capacity from a packaging perspective.”

Bee said Diageo has had more than 900 “aspiration conversations” with people who will be affected. The company hopes to minimise the number of compulsory redundancies by giving people the opportunity to transfer to other plants.

It will create around 450 jobs as a result of expanding its packaging facility at Leven in Fife. Diageo is also increasing capacity at the grain distillery at Cameronbridge.

Bee said that Diageo had sanctioned capital investments totalling £500m in Scotland in the last five years, including spending on these facilities.

Both should benefit if Diageo can maintain growth in sales of Scotch. The company is using its huge marketing muscle to promote a portfolio of favoured brands across the world.

Johnnie Walker is one of a number of “global priority brands”, which also includes J&B Scotch, Smirnoff vodka, Captain Morgan rum and Guinness beer.

The company uses its global reach to tailor its offer to suit local markets. For example, it promoted the Harp brand of beer in Nigeria to help compensate for any fall in sales of higher priced Guinness in response to the downturn.

Chief executive Paul Walsh said the strategy had allowed the firm to make good progress against a difficult economic backdrop.

“We have outperformed and delivered share gains across most of our biggest markets,” he said.

“Our performance in the developing markets drove overall growth while markets in North America and Europe remained weak.”

Diageo was a big beneficiary of the continued growth in the economies of countries of the Asia Pacific region during the year. Sales of Johnnie Walker Red Label increased 19% by volume in Australia.

The company was also boosted by resumption of growth in the Middle East and increased air travel.

Sales volumes in the Global Travel and Middle East division rose by 15%.

“The stand-out brand performance was from Johnnie Walker, particularly Black Label where net sales grew 38%,” said Diageo.

Sales of vodka, which are concentrated in mature markets, fell 1% globally.

Diageo said Europe remained a challenging region, impacted by weak consumer confidence and economic uncertainty.

However, the firm did well in Britain, where volumes rose 9% compared with 1% across Europe.

Diageo said it had grown its share of the key off-trade by using promotions.

Volume sales in North America fell by 2%, “mainly driven by lower volume in US spirits”.

Walsh said Diageo could accelerate growth this year. “The global diversity of our business, together with the strength and range of our brands and the agility we have demonstrated gives us confidence that in fiscal 2011 we will be able to improve on the organic operating profit growth we have delivered this year.”

Article Courtesy of The Herald

The Herald

25 Aug

Glenrothes to launch whisky making competition

Glenrothes is launching a global cometition giving four consumers a chance to become Glenrothes whisky makers for a week.

The successful candidates will be recruited to work as ‘The Glenrothes Whisky Makers' in the heart of single malt production, Speyside, Scotland.

As part of this opportunity, they will learn the time-honoured art of making The Glenrothes and the time-honoured skills that have been passed down from generation to generation.

The winners will spend time working at each stage of the whisky-making process, be involved in making casks at the cooperage and have the opportunity to create their own selection of The Glenrothes.

The whisky makers will stay in Rothes House, a private home belonging to the family that owns The Glenrothes will enjoy some of the simple pleasures that Speyside has to offer.

The competition will run from October 2010 to the end of January 2011.

Article Courtesy of Harpers


24 Aug

Distillery launches second exhibition

International artists will put their creations on show at Glenfiddich event

A MORAY distillery is launching a second exhibition by its artists in residence this week.

International artists have been living and working at the Glenfiddich Distillery at Dufftown throughout the summer as part of the distillery’s residency programme, which has been running since 2002.

Members of the group have drawn inspiration from the distillery, its surroundings and whisky-making processes.

The first exhibition closed on Sunday, while the second display will open on Friday, featuring new pieces by five of the artists living at the Glenfiddich Distillery.

Andy Fairgrieve, curator of the residency programme, said: “This is a wonderful and diverse showcase of new artworks inspired by what the artists have seen and experienced during their time at Glenfiddich.”

He added: “The first show was great. It is one of the busiest times of the year for the distillery, and the exhibition was well received by visitors.”

There are eight artists at the distillery, but only some members of the group are displaying artworks at the latest exhibition, due to the different timescales involved in their projects.

Carrie Iverson, from the US, will display a variety of glass sculptures, which include cast-glass versions of whisky cask bungs.

Meanwhile, Canadian Damian Moppett has created a mixed-media sculpture based on the mythical Highland creature called the Brollachan.

The three artists featured in Glenfiddich’s first exhibition, Hayoung Kim from South Korea, Matthew Sandager from the US, and Shiau-Peng Cheng from Taiwan, will also display fresh artworks.

A special opening event will launch the exhibition on Friday at 6.30pm. All visitors are welcome to attend.

The display will then be open from 12.30pm to 5.30pm on Thursdays to Sundays until September 18. Admission is free.

A third and final exhibition is planned for late September, which will coincide with Glenfiddich’s whisky festival.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

Press & Journal

23 Aug

Smokehead Takes Gold at San Francisco World Spirits Competition

Hot on the heels of a Gold Medal for its explosive, peaty flavours from the highly respected Beverage Testing Institute (BTI), SMOKEHEAD, has been honoured with another Gold Medal, this time from the prestigious expert judging panel at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition.

Deemed the most influential and respected spirits competition in the world the SFWSC honoured Smokehead, the powerful Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky from Ian Macleod Distillers, for its innovative, edgy packaging. This great design award perfectly compliments the recent BTI International Review of Spirits win, in which Smokehead was awarded an ‘Exceptional’ rating of 91/100 for taste.

Celebrating its 10th year, the 2010 SFWSC was the biggest in its history with 30 judges gathering in downtown San Francisco in March to recognise excellence in spirits. The judging panel, comprising of spirits experts from noted restaurants and hotels, spirits journalists, buyers and consultants, evaluated 1024 different spirits from 58 countries.

Iain Weir, Marketing Director for Ian Macleod Distillers, commented; “We are thrilled that the style and individuality of Smokehead’s packaging has been recognised by such an esteemed judging panel.

“Smokehead has enjoyed a number of successes recently by combining high quality and unique flavours with the product’s standout designer packaging. It has also proved popular with its target market of the young, discerning and adventurous ‘modern drinker’.”

Since launching in 2006, Smokehead Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky has won a number of awards for both its eye-catching packaging and balanced, seaweedy flavours, including two Gold Medals from BTI in the 2009 International Review of Spirits Packaging Competition, the Scottish Field Whisky Challenge Gold Medal, Wine & Spirits Design Awards for Best Dark Spirit and the overall Trophy for Design of the Year.

Described as being like a cannonball, Smokehead is an explosive combination of peat, smoke and spice with some delicate sweetness. The single malt flavour is described as fresh, fruity and immense, with notes of sherry, iodine, toffee, smoke and sea salt. The taste hits the palate at once with cocoa, peat and some honey sweetness, before exploding with peppery spice and more earthy peat. Other products in the range include the Smokehead Extra Rare 1 litre bottle (Travel Retail Exclusive) and the premium 18 Years Old Smokehead Extra Black.

Smokehead is available worldwide, details of stockists can be found on the website for inquiries in the U.S see

Curious to discover more, visit or visit

Article Courtesy of Press Release

Press Release

19 Aug

Whisky Galore Bottle Makes £4,200 at Bonhams Scottish Sale

A bottle of whisky salvaged from the “Whisky Galore” ship, The SS Politician, was sold today for £4,200 on the second day of Bonhams annual Scottish Sale in Edinburgh. It was retrieved from the wreck of the ship in the 1950s or 1960s and was estimated to fetch £1,200 – 1,800. The sale made a total of £92,000 and practically every bottle was sold.

The story of the SS Politician and its cargo of whisky is known round the world thanks to the novelist Sir Compton MacKenzie who based his book ‘Whisky Galore’ on the real life events. The novel was later made into a very popular Ealing Comedy film.

In 1941, the ship set sail for Kingston, Jamaica with a cargo which included pianos, motor parts, bedding and 28,000 cases (264,000 bottles) of whisky. It ran aground in a gale off the Outer Hebrides near the island of Eriskay. Islanders, from Eriskay and beyond, starved of whisky by war time rationing, systematically salvaged around 24,000 bottles before the authorities caught up with them. Some of the looters were fined; some ended up in jail; few of the stolen bottles were recovered. The hull of the ship was blown up by a frustrated local customs officer to put the whisky beyond temptation, prompting one anguished islander to exclaim, “Dynamiting whisky! You wouldn’t think there’d be men in the world so crazy as that!”

Whisky from the Politician rarely appears at auction. In 1987, 8 bottles were retrieved from the wreck which still lies submerged off the coast of Eriskay and sold for £4,000. Despite extensive salvage efforts in 1989 only 24 more bottles were recovered.

Article Courtesy of Art Daily

Art Daily

18 Aug

Glengoyne Distillery Celebrates Eat Scottish Venison Day

What: Glengoyne Distillery celebrates Eat Scottish Venison Day

When: 2 September from 10am

Where: Glengoyne Distillery, Dumgoyne, Near Killearn, Glasgow, Scotland G63 9LB

Glengoyne Distillery is looking forward to Eat Scottish Venison Day (4 September 2010) with its own celebration on Thursday 2 September with support from renowned chef Tom Lewis of nearby Monachyle Mhor.

Tom will be unveiling a selection of brand new recipes using venison and Glengoyne, specially devised to celebrate Eat Scottish Venison Day, showing visitors how easy it is to create impressive and tasty dishes using venison.

Throughout the day from 10am a cooking demonstration will be hosted by Tom, who is an ambassador for Glengoyne and Scottish Venison, offering visitors the chance to sample classic venison dishes along with his brand new creations. The Glengoyne team will be offering guests samples of the award-winning Glengoyne 10 Years Old and explaining why Glengoyne is the perfect accompaniment for venison dishes.

Joint organisers of the event, The Scottish Venison Working Group, will also be on hand to offer visitors advice on venison such as what cuts to buy, how to cook it and where to buy it from.

Glengoyne Distillery is open to the public from 10am with the last tour at 4pm. Tours start from just £6.50.

For more information see or

Article Courtesy of Press Release

Press Release

17 Aug

Whisky 'petrol' for cars developed by university

Edinburgh Napier University has developed a new biofuel made from whisky by-products.

It is the result of two years work by the universities biofuel research centre.

The £260,000 project was funded by Scottish Enterprise's Proof of Concept programme.

It has been welcomed by WWF Scotland's director Dr Richard Dixon who said it would help a "clean environment" industry to reduce transport emissions.

As part of the research, the centre was provided with samples of whisky distilling by-products from Diageo's Glenkinchie Distillery in Edinburgh.

The team focused on the whisky industry to develop biobutanol, the next generation of biofuel which gives 30% more output power than ethanol.

It uses the two main by-products of the whisky production process which are "pot ale", the liquid from the copper stills, and "draff", the spent grains.

Each year the whisky industry produces 1,600 million litres of pot ale and 187,000 tonnes of draff.

Unlike ethanol, the nature of the innovative bio-fuel means that ordinary cars could use the more powerful fuel, instead of traditional petrol.

The university plans to to take the new fuel to market in the bid to make it available at the pumps.

'Innovative ideas'

Director of the biofuel research centre at Edinburgh Napier University, Professor Martin Tangney, said: "The EU has declared that biofuels should account for 10% of total fuel sales by 2020. We're committed to finding new, innovative renewable energy sources.

"While some energy companies are growing crops specifically to generate biofuel, we are investigating excess materials such as whisky by-products to develop them."

Lena Wilson, chief executive of Scottish Enterprise, said: "By proactively taking innovative ideas from the laboratory to the global market place, Scotland can continue to compete at the highest level and successfully boost its economic recovery."

WWF Scotland's director, Dr Richard Dixon, said: "Last year the whisky industry published plans to help lower its impacts and it is clear that this scheme could assist them in doing just that.

"Since the whisky industry relies on Scotland's clean environment for its main ingredients it would be great if the industry could help Scotland reduce its emissions from road transport."

Article Courtesy of BBCi


13 Aug

Explorer's thawing whisky reveals one final mystery

The oldest whisky in the world is finally giving up some of its secrets, but there is still one mystery that remains.

The crate from Antarctica belonging to explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton has spent the last month defrosting at the Canterbury Museum, watched closely by museum curators and an extremely interested whisky buff.

Today a bottle of Mackinlays Rare Old Malt, a century old and remarkably well-preserved, was revealed.

“It’s exceptionally exciting and just about as rare as you can get,” says whisky connoisseur Michael Fraser Milne.

“I think we should crack open a bottle, because there is a lot of them.”

The case of whisky was discovered under Sir Ernest’s hut in Antarctica.

It has sat there, encased in ice, since his expedition in 1907.

Conservators have cleaned and dried the protective straw and removed them from the crate – only to find 11 bottles and one empty wrapper.

“It is very curious because it was right at the back of the crate,” says Artefact Programme Manager Lizzie Meek.

“It’s not a modern extraction, obviously it was taken out a long time ago.”

Did they take the bottle out when they were supposed to, or did someone sneakily take one out and then put the wrapper back in behind it?

That mystery may never be solved, but at least whisky buffs will one day get to answer the big question; how does it taste?

The plan is to syringe a few drops from one of the bottles so the famous explorer’s tipple can be recreated back in Scotland.

After a sample is taken and the conservation work is done, the bottles will be put back in the crate exactly as they were found and returned to Shackleton’s hut in Antarctica.

Article Courtesy of TV3 NZ


12 Aug

Co-operative Wins Awards For Own Brand Whisky

The Co-operative’s own brand Scotch whiskies have scooped a number of awards in international competitions. The Co-operative 5 Year Old Premium Scotch Whisky collected a Silver - “Best in Class” award at the International Wine & Spirit Competition (IWSC), and a Silver medal at the International Spirits Challenge (ISC). Judges at the IWSC said that the whisky had “pronounced aromas of malt, honey and sweet spice” and a “good floral backing”. They also commented that the “addition of some toffee and fudge gives extra complexity along with some spicy oak” and said that the whisky had a “smooth, creamy texture and a lively finish”.

The IWSC aims to promote the quality and excellence of the world's best wines, spirits and liqueurs. In the same competition, the retailer’s 12 Year Old Single Highland Malt and the standard Finest Blend Scotch Whisky both collected Silver medals, whilst picking up Bronze awards at the ISC. Now in its 15th year, the ISC leads the way in tasting and promoting outstanding quality spirits from around the world. Each year, spirits are tasted and rigorously judged by the industry's leading international spirits experts.

Vicky Wood, Category Marketing Manager for Beverages at The Co-operative, commented, “Our pride in our own-brand Scotch whisky range is borne out by these results. Well done to the team on these fantastic awards".

Article Courtesy of Kam City


Kam City

11 Aug

Glengoyne launches two new limited editions

Glengoyne is expanding its award-winning whisky portfolio with the launch of two new Limited Edition Single Cask Malts.

The new 13 Years Old and 23 Years Old Glengoyne Highland Single Malts were handpicked by a team of experts at Glengoyne before being personally approved and signed by Distillery Manager, Robbie Hughes. The new limited editions are in response to growing demand from Glengoyne enthusiasts, curious to discover new expressions from the highly respected distillery.

Both limited edition single malts bring their own unique characteristics to the Glengoyne range, enhancing its famed reputation as the Real Taste of Malt, untainted by peat smoke. Presented in a handcrafted dark wood presentation box, showcasing its deep amber colour, the 13 Years Old has a nose of ripe strawberry and banana, molasses, hazelnut and a hint of mint. The palate opens with spice, before liquorice, milk chocolate and toffee overtake, slowly moving around the tongue and pleasantly lingering with sherried flavours and nut oils.

Displayed in a varnished oak case with copper plate, the 23 Years Old Single Malt has the appearance of old gold and a fresh nose of lemon sherbet and champit neeps, accompanied with oily, rich butter and freshly ground black pepper. The malt offers an elegant palate of crème brûlée with a grapefruit and custardy sweetness, before a long finish of burnt sugar and short crust pastry.

256 bottles of the 13 Years Old and 548 bottles of the 23 Years Old are available worldwide from select specialist whisky outlets. Recommended retail prices for these very limited bottles start at £120 for the 13 Years Old and £195 for the 23 Years Old, reflecting their rarity.

Iain Weir, Marketing Director for Ian Macleod Distillers, brand owners of Glengoyne commented: “Much to the delight of our customers, over the past few years it has become something of an annual tradition, that we delve into the Glengoyne warehouses and release a couple of rare and exceptional single casks. Both the 13 and 23 Years Old are great examples of Glengoyne craftsmanship and quality and we expect them to be very well received.”

Glengoyne is one of the leading premium malt whiskies in the world and has been distilled at Glengoyne distillery for over 175 years. Only the slowest distillation process, untainted by peat smoke, creates Glengoyne – THE REAL TASTE OF MALT. The new single casks join the award-winning core range, which includes the Glengoyne Single Malt 10 Years Old, 12 Years Old, a Cask Strength 12 Years Old, 17 Years Old, 21 Years Old and Vintage 1972.

Article Courtesy of Press Release

Press Release

11 Aug

Chivas Regal takes 'key position' at London's Vinopolis

Chivas Regal has launched a new branded space at Vinopolis named The Chivas Room.

The luxury space is located in a key position during the tour and offers consumers the opportunity to engage with the brand during the experience.

Set beneath the arches of a Victorian viaduct, in London's Bankside, Vinopolis offers a unique and versatile space that retains much of its original splendor with architectural features such as exposed brick work, high vaulted ceilings and soaring Victorian arches.

Approximately 100,000 visitors will pass through the tour, with a significant number being Chivas Regal's core target audience of 25-34 year old men.

The Chivas Room will also be used for consumer events, educational and trade tastings and new product launches. There will also be the opportunity to sample other Pernod Ricard UK whisky brands such as The Glenlivet malt whisky.

The back bar features an ornately detailed Chivas pattern, whilst the front bar will have a hand crafted, gilded glass top and translucent Chivas pattern.

The bar was built by hand and the pattern laser cut and sprayed with a liquid metal finish to create a solid structure with the appearance of a fluid strip of embossed metal. The tasting table has traditionally hand turned legs and the antique chandeliers have been restored with lead glass crystals to refract the light with greater clarity than pressed glass crystals.

The classic Louis chairs have been designed in the custom Chivas 18 blue. The mix of hand-crafted skills and contemporary technology creates a more authentic feel to the space and helps bring the brand values

The Chivas Room hosts an 'education' wall with a plasma screen showing the 'Live with Chivalry' advertising, and a 'heritage arch' that will display a lifestyle collection of images telling the story of Chivas' rich heritage.

Chivas Regal will be available in all Vinopolis restaurants and bars onsite and there will also be an opportunity to purchase the brand via The Whisky Exchange.

Phil Huckle, brand ambassador for Chivas Regal, said: "This is an ideal opportunity to educate consumers who are new to the brand, while also showcasing new styles and expressions to visitors who have a genuine interest in whisky. I'm looking forward to hosting tastings and consumer events in this appealing and engaging space."

Nicky Stanley, wine development and sponsorship manager at Vinopolis, said: "The new Chivas Room at Vinopolis is a great and welcome extension to our consumer tour experience, and we very much look forward to the joint collaboration, enhancing not only the tour itself, but also the range of Masterclass and tasting events on offer."

Article Courtesy of Talking Retail


Talking Retail

10 Aug

Kuwait foils $7 million whisky plot

The Dewar’s blended Scotch whisky range will feature a redesigned packaging from August

Kuwait's customs department has foiled an attempt to smuggle more than 37,000 bottles of whisky into the conservative Muslim Gulf state where liquor is totally banned, an official says.

The liquor had been hidden in six containers in a ceramic shipment coming from Jebal Ali Free Trade Zone in Dubai in favour of a Kuwaiti company, Kuwait Customs Department Mubarak al-Qattan said on Tuesday.

The bust was made on Sunday at the southern Shuaiba port and it took authorities almost two days to search the entire shipment, he said.

Qattan estimated the value of the liquor on the black market at more than two million dinars ($A7.63 million). He described the haul as one of the largest liquor busts in Kuwait's history.

A security source said that two Kuwaiti businessmen were arrested in connection of the liquor shipment.

Although liquor is banned in the oil-rich conservative emirate and its use or sale carries prison terms, it is available on the black market through smuggling by ship from Dubai and by land from neighbouring Iraq.

Article Courtesy of WA Today


WA Today

09 Aug

Alistair Cunningham; Whisky executive who became known as “Mr Ballantine’s”

Alistair Cunningham started work at Ballantine’s distillery in Dumbarton as a general apprentice straight out of school on the day before his 16th birthday.

In his 50-year career, all spent in offices at the same distillery, he became a Scotch whisky legend. He learned everything there was to know about the industry and ended up running the company, Hiram Walker, owner of Ballantine’s at the time. To his staff and others in the industry, he became known as “Mr Ballantine’s,” seen as the custodian of the famous whisky’s unique blend.

In his forties, Mr Cunningham became managing director of Hiram Walker (Scotland) and, by the time of his retirement in 1992, headed the new parent company, Allied Distillers (since taken over by Pernod-Ricard and its Scotch Whisky division, Chivas Brothers). Mr Cunningham was most proud of retaining the constancy of the Ballantine’s brand and blend, which became first choice of anyone from kings, presidents and Hollywood stars.

During his 50-year career, Mr Cunningham was involved at every level of Ballantine’s. During his rise from bottom to top of Hiram Walker, Mr Cunningham, though not a master blender, won a reputation as one. But he also monitored every phase of distilling, travelled the world marketing the product and kept a keen eye on the company’s famous bonded warehouses – protected by security guards and noisy white Chinese geese nicknamed “the Scotch watch” – at Dumbuck, on Dumbarton’s outskirts.

Having gained a degree in chemical engineering as part of the company training scheme, in 1955 Mr Cunningham invented and, along with Hiram Walker’s draftsman Arthur Warren, designed what became known as the Lomond Still at the Dumbarton distillery – a major breakthrough in Scotch whisky production. Following the war years and a scarcity of whisky, there was a resurgence in demand, particularly in the US. The demand required a new ingenuity among distillers.

Mr Cunningham came up with the idea of what he called the Lomond Still. It maintained the traditional bulb-shaped bottom of a standard copper still but had a wider neck resembling a coffee can with a flat top. It was dumpy, but it was easier to assemble and operate and was more flexible in its uses. Sales of Ballantine’s flourished at home and abroad and Mr Cunningham rose to be managing director of Hiram Walker (Scotland).

With demand continuing to rise, he oversaw the opening of a new complex for Ballantine’s and other Hiram Walker brands in 1977. The project, widely seen as “Cunningham’s baby,” started off as the most advanced whisky blending plant in Europe. “As always, Alistair brought that major project in on time, and on budget,” said Jim Lawrie, who was hired by Mr Cunningham, worked by his side for 32 years and retired as assistant managing director of Allied Distillers in 1996.

After Hiram Walker merged with Allied Lyons in 1987, Mr Cunningham was named corporate affairs director, and later, in 1990, managing director of the firm’s spirits’ branch Allied Distillers. Despite the expansion to Kilmalid, he remained based at the old Dumbarton Ballantine’s distillery where he finished his career on retirement in 1992.

Alistair Archibald Cunningham was born on February 3, 1926, in Bonhill, just outside Dumbarton, to local machine printer John Cunningham and his wife Margaret (nee Cowan).

He joined Hiram Walker at Ballantine’s distillery immediately on leaving Dumbarton Academy in 1942, but, towards the end of the Second World War, served for a time with the Fleet Air Arm of the Royal Navy. After his retirement, Mr Cunningham spent most of his time travelling, painting, amusing his friends with his impersonations and what they called his wicked sense of humour and, more recently, caring for his ailing wife.

To mark his retirement, and 50 years of involvement with the brand, Ballantine’s issued a commemorative special edition whisky, Alistair Cunningham’s, in 1992.

Alistair Cunningham died in the Royal Alexandra Hospital, Paisley. He is survived by his wife Ella and their son Iain.

Whisky executive who became known as “Mr Ballantine’s”;

Born February 3, 1926; Died July 14, 2010.

Article Courtesy of The Herald

The Herald

06 Aug

New package identity for Dewar’s range

The Dewar’s blended Scotch whisky range will feature a redesigned packaging from August

New bottle for Dewar's White LabelLiquor supplier Bacardi Global Travel Retail has announced that the Dewar’s blended Scotch whisky range will feature a redesigned packaging. The new bottles have the brand’s signature D in the Dewar’s font and a contemporary look, which the supplier claims “better emphasizes the artistry and craftsmanship that defines Dewar’s”.

The redesigned package also has John Dewar’s signature, the date the company was founded and gold medallions to represent the awards the brand has gathered. The full portfolio, which includes Dewar’s 12yo, Dewar’s 18yo, Dewar’s White Label and Dewar’s Signature, will be presented in the bottles that share the same identity for the first time in its history.

Dewar’s White Label (pictured) and Dewar’s 12yo will be the first products to feature the redesigned packaging, being introduced in duty-free and travel-retail markets from August to November. Among the retailers to receive the new bottles during the roll-out are World Duty Free shops in the UK, DFS Group outlets in Singapore and Dubai Duty Free.

Bacardi Global Travel Retail global marketing director Trent Russell said: “The updated, modern exterior of Dewar’s fully captures the vigour that defines the brand and its founder Tommy Dewar, a world traveller. In the energetic spirit of Tommy Dewar, the new packaging is launching in travel-retail worldwide, starting with the Americas and Europe.”

Article Courtesy of Duty Free News International


Duty Free News

04 Aug

Dalmore distillery to invest £1million in visitor centre

Company aiming to improve whisky experience for consumers

The Dalmore distillery, north of Inverness, revealed yesterday it is to invest nearly £1million to make it one of Scotland’s best whisky visitor centres.

The move will create at least three jobs on top of the current 15 and is expected to give a boost to the local tourism industry.

The distillery on the shore of the Cromarty Firth has been producing whisky since 1839.

The Dalmore said it has gone from strength to strength in the last two years after a change of strategy to make the most of its rare stocks.

The firm – which sells around 50,000 cases of whisky a year – said it had successfully repositioned itself as a luxury brand favoured by connoisseurs, collectors and investors.

But David Robertson, rare whisky director at parent company Whyte & Mackay, is quick to admit that the current distillery experience does not meet the exacting standards of wealthy whisky lovers.

He said: “Consumers of luxury products expect authenticity, craftsmanship and a rich heritage.

“The Dalmore has that in spades; definitely more so than any other whisky brand, and arguably more so than many other luxury products.

“But they also expect the best possible experience when they visit the home of a product. We are not there yet, but we will be.”

The company is about to start a two-year programme to refurbish the visitor centre and shop, improve key distillery buildings and signs, and invest in training for tour and distillery staff.

Mr Robertson said: “The aim is to create the ultimate Dalmore experience – the most perfect private members club for our brand and for the distillery.

“Except it won’t be private. It will be a destination attraction which will bring benefits not only for us, but for the wider local economy.”


The Dalmore has had major success with its limited edition products.

The Dalmore Sirius, which costs £10,000 a bottle with only 10 available worldwide, sold out in four days. It is now changing hands for twice that price less than a year later.

The Dalmore Selene, which cost £12,000 a bottle, was launched in February. There are only two bottles left out of 30.

But it’s not all about being expensive.

The Dalmore has a long-standing link with the Mackenzie clan which used to own the distillery. The distinctive stag’s head logo and its advertising strapline “I Shine, Not Burn” are lifted directly from the clan’s crest and motto.

The Dalmore recently launched a limited edition Mackenzie bottling for £100 which aims to raise money to help restore the clan’s ancestral home, Castle Leod.

Mr Robertson said: “With the castle partnership and the distillery investment, we are making some real and tangible contributions to the north of Scotland economy.”

Morag Swanson, tour guide manager at the distillery, said: “This investment and increased sales show that the Dalmore is more than a wee local distillery. It’s a global brand with global appeal, and that is something I am very proud of.

“For example, every year we get a visit from Russian sailors. They come in, and they don’t say too much because of the language barrier, but they empty the shelves in an hour. No matter what we have in stock and no matter how expensive, they will clear the shop out.”

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

Press & Journal

03 Aug

Benriach releases 2010 wood finishes

BenRiach has this month released three exciting new Wood Finish expressions from its Speyside Distillery.

The brand new bottlings include:

The BenRiach 16YO Claret Finish – 46%

The BenRiach 17YO Rioja Finish - 46%

The BenRiach 17YO Burgundy Finish – 46%

Matured in the traditional style in American bourbon barrels, these whiskies have then been ‘finished’ in either Rioja, Claret or Burgundy wine barrels. During this additional period of maturation, the whisky derives a number of additional flavours and aromas specific to the ‘finishing’ cask.

The tasting notes spell out what makes these single malts so special.

BenRiach 16YO Claret Finish
Nose – clean and fruity. Stewed plums and damsons with sweet oak nuances. Embracing but with real finesse.
Colour – bright sparkling orange gold.
Taste – Spiced fruit scones, enrobed in a fig and date syrup. Fairly light acidity, yet with lovely mouth-cleansing fruits. A whisky with the flavours standing in perfect equilibrium.
BenRiach 17YO Rioja Finish
Nose - dry and robust with wild flower characteristics. Sweet oak follows with elegant vanilla bean extract and ripe fermented grape juice.
Colour – Full gold with distinctive amber traces.
Palate - subtle floral elements including, violets, rosehip and dandelion. Creamy oak notes, married with vanilla and nutmeg round off the mix partnered with ripe peaches and apricots.
BenRiach 17YO Burgundy Finish
Nose – summer red berries, including fermented strawberries and raspberries. This is complemented by bitter cocoa bean nibs and freshly-cut wild flowers.
Colour – Full gold with a subtle tawny hue.
Taste – Vanilla crème-brulée with a distinct butterscotch component. Redcurrant jelly and quince flavours interact with toasted oak to bring excellent clarity and weight. A fruit and oak marriage of great elegance.

Sales director Alistair Walker said: “BenRiach operates an extensive finishing programme, and a five-minute stroll around the distillery’s Warehouse 13 will testify to that! The current BenRiach range already includes expressions finished in Pedro Ximinez Sherry, Tawny Port, Madeira, Dark Rum, Sauternes, Gaja Barolo and Moscatel.

“BenRiach has always been an experimental distillery, even under previous owners, and we have continued that tradition. We try and keep the range fresh and interesting by releasing new finishes and single casks each year, but in very limited quantities.”

The three new BenRiach finishes will be available in over twenty export markets, and in the UK through specialist, independent whisky retailers.

Article Courtesy of Press Release

Press Release

02 Aug

Glendronach releases four new wood finishes

More good news from GlenDronach. On top of the news that its sales have soared since the launch of its 12, 15 and 18YO core range last year, the Aberdeenshire distillery has announced the forthcoming release of four new wood finishes – the first of their kind ever to be released by the distillery in its one hundred and eighty-year history.

This month they’ll launch the much-anticipated Sauternes, Virgin Oak, Moscatel and Tawny Port Wood finishes.

Each unique expression was initially matured in European oak and thereafter finished its maturation in a very small batch of the respective wine barrels (or in one case, virgin oak), which have given the whisky its own unique flavours and aromas.

All are non-chill filtered and of natural colour and are bottled at 46%abv.

GlenDronach 14YO Sauternes Finish
Appearance - bright lemon straw
Nose - juicy and fresh. A blanket of creamed soda and wild strawberries backed up lush late harvest dessert wine. Hints of sherbet and ripe cherries. Very fruity.
Palate - apples and rhubarb drenched in home-made custard. Sweet dessert wine influences emerge with ripe sultanas and a lovely creamy heart.
Conclusions - sweet fresh and fragrant with balanced acidity. Lots of finesse and elegance, whilst still maintaining the lively youthful elements.
GlenDronach 14YO Virgin Oak Finish
Appearance - light gold. Freshly harvested straw.
Nose - toasted oak elements which are so intense that smoky attributes emerge. Sweet and lush tropical fruits rise with prominence. Banana and cacao, with roasted coconut.
Palate - spiced ginger and cinnamon cake with a beautiful smoky twist. Creamed dessicated coconut and fresh buttered toast with a handful of hazelnuts on the side.
Conclusion - a glorious nut feast with superb depth.
GlenDronach 15YO Moscatel Finish
Appearance - light gold.
Nose - golden syrup and nutmeg. Poached peaches and apricot flavours with fresh figs and dates. Subtle marzipan on the tail intensifies the aromatics.
Palate - sweet summer fruits of melon and pineapple intertwined with sweet ripe raisins and alcohol infused figs. Subtle marzipan adds a smooth round nutty edge.
Conclusion - a warming mix of fruit, nuts. Lovely length and balance.
GlenDronach 20YO Tawny Port Finish
Appearance - bright amber with a subtle tawny edge.
Nose - lashings of fine fortified wine elements and a generous portion of Mediterranean fruits including figs and dates.
Palate - stewed fruits of prunes, pears and apples. The stewed fruit is balanced with an injection of liquorice and subtle aniseed flavours. Massive power and definition.
Conclusion - a complex dram with a fantastic fortified backbone.

The release of a series of non-sherry wood finishes is certainly quite a departure from the norm for GlenDronach, where the tradition is to mature the whisky in big, rich sherry casks such as Oloroso and Pedro Ximinez.

As MD Billy Walker explained: “We’re not looking to change the style of GlenDronach. Our focus will continue to be on richly sherried malts, but we were interested to see how the whisky would react to different types of wood. It was important that the whiskies we selected for ‘finishing’ were not typical GlenDronach (richly sherried); instead we opted for whisky that had been maturing in lighter casks – this meant we could experience in full the impact of the second cask, be it Sauternes, Virgin Oak, Moscatel or Tawny Port.

“Each of these ‘finishes’ has been bottled in relatively small quantities, ranging from 340 cases of the Tawny Port Finish to 860 cases of the Virgin Oak Finish.”

The wood finishes will available in over twenty export markets, and in the UK through independent specialist whisky retailers, as well as at the distillery shop.

Article Courtesy of Press Release

Press Release

02 Aug

Seven single cask bottlings from Glendronach this month

GlenDronach, the richly-sherried Highland malt, has released Batch 2 of its single cask bottlings which includes seven rare and very limited expressions.

In chronological order, they are:
1971, cask 489, 39YO
Oloroso Sherry Butt, 48.8% vol
Liquorice and cloves partnering flawlessly with classic oloroso notes and lashings of chocolate orange nuances. Depth is built upon a layer of walnuts and almonds.
UK RRP £379.99
1972, cask 718, 38YO
Oloroso Sherry Butt, 51.5% vol,
Fruity and long. A tremendous concoction of sweet stewed fruits, nuts and chocolate. Fine old oloroso notes with terrific balance and acidity create excellent depth and definition.
UK RRP £359.99
1978, cask 1040, 31YO,
Oloroso Sherry Puncheon, 51.2% vol
Dense and long. Very elegant and smooth with classic sherry influences. Walnut flavours emerge which align perfectly with ripe citrus fruits.
UK RRP £184.99
1989, cask 3315, 20YO
Pedro Ximinez Sherry Puncheon, 53.2% vol
Offers baked apples with sweet brown sugar syrup. Nutty, with almonds and hazelnuts bringing weight to the mix.
UK RRP £79.99
1990, cask 2621, 20YO
Oloroso Sherry Butt, 57.9% vol
Chocolate orange and coffee mocha mouse. Delightful balance and complexity with excellent length.
UK RRP £79.99
1991, cask 3182, 18YO
Pedro Ximinez Sherry Puncheon, 51.7% vol
Bursting with stewed fruits, particularly sweet prunes. Date and dried fig characteristics add lovely depth and concentration.
UK RRP £70.99
1993, cask 529, 17YO
Oloroso Sherry Butt, 60.5% vol
Spicy and long. Superb mocha and hazelnut influences emerge, leading to a sweet rich finish.
UK RRP £66.99

Sales Director Alistair Walker said: “Each year we specially select a handful of individual casks from the warehouses at GlenDronach to be bottled as our ‘Limited Releases’.

“We believe that the 2010 releases are excellent examples of the quality, richly-sherried style for which the GlenDronach distillery is famous.

“Batch 2 is being shipped to over twenty export markets and will also be available in the UK through independent specialist whisky retailers.”

Article Courtesy of Press Release

Press Release
July 2010 Scotch Whisky News

31 July

Potter’s creation is shrine to Scots whisky

Artist will enter her work in competition at Potfest in the Park this weekend

THE Scottish whisky industry will be represented in an unusual way at a major pottery event this weekend in England.

Renowned potter Fiona Duckett has created a ceramic shrine to whisky for the Potfest in the Park event in Cumbria. The Whitehills-based artist has fashioned a piece that depicts columns holding a pagoda-style roof to hold four miniature copper stills.

She said: “Part of the event is a competition on a theme and this year it is altars and shrines. I thought that since I am from Banffshire, which is world famous for whisky, I would make a ceramic shrine to it.”

Ms Duckett, of Chapel Street, Whitehills, near Banff, created different elements of her piece separately and then fitted them together.

She added a lustre glaze to help bring the finished article to vibrant life and is hopeful it will catch the judge’s eye at the competition.

Potfest in the Park is staged annually at Hutton-in-the-Forest, near Penrith, Cumbria. The event on Saturday and Sunday will host more than 100 exhibitors from throughout Britain and Europe who will display a range of pottery skills and styles.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

Press & Journal

30 July

Smokehead whisky creates ad for Classic Rock sponsorship

Smokehead, the single malt whisky by Ian Macleod Distillers, is marking the start of its official sponsorship of Classic Rock Magazine with a new ad campaign.

The ad, created by Robertson Darby Advertising which is based in Moray in East Scotland, will feature heavily in Classic Rock and its sister mag Prog Rock throughout 2010.

As "the Whisky of Choice for Classic Rock magazine", Smokehead will command a high presence in the monthly music publication and on its website.

Iain Weir, marketing director for Ian Macleod Distillers, said: “Smokehead is powerful, intense and not for the faint hearted. The perfect match for a Classic Rock lover.”

Along with the extensive advertising campaign the brand will sponsor the readers' letters page and take part in promotions.

Angus Robertson, managing director of Robertson Darby Advertising, said: “Our latest treatment for the Smokehead brand was created with Classic Rock Magazine very much in mind. Inspired by the powerful imagery of rock album covers, it uses Smokehead’s stunning typographical packaging to deliver a haunting and lasting impact.”

Keeping up the rock theme Smokehead was the VIP sponsor of London’s High Voltage Festival last week and will back the Classic Rock Roll of Honour 2010 Awards in November, attended by, and celebrating, rock icons.

Article Courtesy of The Drum

The Drum

29 July

Whisky sale breaks records at Glenfiddich

Moray’s family distillery makes its top deal an occasion to remember

A MORAY distillery has sold its most expensive bottle of whisky for £10,000.

Glenfiddich Distillery, at Dufftown, Speyside, made a record sale when Ian Martin, an IT consultant from Lancashire, bought a bottle of rare Glenfiddich 50-Year-Old.

It is the priciest bottle ever sold in the distillery’s on-site shop, which has been open since the early-70s. A nip of the malt would cost more than £374.

The 144-year-old distillery, owned by William Grant and Sons, released just 50 bottles of the rare malt to locations around the world last year.

Distillery shop manager Duncan MacDonald said: “We were thrilled when Mr Martin contacted us to buy a bottle of Glenfiddich 50-Year-Old.”

He added: “As there are so few bottles available, the distillery shop was allocated just one. We wanted to make his purchase a memorable occasion so invited him to collect the bottle in person, stay for a few days in one of our cottages and enjoy a VIP tour of Glenfiddich as part of his visit.”

Mr Martin has a collection of more than 200 single malts which he keeps at a bank in secure storage. The Glenfiddich 50-Year-Old is his most exclusive purchase yet. The 46-year-old said: “ I love Glenfiddich whisky. It is a superb single malt made even more special by the fact it is one of Scotland’s few remaining family-owned distilleries.

“It will be the most prized bottle in my collection and one that – for the moment at least – is certainly not for drinking.”

Mr Martin added: “I did taste a sample at the distillery and it is truly remarkable.”

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

Press & Journal

26 July

Ice whisky's secrets about to be revealed

New Zealand's premier whisky connoisseur got a whiff of what may lie inside a crate of century-old whisky belonging to explorer Ernest Shackleton.

The frozen bottles from Antarctica are being thawed out at the Canterbury Museum as everyone waits to find out what's inside the case of liquid history.

Expert Michael Fraser Milne couldn't stop smiling at his first glimpse of the whisky.

"Look at it – it's liquid history, it is absolutely fantastic and the association with Shackleton makes it even better for some reason – well, to me anyway," says Mr Milne.

"I wonder what it is like – it's a pity there is a padlock on there."

The crate of McKinlay's Highland Malt Whisky is 114 years old. It was discovered beneath Shackleton's Hut at Cape Royds, encased in ice and in desperate need of restoration.

"If I got a whiff of it, it would be just heaven," says Mr Milne. "I don't know, we will have to wait and see – I may get an idea."

He didn't have to wait long for his first sniff.

"Floral," says Mr Milne. "It's quite floral – it's not a smoky smell. Nice, floral."

It was then moved from the freezer to be weighed and taken inside a cool room to thaw.

Watching its every move was Charles Usher, a descendent of the MacKinlay's whisky family, now living in Christchurch.

"It would be fascinating when they open on it and see what is on the bottle, and if the bottles are intact that would be marvellous," he says.

"If it is a full, untouched crate, I expect to find 12 bottles, but that is still a bit of a mystery," says artefact manager Lizzie Meek.

The secrets of what lies inside the crate that now spans three centuries could be unlocked by the end of the week.

Article Courtesy of TV3 NZ


26 July

Restructuring hangover for Glenmorangie

Whisky firm’s profits plunged by 68% after major business overhaul

The firm behind one of Scotland’s best-selling single malt whiskies suffered a 68% plunge in annual profits after it launched a restructuring of the business, its latest accounts reveal.

The Glenmorangie Company, which distils the iconic Glenmorangie single malt whisky at Tain, had a pre-tax surplus of £12.74million last year on turnover of £73.14million.

In 2008, profits came to £39.33million on turnover of £112.58million.

The figures were released by Companies House yesterday.

Glenmorangie, which also makes Ardbeg single malt, said the results reflected a major overhaul of the company and its operations during the latest period as well as its withdrawal from the bottling and sale of blended whisky and third-party bottling activities.

It added: “Set against a tough economic background and challenging trading conditions, which affected the Scotch whisky industry in 2009, our branded Glenmorangie and Arbeg businesses performed well.”

“Most encouragingly, trading in our key strategic markets saw an upturn, with increased sales of our brands – notably in Asia, continental Europe and the US, supporting our business decision to increase investment and resources.”

In July 2008, the firm announced plans to transform its business from a broad-ranging whisky-maker to a “highly-focused, premium-branded” single malt company.

The revamp was to be underpinned by substantial investment, including £20million on increased ware-housing at Tain and the Ardbeg distillery on Islay.

A further £10million was to be spent on ramping up production capacity at Tain and an upgrade for the firm’s visitor centres at Tain and Ardbeg.

But the company also revealed that it was selling its Glen Moray Distillery at Elgin.

Glenmorangie’s change of strategy was prompted by growing overseas demand for premium single malts.

In its 2009 annual report, signed off within the past fortnight, Glenmorangie said: “The group has made significant progress and is on target to successfully complete the first phase of activity to transform the business model.”

Work on a new bottling plant at Livingston got under way last year and Glenmorangie, which is majority owned by LVMH Moet Hennessy, the world’s biggest luxury products group, said the project would be completed during 2010.

Meanwhile, Glenmorangie said it was on track to relocate its HQ, which is currently at Broxburn, West Lothian, to The Cube building in the east end of Edinburgh in the third quarter of this year.

Glenmorangie also said it had invested heavily in product innovation, which was already paying dividends.

It added: “In the US, Glenmorangie has recently become the fastest-growing single malt whisky brand and we continue to increase its market share in other key strategic markets across Europe.”

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

Press & Journal

20 July

Distilleries vie to land deal to produce Trump’s first whisky

American billionaire in talks with drinks producers to make single malt

North-east distilleries are battling for a multimillion-pound contract to produce Donald Trump’s first single malt whisky.

The US billionaire has started talks with “several” drinks producers as he looks to expand his luxury merchandise brand to Scotland.

Following the success of Trump Vodka, the Manhattan-based businessman is keen to launch a range of whiskies as his £750million Aberdeenshire golf resort plans take shape.

Last night Sarah Malone, who is overseeing his plans to create the “world’s greatest golf course” at the Menie Estate near Balmedie, said that bottles would be sold around the world, and that other merchandise could follow.

“We will definitely have a few single malts in the years to come, and perhaps a couple of special blends too once the clubhouse is up and running,” she said.

“We are meeting with companies regionally and nationally to identify the very best products for Trump International Golf Links, Scotland and we look forward to commissioning and manufacturing a wide range of products over the coming years.

“There are tremendous opportunities for Scottish suppliers and the Trump Scotland brand will be synonymous with Scotland’s finest.

“We are talking with a number of different distilleries and we hope to have a whisky ready for 2012.”

Trump Vodka launched in 2006. The spirit, which is produced by renowned Dutch master distiller Jacques de Lat, sold about 20,000 cases in its first year and is priced at about £60 for a litre bottle.

Miss Malone also revealed that the businessman has applied to the Court of the Lord Lyon so that a Trump coat of arms can be created.

The organisation famously fell victim to Scotland’s ancient heraldic laws in 2008 and had to stop using its previous insignia.

Work has now started on the championship course at Menie, which lies be- tween Balmedie and Aberdeen.

Mr Trump believes the course, which he hopes will host the Open Championship in the future, will become a “national jewel”.


However, some of the people living around the estate remain opposed to the plans, including local quarryman Michael Forbes.

Yesterday it emerged that Mr Forbes has been questioned by police about thefts from the estate.

The 57-year-old was quizzed after officers received reports of marker flags – used to map out the course – being taken from the site.

Mr Forbes, of Mill of Menie, refused to comment.

A spokesman for Grampian Police said: “We can confirm a 57-year-old man was spoken to in connection with the theft of identification flags at Menie Estate.

“He received an adult formal warning letter.”

No further legal proceedings will be taken against Mr Forbes and he will not be required to attend court.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

Press & Journal

18 July

Tomintoul Launches Kosher Certified Whisky

From the highest of the Scottish Highlands now come varieties of single malt whisky manufactured by Tomintoul Distillery and newly certified by OU Kosher.

Tomintoul, located in the community of the same name, the highest village in the Highlands, is owned by Angus Dundee, an independent company with over 50 years' experience in producing, blending, bottling and distributing top-quality Scotch whiskies and other spirits. These Tomintoul varieties, known in the industry as "the gentle dram," include Tomintoul 10, 16 and 33 years old; they also include Peaty Tang, which is crafted using peated malted barley to impart a distinctive smoky and heathery flavor to the product.

Medek Wine & Spirits, a division of Royal Wine Corporation, is distributing this "Gold Medal" line of whisky that now is available to a wider audience worldwide thanks to its OU certification.

"Given the growing popularity of Scotch whisky among kashrut observant Jews, Medek feels that providing the highly regarded OU kosher certification adds value to the Tomintoul offerings," Gary Landsman, public relations spokesman for Royal Wine Corp, said.

Rabbi Eliyahu Safran, OU Kosher's Vice President of Communications and Marketing, commented that the Orthodox Union is pleased to add Tomintoul to the growing number of highly regarded OU certified scotch liquor products, and is gratified that the-ever growing kosher market place will now also be able to enjoy this 'Gold Medal' line of whisky.

Article Courtesy of Beverage World

Beverage World

15 July

Teacher's whisky gets a bottle makeover for stand out on-shelf

Teacher's whisky is to receive a makeover with the launch of new, more contemporary packaging, which highlights the high malt content of the blend.

Maxxium UK's brand manager for Teacher's, Janette Peat, said: "Teacher's has a rich history in pioneering packaging, from being the first whisky to invent the self-opening bottle without the use of a corkscrew in the 1910s, to inventing the jigger cap in the 1960s. Our new pack reflects this heritage by maintaining the very distinct and recognisable trademark shape which has changed very little over the past 92 years, but is now bolder and sleeker, while the clarity of the label offers better stand out on-shelf.

"We decided to highlight the 45% malt content as it sets Teacher's apart as one of the highest of all blended Scotch whiskies and gives Teacher's its distinctive malty, peaty full flavour. The high malt content also makes Teacher's excellent value for money."

The newly designed bottle is available in 70cl and one litre sizes.

Article Courtesy of Wholesale News

Wholesale News

14 July

Distiller raises a glass to rise in single malt sales

Morrison Bowmore’s whisky brands buck trend in declining market

Whisky maker Morrison Bowmore Distillers said yesterday it bucked the trend of a declining market for single malts last year, with increased sales in the category boosting the firm’s turnover and profits.

It said it also benefited from increased demand for the Japanese single malts it sells in the UK and Europe, revealing a growing appetite for high-quality whiskies “produced in beautiful and unique locations”.

Morrison Bowmore said sales volumes of its Bowmore Islay single malt last year were up 12% on 2008, to 164,000 cases, and its Auchentoshan Lowland brand added 2% t0 39,000 cases. The sales growth helped pre-tax profits grow by 7% to £3.8million on turnover that was up by 6% at £39.32million.

According to market analysts, the global demand for single malts declined by 5% during 2009.

Chief executive Mike Kieller said: “The company continues to focus on building its single malt whisky brands and investment in recent years, in both Bowmore and Auchentoshan, is starting to pay off with significant growth in the brands’ performance in 2009 despite difficult economic conditions.”

Mr Kieller said the first six months of this year had got off to a “very strong start”, with all the company’s brands showing double-digit growth. He added: “Profits are strong and full-year expectations look very good. In addition, the development of our sales and marketing teams has strengthened our ability to take the products to market, along with our commitment to developing world-class brands.”

Founded in 1951 by Stanley Morrison and J. Howat, Morrison Bowmore’s ultimate parent is now Japanese drinks giant Suntory.

The Scottish firm operates the Bowmore Distillery in Islay, Auchentoshan Distillery near Glasgow and Glen Garioch Distillery at Oldmeldrum, Aberdeenshire.

Its Glen Garioch brand was relaunched last year, with a larger product range and new packaging. Other developments last year included the firm investing £1.5million in production and bottling facilities, and sealing a five-year deal with the Drambuie Liqueur Company.

Under the Drambuie contract, Morrison Bowmore took on the delivery of services including whisky procurement, blending, bottling, warehousing and logistics.

The whisky maker invested a further £500,000 in a visitor centre at Auchentoshan Distillery

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

Press & Journal

08 July

First minister welcomes pledge by Beijing as further incentive to increase exports

Scotch whisky is to be given improved legal protection against imitation in China, it was confirmed yesterday.

The Chinese government is to introduce geographic indication (GI) of origin status for the spirit aimed at ensuring all products labelled as Scotch whisky come from Scotland.

It follows talks this week between First Minister Alex Salmond and Shuping Zhi, the Chinese government’s deputy minister for general administration of quality supervision, inspection and quarantine.

After the meeting in Beijing, Mr Salmond said: “Mr Zhi has reassured me that this important legal protection for one of Scotland’s premium global exports will be introduced shortly, helping to further increase exports and secure jobs.

“It is a tremendous boost to our whisky industry as producers seek to expand their presence in the hugely important Chinese market, and further recognition of the internationally renowned quality of Scotch whisky.

“I am grateful to the Chinese government for its continued commitment and work to approve the designation, which of course will enable an increasing number of consumers in China to enjoy genuine Scotch whisky with confidence.”

Global exports of Scotch whisky reached record levels last year, rising by 3% in value to £3.13billion.

The Scotch Whisky Association applied to the Chinese government for GI status in 2007.

Association chief executive Gavin Hewitt added: “The Chinese government’s commitment to protecting Scotch whisky and consumers from imitations is welcome.

“We have been grateful for the support of the Scottish and UK governments, as well as the British embassy in Beijing, for our efforts to secure this additional protection for Scotch whisky.”

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

Press & Journal

07 July

The Six Isles launches new limited edition Pomerol finish

Independent bottler and distiller, Ian Macleod Distillers, has launched a new Limited Edition Pomerol Finish of its award winning Blended Malt Scotch Whisky, The Six Isles.

Finished in the finest French oak Pomerol wine casks, the Limited Edition Six Isles brings a new dimension and depth to the original Blended Single Malt Scotch Whisky, enhancing its rich, peaty and honeyed flavours with spicy, red fruit notes.

Described as having a smoky, spicy nose with notes of strawberries and wine gums, the fruity, peaty body of the Pomerol Finish brings in herbal and chocolate undertones before a fresh, salty and minty finish.

Masterfully blending six full-bodied Single Malts from each of Scotland’s whisky producing islands of Islay, Jura, Skye, Mull, Orkney and Arran, The Six Isles is unique. Bringing together every distinctive style and flavour of each island, from the smoky peat from Islay to the soft, heathery and iodine notes of the Orcadian malt, The Six Isles is as a sensory voyage through the malt whiskies of the islands of Scotland.

Taking its lead from original Pomerol wine casks, the tube and bottle label of the New Limited Edition Six Isles is an eye-catching deep red with embossed gold lettering, reflecting the high quality of the Island Blended Malt’s heritage.

Just 3,266 bottles of The Six Isles Limited Edition Pomerol Finish will be available throughout the UK and worldwide from select specialist retailers. RRP £37.49 70cl.

Established in 1933, Ian Macleod Distillers is one of the largest and most widely respected independent family companies within the spirits industry. The award winning Ian Macleod portfolio, which includes Glengoyne, King Robert II, Langs, The Six Isles and Smokehead, as well as gin, rum, and vodka, currently has combined total sales of more than one million cases, with 85% being exported to over 65 markets worldwide

Scotch whisky to get better legal protection in China

Article Courtesy of Press Release

Press Release

02 July

Grant completes £250m Irish acquisition

Dufftown family firm adds whiskey brands including Tullamore Dew

PREMIUM spirit business and independent family distiller William Grant and Sons said yesterday it had completed the acquisition of C&C’s spirit and liqueur business for about £250million.

Dufftown-based Grant has taken over a portfolio of Irish spirit and liqueur brands, including Tullamore Dew Irish Whiskey, Carolans, Frangelico and Irish Mist.

This business will operate as William Grant and Sons Irish Brands and has 63 employees. Tullamore Dew – which at 600,000 cases annually – is the world’s second largest Irish whiskey brand, will become Grant’s sixth core brand in a portfolio which also takes in Glenfiddich and The Balvenie single malt whiskies, Grant’s whisky, Hendrick’s gin and Sailor Jerry spiced rum.

Grant chief executive Stella David, speaking from the new operation’s production site at Clonmel, said: “Today is a historic day for William Grant and Sons as this acquisition provides us with a complementary portfolio of brands and a unique opportunity to accelerate our growth in non-Scotch and enter the dynamic Irish whiskey category.

“We shall invest significantly in the Irish operations and are committed to building a strong business in Ireland and to maintaining and developing current operations here in Clonmel.

“We look forward to working with the team in Ireland to ensure a successful integration of the two businesses.

“One of our key strengths is the ability to nurture brands, so we are excited about the future of these brands and are very confident that we can maximise their potential.”

Dublin-based C&C Group is a leading manufacturer, marketer and distributor of cider and also has the Tennent's beer brand.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

Press & Journal
June 2010 Scotch Whisky News

29 Jun

Chivas Brothers launches global Scotch whisky campaign in travel-retail

The Age Matters aims to educate customers about the importance of age statements within the category

The Age Matters campaign posterLiquor supplier Chivas Brothers has today launched a global campaign to promote the importance of age statements within the Scotch whisky category. The consumer-focused campaign will be rolled out from July 1 in the duty-free and travel-retail channel, with Seoul Incheon, Tel Aviv Ben Gurion, London Heathrow and Istanbul Atatürk airport among the first to host the promotion, which will focus on strategic brands Ballantine’s, The Glenlivet, Chivas Regal and Royal Salute.

The campaign was designed following customer research commissioned by the company, which revealed that although 94% of consumers believe the age statement on a bottle of whisky serves as an indicator of quality, only 10% of respondents know that the age statement refers to the youngest whisky in the bottle—nearly half (48%) said it refers to the average age of whiskies present in the bottle.

Chivas Brothers chairman and CEO Christian Porta said the travel-retail channel was chosen as the launch platform for the campaign, which will be rolled out to domestic markets in the near future, because a “significant proportion” of the company’s high-end Scotch whiskies is sold in duty-free. “Our ultra-premium and prestige products such as Ballantine’s 17yo and Chivas Regal 25yo and well represented in travel-retail, so we will start with this channel and after about three months we’ll move into domestic markets.

“[This campaign] is about educating our existing consumers, helping them to understand why these are great products and why age matters, and also why it is worth paying the price they are paying for it. It also contributes to the premiumisation of the category, which is good not only us but also for retailers. At the same time it also helps us to talk to new consumers,” Porta added.

The Age Matters will use specially-created point-of-sale materials including a “Guaranteed Age Whisky” seal and posters highlighting the main message of the campaign.

Article Courtesy of Duty Free News International


Duty Free News

25 Jun

Scottish whisky industry invests to meet booming demand

Scotch industry invests 600 mln pounds over three years

The Scottish whisky industry is booming again with investment pouring in to boost capacity as distillers defy the recession and the current sluggish recovery with an eye on the fast growing markets of Asia.

Leading the charge is the single malt whisky market boasting names such as The Glenlivet, Glenmorangie and Macallan which may only account for a fraction of the industry, but is growing faster than the much larger blended scotch market.

Over the last three years, the Scottish whisky industry has invested 600 million pounds ($898 million) in malt and grain distilleries, warehousing and bottling and despite the downturn none of these expansion plans have been cancelled or delayed.

Optimism is fuelled by markets like as China which rose to be worth 80 million pounds in 2009 from a mere 1 million pounds in 2000 in an industry which exports 90 percent of production worth an annual 3.13 billion pounds to the Scottish economy.

Single malts only account for just over 6 percent of 2009's 94.4 million 12-bottle case scotch market by volume, but the malt industry has grown volumes by 23 percent in the 2005-2009 five-year period compared to 10 percent for the whole industry.

Single malts come from Scotland's 102 malt distilleries scattered mainly across its highlands and islands, while the much large blended brands such as Johnnie Walker, Dewar's and Ballantine's are made up of around one third malt and two thirds industrially produced grain whisky.

Glenmorangie is typical of those pouring in investment despite the difficulty of predicting demand for 10 years plus when these single malt whiskies will be ready for bottling.

Its distillery on the shores of the Dornoch Firth in northeastern Scotland boasts the tallest stills in the industry to create a light fruity malt whisky which is No 1 in Scotland and the fastest growing in the United States, the world's biggest single malt market.

The world's biggest luxury goods group LVMH (LVMH.PA) snapped up Glenmorangie along with the Ardbeg distillery on the island of Islay off the southwest coast of Scotland in 2005, and boosted production by 50 percent last year spending 4 million pounds to add four new stills to its original eight and currently produces 6 million litres of alcohol a year.

"We are going to need all the extra whisky in 10 years time. There is a growing demand for the future with single malts outperforming the industry and Glenmorangie outperforming the single malt market," said the distillery's whisky creator and master distiller Rachel Barrie.

Plugging into LVMH's worldwide distribution network has given Glenmorangie greater access to Asian markets such as China where LVMH has a big presence due to Chinese drinkers liking for cognacs such as the group's Hennessy brand.


In the whisky making heartland of Speyside in northeast Scotland, the Macallan is also expanding production of its heavy, aromatic single malt made from some of the smallest stills in Scotland, and as the distiller says the smaller the still the sweeter the spirit.

The privately-owned Edrington Group, which produces the blended Famous Grouse and two other single malts Highland Park Glenturret, has spent 4.5 million pounds dusting off and renovating six old stills last used in the early 1990s at Macallan to add to its existing 15 stills.

This will boost capacity by 35 percent to 8.75 million litres of alcohol per year to meet demand for its mainstream 12-year old product aged 100 percent in sherry oak barrels.

"We are seeing growing demand for our whiskies especially in our strongest markets of the U.S. and Taiwan and we are also seeing growth in the Far East, Russia and Spain," said Macallan's market innovation manager Annabel Kohler.

Pernod Ricard (PERP.PA), the spirits giant behind whisky blends like Chivas Regal, is investing 10 million pounds behind its top selling single malt The Glenlivet to boost sales and close the gap on single malt market leader Glenfiddich.

With 75 percent of output going into single malt production at the oldest licensed distillery in Speyside there was need for expansion for use in both single malts and blending. The investment has pushed up capacity by 75 percent this year adding six new stills to the eight originals to bring annual production up to 10.5 million litres of alcohol.

"Mature markets such as the United States are growing and so are emerging markets like China," said Pernod's master distiller Alan Winchester.

Glenlivet sold 612 million cases in 2009 up 2.1 percent on 2008 according to figures from the IWSR drink industry magazine while market leader Glenfiddich, privately owned by William Grant, fell 3.2 percent to 874 million. These are followed by the Macallan, Campari's (CPRI.MI) Glen Grant and Glenmorangie.

The world's biggest spirits and whisky maker Diageo (DGE.L) has spent 40 million pounds building the first new distillery for over 30 years which started up last year with a capacity from its 14 stills to produce 10 million litres of alcohol. This new Roseisle distillery on the edge of Speyside is likely to be used mainly in blends to allow some of the group's key but small distilleries such as Cardhu and Talisker to bottle more as single malts.

Over on the island of Islay, most of the island's eight distilleries produce peaty whiskies which are in demand for single malt production and for blending, and the best-selling Islay malt Laphroaig has been slowly pushing up production.

Laphroaig, and also Ardmore close to Speyside, were bought by Jim Beam maker Fortune Brands (FO.N) in 2005 as part of the break up of Allied Domecq and the Islay distiller soon moved to around the clock production over seven days in 2006.

The small distillery on the southeastern shore of Islay now produces 3 million litres of alcohol a year, and with 70 percent going into the single malt bottling there is need for more production of this distinctive malt.

"We have never had enough stock for the last 20 years. The U.S. is our fastest growing market and the UK our biggest, while France, Germany the Nordic countries and Japan are now big markets," said Laphroaig distillery manager John Campbell.

Article Courtesy of Reuters



23 Jun

Scotch Whisky Association celebrates rise in exports to France

Scotch Whisky's growing popularity in France has given rise to a celebration of the category.

The fact that more than five bottles every second are shipped to the country will be toasted at a reception in the British Ambassador's Residence in Paris, on June 23.

Over 100 trade, business and media guests will attend a ‘Celebration of Scotch Whisky' hosted by Sir Peter Westmacott KCMG LVO, the British Ambassador to France.

According to the Scotch Whisky Association, a 12% rise in exports in 2009 confirmed France as Scotch Whisky's largest market by volume, with the equivalent of 179m bottles shipped.

Ahead of the reception , the Scotch Whisky Association is holding a seminar for the European drinks trade explaining the impact of the new Scotch Whisky regulations on the legal protection and international marketing of Scotch Whisky.

The new law protects the authenticity of Scotch Whisky from copycat products and ensures consumers always receive clear information on labels about what they are buying.

Gavin Hewitt, chief executive of The Scotch Whisky Association, said: "Scotch Whisky's continued success in France is a Scottish export success story, with French consumers appreciating the authenticity, flavour and heritage of our brands.

Article Courtesy of Harpers


21 Jun

Caol Ila - New, But Older Single Malt Whisky

A new member of the Caol Ila™ family of single malt Scotch whiskies has been announced by Diageo.

A 25 year old single malt Scotch Whisky is now joining this highly popular and award-winning collection. Caol Ila has been distilled on the eastern shore of Islay since 1846.

It will be the most mature member of the dynasty, standing alongside a 12 year old, an 18 year old, a natural cask strength bottling, a Distillers Edition™, and some limited edition younger expressions.

Article Courtesy of Press Release

Press Release

19 Jun

Scots firms take six places in top 100

Six Scottish companies have won a place in the latest Deloitte Top Track 100.

The ninth annual league table ranks Britain’s 100 biggest private companies by latest sales.

For the fourth year running, Scotland’s private company with the biggest sales is Glasgow-based car dealer Arnold Clark Automobiles. Ranked at 15 in this year’s top 100 with sales of £2.1billion in 2009, the family-owned company has more than 145 branches selling new and used cars.

William Grant and Sons, the Dufftown-based spirit distiller behind brands such as Grant’s whisky and Hendrick’s gin, enters the league table for the first time at 96 after growing sales 21% to £598million in 2008, making it Scotland’s sixth biggest private company.

Second placed among Scottish companies (44th in the UK) is Aberdeen-based oil and gas drilling contractor KCA Deutag with sales of £968million in 2009, while Edinburgh-based car-repair centre operator Kwik-Fit is third in Scotland (UK 47) with sales of £968million.

Miller Group, the Edinburgh-based housebuilding, construction and property development business, is fourth in Scotland (UK 61) with sales of £783million.

PSN, the Aberdeen energy service provider, ranks fifth in Scotland (UK 68), achieving sales of £741million in 2009.

James Baird, senior partner in Scotland at Deloitte, sponsor of the league table, said: “The companies featured in this year’s league table such as Arnold Clark and PSN have shown remarkable resilience throughout the recession.”

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

Press & Journal

18 Jun

Grant's whisky seeks brand loyalty through digital initiative

Grant's, the William Grant & Sons-owned blended Scotch whisky brand, is launching a new website in an effort to develop a closer relationship with customers.

The 'After Hours Club' website, created by agency Geronimo, targets hobbies associated with whisky drinkers, such as gardening and classical music, as it looks to generate a greater sense of brand loyalty.

On the site,, users can win tickets to an exclusive concert with pianist Murray McLachlan. Grant's has also created a 'Garden Terrace' where visitors can receive gardening tips from TV presenter Chris Beardshaw, as well as winning tickets to BBC Gardener's World Live.

"In a market so focused on price, it was important to understand what really matters to Grant's consumers, and do things differently to get them interacting. The website really taps into their passions and interests outside of whisky, and provides relevant content to engage with them," said Geronimo managing director Andy Snuggs.

William Grant & Sons hired Geronimo last year with a brief to devise a UK digital and CRM strategy, following a wider review of its digital marketing.

Article Courtesy of Brand Republic


Brand Republic

17 Jun

Whisky bottle fetches more than £25,000

A rare single malt has sold in Edinburgh for more than £25,000, making it one of the world's most expensive bottles of whisky.

The Glenfiddich, distilled before World War II, went under the hammer for £25,200, including the buyer's premium, at Bonhams' whisky sale.

The 70cl bottle, dating to 1937, was one of 61 bottles produced and was part of a batch of 10 released in 2001.

Experts said the single malt smelled of newly dug peat, burnt leather and oak.

They said it tasted of treacle toffee, creme brulee and toasted almonds.

Bonhams said the Glenfiddich, which was initially valued at £15,000 to £20,000, was one of the most expensive bottles of whisky ever sold at auction.

A world record £29,400 was paid in 2007 for a 19th century bottle of Bowmore, according to the auction house.

Bonhams' whisky specialist Martin Green said: "The moment I saw it I knew we had something special and I'm delighted that it reached such a high price.

"Even in these difficult economic times, very high quality items will still excite a lot of interest and this was a truly exceptional opportunity to acquire an exceptional bottle."

Article Courtesy of BBCi


16 Jun

Whisky Lovers to Vie for $29,600 Glenfiddich, Matured 64 Years

A rare Scotch whisky matured for more than six decades may sell for as much as 20,000 pounds ($29,600) at an Edinburgh auction today as collectors vie for the best malts on offer.

The bottle is one of 61 produced by the Glenfiddich distillery and the whisky has matured for 64 years, host Bonhams said in its catalog. The sale of 396 lots may raise between 113,320 pounds and 144,050 pounds in total, the London-based auction house said in an e-mail.

The Scotch whisky industry has been weathering the financial crisis, Martin Green, the whisky specialist at Bonhams, said in an interview. Prices for collectable bottles have been rising as investors avoid the volatility of stock and bond markets. Distillers meanwhile have been adding capacity to cater to demand in countries such as China and India.

“Prices have been fantastic,” Green said as he set up the auction. “Collecting seems to be reaching an all-time high. It’s the alternative investment angle people are looking at.”

Bonhams in November sold the Dalmore Oculus, made from whisky malt vintages as much as 141 years old and stored in a crystal decanter, for 27,600 pounds after pricing it in the same range. The hammer price included fees and compared with a world record of 29,400 pounds for a bottle of Scotch set in Glasgow in 2007.

The Glenfiddich being auctioned today was distilled on July 17, 1937, and bottled on Oct. 24, 2001, according to the label on the bottle.

Article Courtesy of


14 Jun

Trio of awards for Kinloch Lodge Hotel

PRESS and Journal food writer Lady Claire Macdonald’s Kinloch Lodge Hotel was announced as the winner of Island Hotel of the Year, Young Chef of the Year 2010 and Wine and Spirit Hotel of the Year at this year’s Scottish Hotel Awards.

At a glittering awards ceremony at Edinburgh’s Prestonfield House Hotel, the winners of the 2010 Scottish Hotels of the Year were announced and Kinloch Lodge came away with three of these highly sought-after awards.

Having achieved a Michelin star earlier this year, the Island Hotel of the Year award perhaps comes as no surprise, but it was by no means a foregone conclusion. Scotland is home to many fabulous island hotels and the judges were looking for a hotel which surpassed itself in all aspects.

Young Chef of the Year was awarded to Andrew Maclugash, who joined Kinloch Lodge in January 2008. Since joining, Andrew has been eager to learn under head chef Marcello Tully and has certainly proved himself to be a talented young chef.

The third award was the Wine and Spirits Award, given to Tom Eveling, who helps run Kinloch with his wife, Isabella Macdonald. This was in recognition of the skill, care and attention Tom has given to Kinloch Lodge’s wine and spirit offering. The hotel has introduced Wine Flights, Whisky Flights and Beer Flights. Every dish on the menu is carefully paired with two wines, whiskies or beers. This initiative has proved extremely popular and has become a signature of Kinloch Lodge.

“It would have been a privilege and flattering to have come away with just one of these accolades,” said Isabella Macdonald.

“But to have been awarded all three is a true honour and a credit to our entire team here at Kinloch Lodge.”

The organisers of these “Oscars” of the hotel industry say they “recognise specific excellence – business and individual – across the array of skills that make up the unique business that is the Scottish hotel industry – such a vital industry for our nation”.

For more information, visit

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

Press & Journal

11 Jun

MSPs reject flagship plan – but Sturgeon unbowed by setback

Minimum drink price strategy is defeated

The Scottish Government’s flagship plan for a minimum price for alcohol suffered a major blow yesterday when it was rejected by MSPs.

The Tories claimed it was the “end of the road” for the proposal after their motion urging SNP ministers to delete it from future legislation was backed by Labour.

Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon said the vote was not “binding” and vowed to fight on as the Alcohol Bill makes its way through parliament. Minimum pricing is at the heart of a raft of measures in the bill designed to tackle the health, social and economic damage caused by alcohol abuse.

It is supported by the medical profession and police, but opposed by most of the drinks industry.

Ms Sturgeon has declined to reveal her preferred price for a unit of alcohol, although it is believed to be 40p, despite Holyrood’s health committee saying they could not scrutinise the legislation effectively without it.

Although parliament rejected minimum pricing in yesterday’s stage one debate – voting 54-49 to support the Tory amendment – there was overwhelming support for the bill’s general principles.

Last night, Tory health spokesman Murdo Fraser said: “This is the end of the road for minimum pricing. Today the Scottish Parliament has voted for the first time to reject the policy.

“Now it’s time for the SNP to put its plans on hold and sit down and work with the UK Government and opposition parties on a joint approach. Scotland has a huge problem with excessive alcohol consumption and we need targeted measures to tackle that abuse.”

Labour health spokeswoman Jackie Baillie said minimum pricing was “holed beneath the waterline” and called on the government to work with other parties.

“If they have any respect for democracy and truly care about tackling the over- consumption of alcohol they should accept the will of parliament.”

The government has the support of the three Green and Independent MSPs and former Labour health minister Malcolm Chisholm, who broke party ranks yesterday.

It is pinning its hopes on eventually convincing Lib Dem MSPs – who abstained in yesterday’s vote – of the merits of price control.

With the Lib Dems’ support, the government would have enough votes to get minimum pricing through at stage two when details of the bill go before parliament.

Ms Sturgeon said: “The amendment that was passed has absolutely no legal effect and it is notable that fewer than half of all MSPs voted for it. The Scottish Government will, at stage two, continue to seek to persuade members to support minimum pricing, which is backed by a huge range of experts.”

The Lib Dems abstained because evidence on minimum pricing demanded by the health committee was still not available.

Party health spokesman Ross Finnie said Ms Sturgeon and the SNP government were responsible for their own defeat. “They have failed to make the case for minimum pricing,” he said. “The SNP still refuse to confirm what the minimum price per unit will be. We don’t know if minimum pricing is legal.”

The Wine and Spirits Trade Association said Holyrood, having considered the evidence, had made its views clear and Ms Sturgeon could not ignore it.

A spokesman for the Scotch Whisky Association welcomed the vote and said: “We believe there is now an opportunity for all political parties, producers and retailers to work together and press for a ban of sales below cost.

“Scotland has a chance to shape this policy and press Westminster to deliver a UK-wide solution consistent with its coalition commitment to deliver duty reform and a ban of sales below cost.”

The British Medical Association said the evidence “clearly demonstrates a link between price and consumption” but opponents had yet to suggest viable alternatives.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

Press & Journal

10 Jun

Artists gather for Moray distillery project

Eight talents selected for Glenfiddich’s artist in residence scheme

ARTISTS from as far afield as Canada and South Korea will be living and working at a Moray distillery this summer.

Andy Fairgrieve, programme curator for this year’s Glenfiddich artist in residence scheme, has selected the latest eight participants in collaboration with international partners such as the Royal Academy in London and the Sakshi Gallery in Mumbai.

The artists – Shiau-Peng Chen from Taiwan, Dan Halter from South Africa, Carrie Iverson from the USA, Damian Moppett from Canada, Matthew Sandager from the USA, Valay Shende from India, and Mao Yan from China, plus Royal Academy of Art in London student Hayoung Kim from South Korea – will take up residence from next Tuesday until October 15.

Since 2002 the programme has brought 63 leading international artists to the distillery in Dufftown, Speyside.

They receive a cash award as well as travel and living expenses, thanks to an annual investment of about £100,000 in the programme by Glenfiddich.

The artists are given open access to the distillery complex and all of the production facilities in the hope that they will gain inspiration from the people, history, craftsmanship and local environment.

Mr Fairgrieve said: “The artists work in a diverse spectrum of mediums from photography to sculpture. For some of them, this will be their first visit to Scotland and a single malt distillery.”

Work created during the residency will be displayed at Glenfiddich’s on-site gallery in an exhibition later in the year.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

Press & Journal

09 Jun

Smokehead Rocks Out

SMOKEHEAD, the rich and powerful Single Malt Whisky by Ian Macleod Distillers, has been named the official whisky sponsor of Classic Rock Magazine. To celebrate, a new edgy advertising campaign has been revealed, playing on the brand’s growing rock credentials and rising popularity.

Smokehead’s new, attention grabbing advertisement will feature heavily in Classic Rock and its sister publication, Prog Rock, throughout 2010. Designed by creative agency Robertson Darby Advertising, the new campaign takes its lead from Smokehead’s award-winning packaging, cocooning a skull, the time-honoured symbol of rock, with adjectives capturing the Single Malt’s boisterous, outrageous, and deep peaty flavours.

As the Whisky of Choice for Classic Rock magazine, Smokehead will command a high presence in the monthly music publication and its website, through an extensive advertising campaign and sponsorship elements such as the Readers’ Letters page and regular promotions.

Smokehead is also now an official VIP sponsor for one of this year’s biggest rock events, London’s High Voltage Festival (24-25 July) and the hugely popular Classic Rock Roll of Honour 2010 Awards in November, attended by, and celebrating, rocks greatest icons.

Iain Weir, Marketing Director for Ian Macleod Distillers commented: “Combining its adventurous and modern packaging, with a rich rollercoaster of challenging flavours, Smokehead defies conformity and what people would traditionally expect from an award-winning Single Malt Whisky. Smokehead is powerful, intense and not for the faint hearted. The perfect match for a Classic Rock lover.”

Angus Robertson, Managing Director of Robertson Darby Advertising commented: “Our latest treatment for the Smokehead brand was created with Classic Rock Magazine very much in mind. Inspired by the powerful imagery of rock album covers, it uses Smokehead’s stunning typographical packaging to deliver a haunting and lasting impact.”

Taking place at London’s Victoria Park, High Voltage will be attended by thousands of hard core rockers, with the perfect combination of “Smoke and Coke” over ice, being served to VIP ticket holders and headline acts such as Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Wishbone Ash and ZZ Top.

2010 will be the second year Smokehead has sponsored the Classic Rock Roll of Honour. Attended last year by the likes of Brian May, Slash, Billy Gibbons and Jeff Beck, the 2010 awards are already shaping up to be even bigger. Smokehead will once again be served to rock royalty, with special bottle presentations of the award-winning 18 Years Old Smokehead Extra Black to the evening’s winners.

Described as being like a cannonball, Smokehead is an explosive combination of peat, smoke and spice with some delicate sweetness. The single malt flavour is described as fresh, fruity and immense, with notes of sherry, iodine, toffee, smoke and sea salt. The taste hits the palate at once with cocoa, peat and some honey sweetness, before exploding with peppery spice and more earthy peat.

Smokehead is widely available throughout the UK and worldwide, RRP £31.99. Details of stockists, including Sainsbury’s can be found on the website

Article Courtesy of Press Release

Press Release

08 Jun

Whisky firm toasts near doubling of profits

Export markets boost Macleod

ONE of the largest independent family companies in the UK spirit industry revealed yesterday that annual profits had nearly doubled.

Ian Macleod Distillers said the pre-tax figure for the year to the end of September was £3.1million, compared with £1.58million the year before.

Group turnover also rose, by nearly £4million, to £26.46million.

Broxburn-based Macleod’s profits after tax jumped by 90% to £2.2million.

The company said this significant increase was because of increased volume and margin throughout the year, arising from effective long-term management of its portfolio of brands.

The turnover rise was attributed to more sales to export markets, in particular three-year-old blends in the Middle and Far East, with improved performance of premium brands in Europe.

During 2009, Macleod invested in Norwegian spirit distribution company Cask Owners and now has a 34% share. It said this new venture allowed it to be involved more directly in the Scandinavian marketplace and grow spirit sales by being closer to the buyers in those markets.

Managing director Leonard Russell said: “We started life as whisky brokers, moving into bottling and distributing in the UK then took a major step with the purchase of Glengoyne Distillery (near Loch Lomond) in 2003 to become a single malt distiller. We are continuing the evolution of the company by extending its capability and reach into export markets.”

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

Press & Journal

07 Jun

Whisky boss plots growth as plant takeover draws closer

Whisky entrepreneur Billy Walker has told The Herald that when his niche BenRiach Distillery Company takes ownership of Chivas Brothers’ Newbridge bottling plant next month, it will drive his turnover to close to £20 million within the first year and provide a new base from which to expand headcount and global markets.

The acquisition, which is scheduled to be completed on July 31, also marks a previously undisclosed £6m investment by the company to increase the sales volume of its BenRiach and GlenDronach ranges of single malts via the Midlothian bottling plant, and it will also allow the company to push deeper in African markets with its blended brands.

Walker, the former operations director at East Kilbride distiller Burn Stewart who acquired the Elgin-based BenRiach distillery from French giant Pernod Ricard in 2004, said about 35% of the cost of the new plant had been raised from shareholders, with the remainder coming from bank debt.

He said: “This acquisition signals that it is time for us to take ownership of our future. It will push our turnover up by £4m to around £19m within the first year.

“But just as importantly, it will allow us to increase our focus on blended whisky.

“We have a couple of blended whiskies, one which is called Clan Murray, and that is performing very well in Africa.

“We’re interested in markets that the bigger players have not really penetrated – this is fertile ground for us.”

Walker told The Herald he had approached Chivas to buy the plant where his whiskies are already bottled to give the Larbert-based company “extra flexibility”.

He continued: “We’re not interested in competing with the multinationals and, even in this country, we won’t engage with the multi-retailers.

“We’re not for sale in Tesco, for example. That’s how we protect our prices. We love places like the Whisky Shop and even Oddbins.

“So far, that strategy seems to be working. As a small independent whisky company, we’re still waiting for the recession to begin.”

Earlier this year, the Scotch Whisky Association reported that an impressive performance across the sector in the second half of 2009 had contributed to record-breaking levels of global exports for Scotch whisky at the end of 2009.

Exports have risen by £977m in shipment value over the last 10 years, representing a 45% increase.

Walker’s BenRiach Distillery Company, with the help of its “two very entrepreneurial shareholders” in South Africa, acquired GlenDronach distillery, in Forgue, Aberdeenshire, in August 2008.

The company last week said major drives by Systembolaget, the Swedish alcohol monopoly, as well as Oddbins and Carrefour, had boosted the sales of GlenDronach’s new core range in the first 12 months on the market. Since being launched last spring, the Aberdeenshire distillery’s new range of single malts has sold some 25,000 cases across the world, yielding extra sales of some £2.4m.

Walker explained to The Herald: “Sweden is now one of our most prosperous markets, and it’s partly due to the GlenDronach 15- year-old ‘Revival’ being listed by Systembolaget.”

The company’s core BenRiach range, which is sold around the world, has been increasing its presence across the Atlantic in the US, and is also pushing into emerging markets in China, India and Vietnam.

Meanwhile, Walker said the newly acquired bottling plant will retain 27 of the 103 people employed by Chivas, with the rest offered jobs elsewhere in the Chivas operation.

BenRiach Distillery Company received a £600,000 Regional Selective Assistance grant related to employment and capital investment plans for the plant.

Walker concluded: “The previous owners, Chivas, were absolutely insistent that we retain as many of the staff as possible. But on top of the 27 people we’re taking on, we plan to hire an extra 10 full-time staff at the plant and a further 10 part-time staff. We also expect that within about eight months, those 10 part-time staff will become full-time.

“As a company, we don’t like the idea of part-time staff. We want people who are eager and committed to the business.”

Article Courtesy of The Scottish Herald

The Scottish Herald

05 Jun

Whisky companies target Taiwan market

Two whisky companies are partnering up to increase malt sales in Taiwan.

Burn Stewart Distillers and Whyte & Mackay have agreed to jointly promote single malt brands such as Bunnahabhain, Deanston, Tobermory, The Dalmore and Jura.

Having been in the country since 1994, Burn Stewart already has 35 staff there covering on and off trade. In recent years it has seen rising demand for single malt and has plans to introduce its whole range in Taiwan throughout 2010.

Andy Calder, sales director, said: "We look forward to our partnership with Whyte & Mackay in Taiwan, and welcomingThe Dalmore and Jura brands.

"As we continue to build upon our existing malt portfolio in the region, they add further interest and relevance to our own single malt portfolio of Bunnahabhain, Tobermory, Ledaig and Deanston."

Nick Garland, Whyte & Mackay's global sales and marketing director, said: "Our luxury and premium brands are well placed to succeed in this dynamic market place, and we need a partner that is well established inTaiwan to help us to realise the potential that The Dalmore and Jura undoubtedly have. "We have found that Burn Stewart is a like-minded company who believe that dedication, innovation and an unrivalled passion for malt whisky are the qualities that appeal to the discerning consumers in Taiwan."

Scotch whisky accounts for more than 75 per cent of spirit sales in Taiwan every year. Burn Stewart spends more than £2.5million on marketing in the country every year.

Article Courtesy of Business 7

Business 7

04 Jun

Royal opening for £10m Glenlivet whisky expansion

A new £10m expansion of the Glenlivet Distillery in Speyside is set to be opened by the Duke and Duchess of Rothesay.

Chivas Brothers said the investment represented a 75% increase in production capacity.

The move is aimed at capitalising on "buoyant international markets".

The Glenlivet Visitor Centre will reopen on Saturday to allow members of the public to see inside the extended distillery.

Article Courtesy of BBCi


03 Jun

The peatiest Ardbeg ever

Ardbeg – the iconic malt whisky distillery on the remote island of Islay – has launched the second edition of its award-winning single malt Supernova, described by the company as “the peatiest Ardbeg ever”.

A preview bottling of the first edition sold out last year in a record 112 minutes when it was offered for sale online – making it the fastest-selling whisky in the distillery’s 195-year history.

It was snapped up online in an exclusive offer to members of the Ardbeg committee, a group of 53,000 Ardbeg fans across 112 countries.

The second edition – Ardbeg SN2010 – challenges the palate with the same phenomenal levels of peatiness, but with a higher strength at 60.1% ABV and a deeper, earthier character. This second limited-edition release is at least 40% more “peaty” than the distillery’s renowned and already very heavily peated flagship – Ardbeg Ten Years Old.

The 2009 edition of Ardbeg Supernova – which takes its name from the “galactic explosion” as stars end their lives – was awarded the prestigious accolade of “Best Scotch Whisky of the Year” in Jim Murray’s latest Whisky Bible.

Hamish Torrie, brand director at Ardbeg, said: “With its hot, sizzling and grainy sensations that effervesce and explode on the tongue, followed by a powerful peaty punch, this is truly yet another galactic explosion of aromas. Limited supplies of Ardbeg SN2010 coupled with last year’s record sellout means we are anticipating it may not be available for long.”

Dr Bill Lumsden, head of distilling and whisky creation, commented: “We believe that, with Ardbeg SN2010, we have created a compelling whisky which will again both delight and challenge those looking for an ‘out-of-this-world’ whisky experience. The intensity of flavours is Ardbeg at its most powerful and peaty and yet we have that delightful layered, sweet complexity that makes Ardbeg such a sensational dram.”

Ardbeg SN2010 will be available in limited quantities online at and at specialist whisky shops at a price of around £80 in the UK.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

Press & Journal

03 Jun

Taste of Gold for Smokehead Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky

SMOKEHEAD, Ian Macleod Distillers’ Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky, has been awarded an International Review of Spirits’ Gold Medal by the highly respected Beverage Testing Institute (BTI).

Judged by an expert panel from BTI in the institution’s Chicago Tasting Room, Smokehead was awarded an ‘Exceptional’ rating of 91/100 for its explosive, peaty flavours. With the appearance of ‘bright old gold’, the panel commented on the Single Malt’s ‘aromas of honeyed raisin scone, dried peaches and medical tinctures with a hint of cedar and mesquite-like smokiness’. The BTI also enjoyed Smokehead’s ‘good depth and lingering body’ with ‘subtly complex and earthy smoked wood, leather and a prairie grass driven finish’.

Iain Weir, Marketing Director for Ian Macleod Distillers, commented; “We are delighted that Smokehead’s boisterous and peaty taste has been recognised by such an internationally respected institution as the BTI. Combining its high quality and unique flavours with the product’s standout designer packaging, Smokehead has proved a great success, especially in attracting the discerning and adventurous ‘modern drinker’.”

The International Review of Spirits’ Gold Medal for Smokehead’s rich and complex flavours, follows two Gold Medals from BTI in the 2009 International Review of Spirits Packaging Competition. These recognised the brand’s innovative, bold and modern packaging in the Creativity and Graphic Design categories.

Since launching in 2006, Smokehead Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky has won a number of awards for both its eye-catching packaging and balanced, seaweedy flavours, including the Scottish Field Whisky Challenge Gold Medal and Wine & Spirits Design Awards for Best Dark Spirit and the overall Trophy for Design of the Year.

Other products in the range include the Smokehead Extra Rare 1 litre bottle (Travel Retail Exclusive) and the premium 18 Years Old Smokehead Extra Black.

Founded in 1981, the BTI is one of the world’s foremost authorities on alcoholic beverages, independently reviewing thousands of wines, beers and spirits every year. With a mission to create fair and reliable reviews for consumers, its buying guides have appeared in many publications including The New Yorker Magazine, Wine & Spirits International, CNBC, BBC Radio International and The Chicago Tribune.

Described as being like a cannonball, Smokehead is an explosive combination of peat, smoke and spice with some delicate sweetness. The single malt flavour is described as fresh, fruity and immense, with notes of sherry, iodine, toffee, smoke and sea salt. The taste hits the palate at once with cocoa, peat and some honey sweetness, before exploding with peppery spice and more earthy peat.

Smokehead is available in the USA, Canada and worldwide. Details of some global stockists can be found on the website

Article Courtesy of Press Release

Press Release

02 Jun

Whisky firm given approval for warehouses

Snow-damaged chivas regal buildings to be replaced

A whisky giant’s application to replace 31 snow-damaged bonded warehouses was approved by Moray Council yesterday.

French company Perno Ricard will build 29 new, 125ft buildings at its brand Chivas Regal’s 120-acre maturation site at Malcolmburn, Mulben, and two warehouses at Alexandra Road, Keith.

Roofs of the existing buildings collapsed under the weight of snow in January.

Committee vice-chairman John Russell said it was a major economic investment to rebuild 31 bonded warehouses.

“This will allow the Chivas Brand to continue its valued contribution to Moray’s flagship whisky industry,” he added.

The company will build each new warehouse structure six feet from the existing walls of the damaged warehouse.

The old building will be removed when the new warehouse is built.

The whisky firm must record “before and after” condition video surveys of the delivery route and surrounding minor roads, which will be used by construction lorries.

Any damage to the roads or verges must be repaired.

A dilapidation survey must also be carried out on the Dalmany Bridge and the Mulben Railway Bridge before construction begins and again when it ends.

Any damage must be repaired by the whisky company. A traffic plan will be submitted to Moray Council detailing methods that will be used to deal with large delivery vehicles.

Chivas Brothers were not in a position to comment on when the development would start and how long it was likely to take to complete.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

Press & Journal

01 Jun

Celebrated photography on show at Elgin

Display features images entered for Benromach Spirit of Speyside competition

CELEBRATED photography from the Spirit of Speyside Festival is on show at Elgin Library.

The display features 22 of the best images entered for the Benromach Spirit of Speyside photographic competition.

Community librarian Jane Thomas said: “The exhibition has been very busy. The photographs reflect Moray’s diversity and wealth of natural landscape. They are quite small pieces and many have been done by landscape photographers.”

A total of 144 entries were received for this year’s competition, sponsored by leading malt whisky specialists Gordon and MacPhail in memory of local photographer Heather Urquhart.

The photographs were submitted under three categories – seasons of Speyside, spirit of Speyside and people of Speyside. The overall winner was David Langan, of Branderburgh Quay, Lossiemouth, who also won last year. The winning photo was an image of the Lossiemouth harbour called Breakwater.

The exhibition has been displayed at the Scottish Parliament and Scotch Whisky Centre in Edinburgh. The artwork will be on show at Buckie Library from Monday.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

Press & Journal
May 2010 Scotch Whisky News

31 May

Whisky is toast of the nation as big earner

Moray distilleries play part in supporting 35,000 Scots jobs

The importance of Moray and Speyside’s whisky industry to the Scottish economy has been highlighted in a new report that shows the sector helps support 35,000 jobs north of the border and is as significant as tourism.

A leading local figure in the industry welcomed the report last night and said it would send an important message to the new coalition government at Westminster.

The joint managing director of Elgin-based Gordon and MacPhail, Michael Urquhart, said: “The whisky industry is integral to many smaller villages in this rural area.

“We are probably talking about more than 1,000 people directly employed in the Moray and Speyside areas.”

Mr Urquhart said whisky distilleries also gave a valuable boost to the local economy through the large number of visitors they attracted.

He added: “It is important for our politicians to understand how important the whisky industry is to Scotland, especially in smaller rural areas where it is the main employer.

“The UK excise tax is in need of review and our politicians have to come up with something fit for purpose.”

Gordon and MacPhail has Benromach distillery at Forres.

The study, commissioned by the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA), found that, excluding oil and gas, the drink was Scotland’s leading manufactured export.

Overseas exports were worth more than £3billion in 2008.

The SWA also used the publication of the report as an opportunity to criticise the current UK alcohol taxation regime.

About 10,300 people are employed directly by the whisky industry in Scotland, up from 9,600 in 2000.

Just over 51% of employment is in Strathclyde, followed by 16.9% in Central and Fife, 13.6% in Grampian, 11% in Lothian and 4.9% in Highland.

The study also claimed that productivity, at £262,000 per employee, was six times the Scottish average.

Whisky producers’ annual spending with Scottish suppliers increased by 61% between 2000 and 2008 to £1.1billion.

This figure includes £200million on cereals and £300million on goods such as bottles and packaging.

SWA chief executive Gavin Hewitt said: “Scotch whisky’s importance to Scotland is clear. The study confirms Scotch whisky is a cornerstone of the Scottish economy, supporting 35,000 jobs and generating around £4billion in added value.

“That economic impact benefits every corner of Scotland, with distillers spending over £1billion across the supply chain.

“The new UK Government wants to support manufacturing and exporters, and build a fairer tax system.

“It could combine all three objectives by reforming an unfair duty regime which undermines the competitiveness of the Scotch whisky industry.

“The alcohol duty structure is no longer fit for purpose, discriminating against Scotch whisky at home and sending out the wrong message overseas.”

He said his association was pleased the coalition UK Government had announced it would review alcohol taxation.

“The aim must be to put in place a fairer and more socially responsible regime where all alcohol is taxed according to content,” Mr Hewitt said.

“With the right support, the Scotch whisky industry can deliver even more to communities across Scotland.”

The study was carried out by Verso Economics.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

Press & Journal

26 May

Glendronach spirits soar at home and abroad

BEING sold by the Swedish alcohol monopoly, Oddbins and Carrefour has boosted the sales of GlenDronach’s new core range in the first twelve months, it announced today (May 25).

Since being launched last spring, the Aberdeenshire distillery’s new range of single malts has sold some 25,000 cases worldwide, yielding extra sales of some £2.4 million.

Regional Sales Director Alistair Walker said: “When we launched the range last year, we promised our customers “A Journey of Re-Discovery”. From the terrific sales we’ve generated, it’s clear they're thoroughly enjoying their journey!”

Established in 1826, the GlenDronach Distillery at Forgue is famous for producing richly-sherried single malt whiskies. This time last year saw the re-launch of the already popular 12 year-old Original as well as the return of the iconic older expressions - the GlenDronach 15 and 18 year-olds, now under the new names of Revival and Allardice respectively.

Alistair said GlenDronach has acquired a strong new following in a number of markets including the USA, France, Belgium, Scandinavia and Taiwan.

“Sweden is now one of our most prosperous markets, and it's partly due to the GlenDronach 15 year-old (‘Revival’) being listed by Systembolaget, the Swedish alcohol retail monopoly.”

He explained: “Systembolaget’s product range is very comprehensive and, significantly, is developed continuously to match changes in trends and in consumers' tastes.

“To be accepted by the monopoly is a real feather in our cap, as it shows they see us as one of Scotland’s outstanding malt whiskies. It also provides the GlenDronach 15 year-old expression with national distribution in a country that is home to many of the most passionate malt enthusiasts in the world.

“And looking at the UK market, we’re also delighted to be on sale in Oddbins now, again with GlenDronach 15 year-old as well as a couple of expressions from BenRiach, our other distillery. That development shows that persistence pays – they’ve been on our radar for a number of years and now we’re available in-store and online.

“In fact Revival is one of our star performers in the last twelve months. It’s a classic GlenDronach, a very dynamic and full-bodied dram. It has all the characteristics you would expect from really good Oloroso sherry casks – dark chocolate, raisins, coffee and orange notes.”

In addition to Sweden and the UK, the distillery recently made some significant advances in France, having developed an exclusive GlenDronach expression called ‘Octarine’ (‘the colour of magic’) for multiple retailer Carrefour.

Regional Sales Director James Cowan commented: “Together with our French agents, La Maison du Whisky, Octarine has been developed as an exclusive regional listing within the world-renowned Carrefour Group. We see this as a significant milestone in the ongoing re-launch of the GlenDronach brand.

“Globally, the brand growth is still in its early phase but this major retailer has clearly seen the unique selling points and fine brand heritage that GlenDronach has to offer. This will undoubtedly pave the way for bigger and better things in the months to come.

“The Octarine project was made feasible through rigorous and exacting cask selection drawn from the diverse inventory carried on-site at the distillery. We are excited and eager to continue our portfolio development which will appeal to our growing client base.”

The team at GlenDronach sees 2010 as another big year for the brand, as Alistair explained: “Each year represents an important step in re-establishing the GlenDronach brand. In 2008 we took over the distillery and started to get to grips with the stock and the distillery production.”

“In 2009 we enhanced the core range, revising the12 year-old and introducing the 15 and 18 year-old expressions. We also released our first batch of single casks bottlings, to much excitement, as these had been few and far between under previous regimes.

“This year we may surprise some of the GlenDronach faithful, with the imminent release of four new bottlings that are not exactly typical of the distillery.”

Almost from the very first day that the BenRiach Distillery Co. purchased GlenDronach, Master Distiller and Managing Director Billy Walker embarked on a programme of wood management and experimentation that would allow the company to bring some real diversity to the GlenDronach portfolio.

The result is that this June will see the launch of a series of GlenDronach wood finishes – Sauternes, Virgin Oak, Moscatel and Tawny Port.

Alistair explained: “To any malt drinkers who are familiar with what we have done at BenRiach over the last six years, it will come as no surprise that Billy has been tinkering away in the GlenDronach warehouses to come up with some new creations!

“But, seriously, while the focus will always be on sherry cask maturation for GlenDronach, it’s worth seeing what else the whisky is capable of, and for sure our customers have reacted positively to news that we are broadening this whisky’s horizons.

“So, along with the new 31 year-old ‘Grandeur’, which we launched earlier this year, and with the second and third batches of single casks scheduled to be released in 2010, it’s going to be a busy year for GlenDronach!”

Article Courtesy of Press Release

Press Release

24 May

Scotch distillery turns whisky into watts

Creating renewable energy from whisky might sound like a harebrained scheme conceived at the end of a long evening drinking the amber nectar.

But an independently-owned Scottish distillery is hoping that the installation of a new biogas generator will prove to be a lasting moment of environmental clarity and help solve their energy problems.

This month, Bruichladdich -- one of eight distilleries to be found on the Scottish isle of Islay -- will take delivery of an anaerobic digester which will start turning their whisky waste into electricity.

Mark Reynier, owner of Bruichladdich Distillery, hopes the digester will meet around 80 percent of its electricity needs and save the company up to £120,000 ($175,000) every year.

Reynier told CNN: "Our waste product is basically water left over after you've stripped all the alcohol out. It's called, rather unromantically, pot ale."

Every year, several hundred thousand liters of pot ale waste are taken away by a tanker and poured down a pipeline that feeds it into the Sound of Islay off the eastern coast of the island.

Its disposal is a costly business (in the region of $30,000 annually) and allied to rising energy costs it has forced the distillery to rethink how it sources its energy.

"We've looked at biomass and green energies and dismissed them one by one as being completely impractical and uneconomic for an industrial purpose," Reynier said.

"But one thing we can do is use this proven technology and generate biogas."

Anaerobic digestion occurs when natural food stuffs decompose in the absence of oxygen. The end product of this process creates methane which Reynier says will be fed into the generator and converted into green electricity. The only by-product is water.

There has been a distillery at Bruichladdich (pronounced "Brook-Laddie") on the shores of Loch Indaal since 188, and when Reynier took on the business in 2000 he wanted to return it to its "artisan" roots.

"We wanted to take it back to distilling as it used to be," he said.

So that means no coloring, no chill-filtering and all bottling is done on-site. Furthermore, 40 percent of the 2,500 tons of locally grown barley used last year was organic.

Bruichladdich say they produce Scotland's purest single malt using, where possible, original 19th century equipment. In 2009, they distilled 800,000 liters of whisky.

If the biogas trial proves a success, the pot ale that was pumped into the sea on a daily basis will instead be continuously fed into the digester creating something of a virtuous production circle.

But Reynier says transforming the distillery isn't about being "some sort of eco-warrior" but rather about just trying to be sensible.

"We are practical people -- you have to be on an island like this," he said.

It's a sentiment that is widely shared among the wider Scotch whisky industry according to David Williamson, a spokesman for the Scotch Whisky Association.

"It's already a very green industry and we rely on the Scottish environment for our product," Williamson told CNN.

"Biowaste is something that is at the heart of the industry's plan to become as sustainable as possible."

Article Courtesy of

20 May

Annandale whisky to flow after 90-year gap

Plans have been approved to reopen a whisky distillery in southern Scotland which closed more than 90 years ago.

The Annandale Distillery ceased production in 1919 and the area was turned over to farming use.

However, a £4m project has now been granted the green light to start the distilling process once again.

The Scottish Whisky Association said that with only five distilleries in the lowland region it would be a "very welcome addition".

It said a new distillery could bring sustainable benefits to the local economy in terms of both employment and tourism.

The plans also include proposals for a visitor centre, shop and cafe or restaurant.

It hopes to attract about 25,000 people every year once it is fully operational.

The scheme was approved by Dumfries and Galloway Council's Annandale area committee when it met on Wednesday.

It received Scottish government support two years ago with a Regional Selective Assistance (RSA) grant of £150,000.

Enterprise Minister Jim Mather said at the time he hoped the funding would help in "resurrecting whisky production" in Annandale.

Article Courtesy of BBCi


19 May

William Grant & Sons Won Its Next High Award

Distillery William Grant & Sons got the highest awards following the results of SCOTCH WHISKY MASTERS competition.

World famous independent family company William Grant & Sons, specializing in premium alcoholic products, was awarded the highest prize Masters for single-malt scotch whisky Glenfiddich and The Balvenie following the results of prestigious competiton Scotch Whisky Masters, started by The Spirit Business.

William Grant & Sons won 15 medals altogether, 7 gold medals were awarded to whisky Glenfiddich Rich Oak 14 Year Old and The Balvenie Signature 12 Year Old. An impressive number of medals confirmed the excellence of William Grant & Sons in the area of whisky production and production quality.

Besides the prize Scotch Whisky Masters, the company won the title “World’s Best Distillery of the Year” at the end of the international competition of wines and hard alcohol, and whisky Glenfiddich received more awards for alcohol quality than any other single-malt scotch whisky.

Article Courtesy of

18 May

Chivas Regal-branded Makeover for Martinez Hotel in Cannes

London-based design and branding agency Coley Porter Bell has given the bar of the exclusive Martinez Hotel in Cannes, a Chivas Regal-branded make over for this year’s film and design festivals.

The premium whisky brand has signed a two year sponsorship deal with the hotel that charges up to 6,000 a night, to promote its luxury credentials.

CPB has revamped the bar which is frequented by many of the most famous film stars and celebrities in the world, with Chivas Regal brand icons. The redesign employs elements from the ‘Brand World’ that CPB and Chivas have developed. (‘Brand World’ is part of an ongoing drive to ensure the Chivas brand’s positioning is brought to life visually and consistently throughout the world).

CPB has created muted but glamorous branding and wall coverings in black on black using elements of the Chivas brand. The company also enhanced the lighting in the bar using amber coloured accent lights, (reflecting the colour of the product) around the bar itself, the bar shelving and the walls of the bar.

In addition the product will be displayed as a focal point behind the bar and plinths either side of the bar will display Chivas Regal 12 and a limited edition bottle designed by Christian Lacroix. Chivas images are displayed on the walls of the bar in luxurious gold frames.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for Chivas to build and extend its glamorous reputation in such exclusive surroundings”, said Ana Claudia Saba, global senior brand manager at Chivas Brothers.

“Although in many ways it was a dream brief for CPB, it was a challenging design problem requiring the agency to strike a delicate balance between the need for branding and discrete luxury”, said Simon Adamson design director at Coley Porter Bell who also acts as global creative director at Chivas Brothers.“The brand’s positioning is cool, sophisticated and luxurious. We had to capture this spirit and ensure that it feels part of the glitterati life style.”

Article Courtesy of

17 May

The Scotch Malt Whisky Society of America Introduces New Membership Benefits

The Scotch Malt Whisky Society of America (SMWSA) today announced its new Membership Program. Membership in this unique whisky Society now comes with added benefits. Membership is a must for those serious about their whisky. From the novice to the most sophisticated connoisseur, it is a perfect gift for Father’s Day or any other day.

The Scotch Malt Whisky Society was founded in 1983. The Society’s Tasting Panel, a group of independent whisky connoisseurs and experts, meets regularly to nose, discuss and score each whisky sample brought before them. Rigorous and impartial, the Panel only elects to bottle whisky that meets its highest standards. Individual casks are bottled at cask strength. Undiluted and not chill filtered, these bottles are offered exclusively to members and cannot be purchased commercially either in liquor stores or restaurants. Since no two casks are alike and each cask yields only about 250 bottles, once the contents of a cask are consumed, the distinctive flavor and character of its whisky can never be replicated.

The new Membership Program begins with the Society’s exquisite membership kit, which contains four carefully selected 100ml single cask, single malt Society offerings. Chosen by some of the most knowledgeable whisky experts in the world, these four whiskies are just a taste of the finest and widest range of single cask, single malt whiskies to be found anywhere and are only available to Society members. The membership kit also contains an elegant Members’ Handbook, Society Notebook and copper lapel pin.

The membership kit is only the start of member benefits. Members, and up to three guests, will receive a warm welcome at Members’ Rooms in Leith, Edinburgh and London as well as the opportunity to stay at the original home of the Society in one of its flats at The Vaults in Leith. Members also receive Unfiltered, the Society’s innovative and informative magazine which contains a wealth of information and news about Scotch malt whisky, the people who make it and those who drink it. In addition, members are invited to one-of-a-kind events throughout the United States including Members’ Tastings and The Single Malt & Scotch Whisky Extravaganza®.

Of course, the biggest benefit of all is that members have exclusive access to the largest selection of single cask, single malt in the world.

Alan Shayne, president of The Scotch Malt Whisky Society of America, Ltd. said: “Within the whisky category, single cask, single malt whisky offers the widest variety of flavor available. The type of wood, how many times the cask has been used, where in the warehouse the cask is stored, how long the whisky is aged—all these factors and more go into making each cask a unique work of art. Tasting single cask, single malt whisky is a constant adventure.”

For those experts and devotees who wish to learn more about the pleasures of The Scotch Malt Whisky Society, visit

The initial fee for membership in the Society is $229 which entitles the member to all benefits for the first year, and includes the beautiful Society membership kit with four 100ml single cask, single malt Society offerings. Annual membership dues thereafter are $60 and entitle members to all benefits of the Society including access to the special offerings of the Society’s whiskies throughout the year.

About The Scotch Malt Whisky Society

In the mid-‘70s, a group of friends in Edinburgh gathered to sample and savor single malt whisky, drawn straight from the cask. The friends filtered the cask’s contents through muslin and poured the liquid into old whisky bottles. To their delight, they discovered that single cask whisky had more character and flavor than the whisky they routinely knew. Also, the influence of the wood was immediately and abundantly clear. The group went on to compare and contrast more single malt whiskies. The amazing revelation was that even casks that had been filled with the same spirit, from the same still run, revealed their own unique characteristics. The group realized that the spirit in each cask was one of a kind and could never be repeated. Once the contents of a cask were consumed, the unique whisky would be gone from the world forever.

The Scotch Malt Whisky Society was formally founded in Leith in 1983. The Scotch Malt Whisky Society offers its members exclusively the widest selection of single cask, single malt whisky found anywhere in the world. The Society has now grown to 13 international branches, reflecting its worldwide following.

In 1993, Alan and Madeleine Shayne launched The Scotch Malt Whisky Society of America, Ltd., which now has members in every state. Their goal was to introduce Americans to the world of single cask, single malts and raise awareness of the amazing variety and expressions available in the category of Scotch whisky. Many years ago, their family owned one of the premier distilleries in Scotland. Today, they have brought a rare opportunity to members of the SMWSA.

Article Courtesy of Press Release

Press Release

15 May

Lifeboat crew display great bottle over whisky delivery

Loch Ness Tasting festival flows after key arrival

LOCH Ness lifeboat crew pushed the boat out yesterday to deliver a batch of whisky for a tasting festival at Drumnadrochit.

Volunteer rescuers staged a safety demonstration before providing the key element of the first Loch Ness Whisky Festival – bottles of Talisker.

The festival, which also takes place today, has been organised by the award-winning Fiddler’s Restaurant and Whisky Bar at Drumnadrochit, and includes a series of tastings, tours and cruises.

Last night saw a group take part in a tasting led by John Macdonald of Balblair Distillery.

Today there is a tour of Glen Ord Distillery, and a cruise to Urquhart Castle with a tasting of Tomatin. Fiddler’s will also host an open tasting session this afternoon.

Restaurant owner Jon Beach said the festival had been organised as an annual fundraiser for the bar’s whisky club, the Loch Ness Whisky Parliament, and the public.

He said that several old bottles would feature during the weekend.

Mr Beach said: “We have a Balblair from 1973, which is highly scored, and a bottle of Glen Ord’s Manager’s Choice, which is £200 a bottle.”

He added there would also be the chance to sample whisky from the new Lewis distillery, Abhainn Dearg.

Last night’s event will raise cash for equipment and training of volunteers at the Loch Ness lifeboat stations, and proceeds from other events will go to the MacMillan Unit at Raigmore Hospital, Inverness.

Information and timings of events can be found on Fiddler’s website at or by phoning 01456 450678.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

Press & Journal

15 May

'Whisky Live' is Coming to Singapore

The first time in Southeast Asia for the world's biggest whisky festival

What is Whisky Live?
Whisky Live is the whisky tasting and sampling event of the year, celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2010.

Regularly held in global cities like London, Paris, Tokyo and New York, Whisky Live appeals to everyone who likes a dram or two of 'the water of life'. Whether they are whisky enthusiasts or whisky novices; whether they are industry players and social drinkers; Whisky Live delivers the ultimate whisky experience.

More than just an industry networking opportunity, Whisky Live gives the public a unique opportunity to sample some of the world's best and rarest whiskies. Participants can learn about the world of whisky, sample some rare and highly-sought after whiskies and rub shoulders with the stars of the industry, all under one roof.

First Time in Southeast Asia
Whisky Live Singapore puts our island nation on the map as the regional leader for whisky events.

From London to Tokyo, Paris to Glasgow, New York to Cape Town, Whisky Live now makes its inaugural voyage into Southeast Asia, right here in Singapore. Hot on the heels of Whisky Live Shanghai,

The Event
Whisky Live Singapore will be hosted at Singapore's world renowned Raffles Hotel in the Bar and Billiard Room. Each host city gives the event its own local flavour, while providing great insight into this greatest of spirits. With food, tastings, whisky 'masterclasses' and much more, Whisky Live is an entertaining and educational day out, and a memorable experience.

La Maison du Whisky is the organiser of Whisky Live Singapore. Mr Emmanuel Dron, Manager of La Maison du Whisky in Singapore, sees the event as a big step forward for whisky in Southeast Asia.

"A vast range of whiskies are available on the world market and even right here in Singapore. A lot of people are familiar with a few well-marketed whisky brands, but Whisky Live will give them the opportunity to discover many more, and perhaps even discover a 'new love'," shares Mr Dron.

Brands on display at Whisky Live Singapore will include Aberfeldy, Ardbeg, Benromach, Bowmore, Bunnahabhain, Dewars, Glendronach, Glenmorangie, Gordon & Macphail, Johnnie Walker and Nikka.

Whisky Live will be held on Monday the 24th of May in the Bar and Billiard Room of the Raffles Hotel. With industry focussed sessions from 1.00pm until 6.00pm, the general public will be welcomed from 7.00pm onwards.

Tickets are available from Sistic and from La Maison du Whisky at Robertson Quay for S$75 plus booking fees. More information is available at:

La Maison du Whisky
Whisky Live is being brought to Singapore by La Maison du Whisky, a world-wide whisky franchise with a retail outlet in Robertson Quay. Under local manager Mr Emmanuel Dron, La Maison du Whisky has been quietly providing fine whisky to tourists and local aficionados, while supplying whisky to many of Singapore's bars, hotels and restaurants.

Article Courtesy of Press Release

Press Release

10 May

Scotch whisky doubles exports to Brazil

The Scotch Whisky Association has confirmed a 56% increase in exports of Scotch whisky to Brazil.

An extra 14.8 million bottles of Scotch whisky were exported to Brazil compared to 2008 - the country now accounts for nearly 4% of its global exports.

Building on this growth, Scotch Whisky Association officials will visit São Paulo this week to promote new rules that govern every aspect of the making, packaging and advertising.

The new law protects the authenticity of Scotch whisky from copycat products and ensures consumers always receive clear information on labels about what they are buying.

Gavin Hewitt, chief executive of The Scotch Whisky Association, said: "We are delighted to visit Brazil, which is fast emerging as one of Scotch whisky's most dynamic and important export markets. Growth of 56% last year demonstrated that more and more Brazilian consumers are choosing to enjoy Scotch whisky."

Article Courtesy of Harpers


08 May

First Loch Ness Whisky Festival promises to be a monster success

First tasting session will take place with iconic castle backdrop

The first Loch Ness Whisky Festival kicks off at a tasting session on the world-famous waters, with the dramatic Urquhart Castle as a backdrop.

The award-winning Fiddler’s Restaurant and Whisky Bar, Drumnadrochit, will host a series of events on Friday and Saturday, May 14 and 15, with tastings, tours and cruises.

Funds raised during the Talisker/RNLI Whisky Cruise will go towards equipment and training of the local volunteers at Loch Ness Lifeboat Station near Drumnadrochit.

Crew from Loch Ness, the newest RNLI station in Scotland, will provide a key element of the tasting when they deliver whisky bottles after completing a rescue and safety demonstration.

Loch Ness RNLI lifeboat operations manager Ewan Cameron said: “We are thrilled that, once again, The Fiddler’s, Drumnadrochit, have chosen to support their local RNLI volunteers.

“We are also grateful to Talisker for their support. They have been helping the RNLI for over three years in various ways, raising over £60,000 each year for our lifesaving service.”

The two-day festival will feature whisky from Talisker, Balblair, Glen Ord, Tomatin and many others.

Jon and Dick Beach from Fiddler’s will be on hand to add their own particular “note” to the tastings. Money raised during the event will also benefit the MacMillan unit at Raigmore Hospital in Inverness.

Information and timings of each of the events can be found on the Fiddler’s website at or by phoning 01456 450678. Fiddler’s is situated on Drumnadrochit’s village green.

The RNLI said while they hope everyone enjoys the event, anyone going afloat or undertaking water-borne pursuits should act responsibly and not consume alcohol.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

Press & Journal

07 May

Rare 1937 malt set to fetch up to £20,000

Bottle is first to appear at auction

A 73-YEAR-OLD bottle of Speyside whisky is expected to fetch up to £20,000 at auction next month

The “exceptionally rare” Glenfiddich will be a prize lot at Bonhams whisky sale in Edinburgh on June 16.

It is one of only 11 bottles produced in 1937 by the Dufftown distillery and released for sale from a cask that yielded 60 bottles nine years ago.

The bottle, the first to appear at auction, is being sold on behalf of a private vendor who bought it from a London shop in 2001 for £10,000.

Having matured for 64 years it is also one of the oldest whiskies released on to the market.

According to the tasting notes, the whisky has a nose with a huge bouquet of newly-dug peat, burned leather, old books, leather and oak.

It is “smooth and silky and wraps around the tongue with sweet flavours reminiscent of treacle toffee, creme brule and toasted almonds”.

Bonhams whisky consultant Martin Green said: “It is not very often that such a rare bottle comes along and it’s a privilege to be handling it. As soon as I recognised the significance of the bottle I got in touch with the distillery to let them know that we were including it in the auction.”

Mr Green, who says some whiskies have sold for more than £20,000, is hoping there will be a lot of interest from prospective buyers, and believes it is likely to go to a private collector or investor.

Glenfiddich spokeswoman Libby Lafferty said: “We were very excited when we heard the 1937 was going into the sale and immediately invited Mr Green to bring the bottle back to its home distillery to photograph for our archives.

“It really is that special.”

Earlier this week a 50-year-old Macallan fetched £12,350 at McTear’s rare and collect-ible whisky sale in Glasgow.

The rare dram, a bottling of three barrels distilled between 1926 and 1928, was one of more than 700 lots on sale.

It went to an American buyer based in New York for the highest price yet paid for a 50-year-old Macallan.

A 50-year-old Glenfiddich, the product of several barrels distilled between 1937 and 1939, sold for £10,600.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

Press & Journal

06 May

Bottle of malt fetches £12,350

Record-breaking sale at the world’s biggest whisky auction

A bottle of 50-year-old Macallan sold for a record £12,350 at the world’s biggest whisky auction in Glasgow yesterday.

The rare dram, a bottling of three barrels distilled between 1926 and 1928, was one of more than 700 lots in the McTear’s rare and collectible whisky sale.

It went to an American buyer based in New York for the highest price yet paid for a 50-year-old Macallan.

A 50-year-old Glenfiddich, the product of several barrels distilled between 1937 and 1939, sold for £10,600.

McTear’s whisky specialist Andy Bell said the two malts were among the finest to be found anywhere: “We knew there would be a lot of interest in both bottles and we are absolutely delighted with the prices they fetched.”

Other highlights included a 40-year-old Laphroaig, a limited-edition 30-year-old bottle of Black Bowmore, a 1965-distilled Ardbeg and a limited-edition 40-year-old Glenfarclas.

Mr Bell said each quarterly auction was attracting more lots and more collectors from around the globe.

“There is no doubt that whisky continues to hold its own as a long-term investment opportunity with good examples of the big five distilleries – Macallan, Bowmore, Highland Park, Springbank and Ardbeg – showing the biggest increases in value over the past few years,” he added.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

Press & Journal

03 May

Mounted cavalcade winds up Spirit of Speyside

Forres and Grantown on route as whisky showcase ends for another yearl

MORE than 20 horses made their way through Forres and Grantown yesterday to mark the end of an annual whisky festival.

The procession was one of 230 events organised as part of the five-day Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival, which officially launched on Thursday.

Dozens of people lined the streets to see the mounted cavalcade take the festival’s flag from Benromach Distillery at Forres to nearby Dallas Dhu Distillery.

At the distillery, the escorts handed the flag over to a team of mountain bikers, who paraded it across the Dava Way.

The two teams then met up at Castle Grant, before riding through the streets of Grantown together led by a pipe band.

Jim Royan, chairman of the festival, said that the ceremonial event had gone “incredibly well”.

Today, the flag will continue its journey to Glenfarclas Distillery at Ballindalloch, where it will be stored until next year’s festival.

Mr Royan added: “The festival has gone extremely well this year. We have people from 15 different nations in Moray at the moment.

“At the opening dinner there were 340 people there, and the sold-out premiere of Whisky Kisses – a musical that focuses on whisky – was just fantastic.”

The festival will close today, but there are still a number of events taking place throughout the region. Visit for more information.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

Press & Journal

01 May

Distiller strikes deal to buy Dublin firm’s spirits division

William Grant and Sons acquires company’s liqueurs and Irish whiskeys business for around £260m

Whisky distiller William Grant and Sons announced yesterday it had struck a deal worth around £260million to acquire the spirit and liqueur business of C&C Group, the Irish firm behind drinks including cider brands Magners and Bulmers.

William Grant, based at Dufftown on Speyside, said the agreement covered the Carolans and Frangelico liqueurs as well as two Irish whiskeys – Irish Mist and Tullamore Dew.

The deal is subject to approval by shareholders of Dublin-based C&C but a completion date of June 30 is anticipated.

“There are no other conditions for the sale, although consultation will be carried out with employees within the business and any others who are affected by the transition,” said William Grant.

Stella David, the whisky firm’s chief executive, added: “We have been looking to further develop our non-Scotch portfolio.

“C&C’s spirits business provides a unique opportunity to acquire a number of significant brands and enter the highly desirable and dynamic Irish whiskey category.

“We shall make significant investment in Ireland and invest in the long-term value growth of the brands, including Tullamore Dew Irish Whiskey, which at 600,000 cases and given its potential will become a core global brand in our business.”

William Grant said it was committed to “building a strong business in Ireland” and to maintaining and developing current operations across C&C sites including a manufacturing site at Clonmel in County Tipperary. C&C said the deal involved the transfer of all 57 employees at its spirits and liqueurs division, adding: “The agreement to sell to William Grant was not an easy one but is, we believe, in the best interests of all shareholders.”

Stephen Glancey, the Irish firm’s chief operating officer, said the deal value reflected the quality of the brand portfolio and its strong market positions.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

Press & Journal
April 2010 Scotch Whisky News

30 Apr

Pernod Ricard reports strong growth in key markets

Pernod Ricard is confident of hitting a higher than expected end of year profit target after it reported strong third-quarter above forecasts.

It said the results were largely down to an improved performance in the United States and Russia and strong results for many of its major brands in key markets, particularly within the duty free sector.

Pernod Ricard saw third quarter sales reach £133 billion ahead of City expectations.

On a like-for-like basis sales were up 16% again ahead of expectations of a near 11% rise. Its best performing brands in its most recent quarter included Martell cognac up 16%, Jameson whisky up 11% and Absolut Vodka which climbed 9% in sales.

Its combined sales performance for North and South America was up 3%, 10% for Asia and the rest of the world and 1% in France. Sales were less impressive for the rest of Europe falling 6%.

Article Courtesy of Harpers


29 Apr

Whisky will be music to ears of audiences

Inverness and ullapool among venues for showing of new musical

THE final touches are being put to the world premiere of a new Scottish musical that focuses on whisky.

Appropriately, the first performance of Whisky Kisses takes place at a distillery.

Glenfiddich Distillery at Dufftown will host the event on Saturday at the start of an extensive country-wide tour, which includes Inverness and Ullapool.

Theatre company Right Lines Productions is staging the show which began life as an entry in a 2006 competition to find a new Scottish musical.

Company co-founder Euan Martin said: “We came second in that competition, which was called Highland Quest, and because the piece was so well received, we decided to expand it into a full musical. We managed to get lottery funding through the Scottish Arts Council for this production.” The premiere is part of this year’s Spirit of Speyside whisky festival.

The show tells of two international whisky collectors vying at auction for the last bottle of a 100-year-old whisky called The Glenigma.

Whisky Kisses will be at the Victoria and Albert halls, Ballater on Monday next week; New Deer Public Hall on Tuesday; Lossiemouth Town Hall on Wednesday; Portsoy Town Hall on Friday; the Lemon Tree, Aberdeen on Saturday and Buckie British Legion on Tuesday, May 11.

The Eden Court Theatre, Inverness will host the show on May 20 and 21 and the final night on May 22 is at the Macphail Centre, Ullapool.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

Press & Journal

28 Apr

Cutty Sark whisky joins Maxxium UK portfolio

Maxxium UK, the sales and distribution alliance for The Edrington Group and Beam Global Spirits & Wine Inc, today announces the addition of Cutty Sark Blended Scotch Whisky into its portfolio.

Cutty Sark, a premium blended Scotch, has been purchased by The Edrington Group and will now sit alongside the other Scotch whiskies in Maxxium's leading whisky portfolio including The Famous Grouse, Teacher's, The Macallan, Highland Park, Laphroaig and Ardmore.

Cutty Sark, previously distributed by Inspirit Brands, has a heritage dating back to the 1920s.

Maxxium UK managing director Huw Pennell says: "The addition of Cutty Sark premium whiskies to our portfolio will further enhance Maxxium's position as a leading distributor of Scotch whisky and complements our existing portfolio perfectly."

Maxxium UK will take over orders and enquiries for Cutty Sark from Monday, May 17th 2010.

Article Courtesy of Talking Retail

Talking Retail

27 Apr

Whisky brand gets Status Quo makeover

Two hundred year-old whisky brand Glen Rossie has been given a rock-style makeover following investment by Status Quo frontman Francis Rossi, who is to front PR and marketing activity.

The packaging for the whisky, which is owned by The Brand Cellar, has been overhauled by design agency Pocket Rocket. The new-look bottle features a plectrum motif and the line 'Rocking since 1814'.

Meanwhile, creative agency Redroute has revamped the brand's website,, and has been tasked with creating an ad campaign.

"Glen Rossie has a tremendous whisky heritage and as we approach its 200th anniversary in 2014 we want to turn it into a global brand," said David Birchall, chief executive of The Brand Cellar.

Rossi signed up to become the face of the brand earlier this year, with Birchall claiming the rock legend can improve Glen Rossie's success in overseas markets: "As 'front man' for the Glen Rossie brand, we believe he can help us reinvigorate sales not just in the UK but, as someone who has sold 118m records worldwide, overseas too."

The brand made £7m from UK retail sales last year, according to The Brand Cellar.

Article Courtesy of Brand Republic


Brand Republic

26 Apr

Preparations under way for Spirit of Speyside Festival

Event will promote whisky and food

PREPARATIONS are going on for an annual whisky festival in Moray.

The five-day Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival will feature more than 230 events to keep visitors entertained.

The event is designed to promote the heritage, culture, whisky and food of Speyside.

The festival has a number of free events for visitors including a ceilidh at Brodie Castle on May 1 and a Benromach Forres theme day on May 2.

Speyside boasts more than 50 whisky distilleries in its area but many of the planned tours and events are already fully booked for some of the days they will run.

A canoe trip along the River Spey and train journeys along the 11-mile Keith-Dufftown Heritage Railway are also on offer. The ceremonial transfer of the Spirit of Speyside Festival flag to central Speyside will begin on May 2, leaving from the Benromach Distillery escorted by a mounted cavalcade of more than 20 horses. The flag will be handed over to a mountain biking team at the Dava Way who will reach Grantown where it will be handed back to the cavalcade and finally presented to the keepers of the flag.

For information and online bookings go to www.spiritof

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

Press & Journal

24 Apr

Distillery the grand venue for chamber

THE Glenfarclas Distillery, near Aberlour, was the venue for the latest Moray Chamber of Commerce gathering, a whisky-themed supper with guest speaker Dr Imogen Reid, of Scottish Chambers of Commerce.

Canapes and Glenfarclas were served on arrival, before guests were introduced to the newly appointed chamber vice-president and board director, George McNeil, managing director – retail division, Johnstons of Elgin.

Robert Ransom, director of sales and marketing at Glenfarclas, then gave a walk-through tour of the distillery before guests sat down to dinner in The Ship’s Room.

A sumptuous meal was then served by award-winning chef Tony Allcott, resident chef and owner of Cragganmore House.

During coffee, Dr Reid introduced guests to the chamber’s business manifesto for 2010.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

Press & Journal

21 Apr

Whisky workers learn how to be good bosses

A whisky company has teamed up with a training college to take a modern approach to training its employees.

Burn Stewart Distillers, of East Kilbride, which owns Bunnahabhain and popular blends Black Bottle and Scottish Leader, has enrolled staff into college to learn modern management skills.

The seven workers, including production engineers and a warehouseman at its bottling, blending and distillery operations, have started a year-long Level 3 Management SVQ, which is being run by Intec Business Colleges.

Intec specialises in vocational training for workers across a variety of sectors.

Bill Porterfield, Burn Stewart’s personnel manager, said there had been little in the way of training in recent years and the company wanted a programme that would allow staff to study while they work.

He said: “Other avenues we explored meant staff had to take time out of work. Motivating staff – some of whom had been out of full-time education for a number of years – to go back to college and study was difficult.”

Mr Porterfield said there is excitement about the course, not just for the workers , who are aged mid-20s to mid-40s and some of whom may eventually go on to higher education.

They were chosen by their managers as having potential to progress into management positions throughout the company.

Mr Porterfield added: “This is being done to develop leadership skills. It is difficult to hire management people who have knowledge of the whisky business and its history.

“People here do not necessarily have modern management styles, information and skills to go forward.

“We hope working with Intec is going to fill the gap and we will have experienced whisky workers who are going to learn modern leadership styles.”

The course has been funded as a Modern Adult Apprenticeship by Skills Development Scotland, which is part of Enterprise Scotland.

Ray Smith, sales executive for Intec Scotland, said funding is normally only provided for under 20s, so the apprenticeships for the seven men were unusual.

“They come under the Government’s food and drink category, which is one of the key industry sectors, so they had been targeted.

“If the company gets more funding I would think they would get more people on these apprenticeships.”

Article Courtesy of Glasgow Evening Times


Glasgow Evening Times

20 Apr

Local man to take over production at Springbank

SPRINGBANK, the iconic Campbeltown whisky distillery, has this week announced a summertime change of management that will see the first locally-born man take charge of production in over 60 years.

Gavin McLachlan, aged 36, will take over as Manager of Springbank and its sister distillery, Mitchell’s Glengyle, from August 1st 2010.

Neil Clapperton, Managing Director of parent company J&A Mitchell & Co Ltd, said: “Gavin is Campbeltown born and bred and his appointment gives us great pleasure and also reflects our company’s long-term commitment to Campbeltown.”

Gavin, who began his career in the whisky industry in May 2002 as a bottling hall operative at Springbank before quickly moving into malting and distilling within eight months, has been assistant manager for the past four years.

In his new post he will work alongside Director of Production Frank McHardy to oversee the day-to-day operations at Springbank and Glengyle.

Gavin’s promotion follows the resignation of present manager Stuart Robertson, who is leaving the company to take up a new appointment in the north east of Scotland.

Springbank Distillery is Scotland’s oldest continuously family owned distillery and the only distillery in Scotland to carry out 100% of the production process on site.

The company is currently under the ownership of Hedley Wright, present-day chairman and great-great-great grandson of the distillery’s founder.

In 2000, Mr Wright commissioned the construction of the Mitchell’s Glengyle Distillery, which opened in March 2004, bringing the number of operational distilleries in Campbeltown, on the Kintyre peninsula on the west coast of Scotland, to three.

Article Courtesy of Press Release

Press Release

17 Apr

Importance of Scots whisky industry

SCOTLAND’S national drink has produced a sterling performance by recording record export sales at a time of global economic downturn. Figures revealed by the industry show that overseas sales of whisky grew by 3% last year to a new high of more than £3billion, with double-digit growth in the key markets of France and America.

This excellent result supports the appeal by Scotch Whisky Association chairman Paul Walsh for all political parties to appreciate the importance of the drink to Britain’s economy. The fact that overseas sales are increasing while the domestic market remains difficult suggest that the whisky industry should be viewed differently from other drinks when the Westminster and Holyrood governments consider tackling binge drinking through higher taxes or minimum price regulations.

Whisky is rarely the drink of choice for the people the governments need to target and is, instead, more likely to be savoured by people who not only enjoy the distinctive flavour of the different malts and blends, but also know when enough is enough. It is time, therefore, that our politicians recognised this key distinction and the significant contribution Scotland’s whisky industry makes to Britain’s economic wellbeing, and introduced a taxation system which encouraged future growth.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

Press & Journal

15 Apr

Scotch whisky exports reach record high in 2009

Exports of Scotch whisky reached a record high last year, despite the economic downturn in some major markets.

Figures show the amount of whisky being shipped abroad increased by 4% worldwide during 2009.

The value of these exports rose by 3% to reach about £3.1bn, according to the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA).

Paul Walsh, chairman of the SWA, said the figures showed the importance of Scotch whisky to the UK economy.

The SWA said there had been a slow start to 2009, partly due to weaker consumer confidence.

But an "impressive" export performance was reported during the second half of the year.

The USA remained Scotch whisky's largest export market by value, with an increase of 13% last year.

The drink is also enjoying increasing popularity in Brazil, where the value of exports grew by 44%.

However in Spain, the third biggest market, the value of exports fell by 5%.

'Leading export'

An extra 3% - or £71m - of blended Scotch was exported last year, compared to 2008, while malt Scotch whisky shipments rose by 1%, or £4m.

Mr Walsh said: "Scotch whisky distillers have delivered record exports in the face of a global economic downturn.

"The industry is continuing to invest and sustain its efforts to secure fair access to export markets."

Gavin Hewitt, chief executive of the SWA, added: "As one of the UK's leading manufactured exports, all political parties should recognise and support the Scotch whisky industry, both at home and abroad, during the next Parliament."

Article Courtesy of BBCi


14 Apr

Glengoyne Distillery Launch New Tours

Glengoyne Distillery has launched an exciting new menu of tours in time for the busy summer visitor season. Joining the already highly popular and acclaimed selection of tours will be Cask Idol – The Search for the Perfect Dram and A Century of Whisky.

Cask Idol – The Search for the Perfect Dram (£70 per person) offers a once in a lifetime opportunity to become part of the Glengoyne Selection Panel and help select the first ever Glengoyne Distillery Exclusive Single Cask Whisky, to be bottled in 2011.

Following an in-depth Glengoyne Distillery tour and a visit to the legendary Warehouse No. 8, visitors are guided through Glengoyne’s last three Single Cask releases learning to nose, taste and write tasting notes as they go.

Visitors then judge three mature samples drawn from the cask and are asked to write their own tasting notes for each. The most popular cask will be announced in April 2011 and released with one lucky fan’s name and tasting notes displayed on the label. Visitors on the Cask Idol tour will have exclusive first access to the chosen single cask bottling when released.

Perfect for enthusiasts of old and rare whiskies, A Century of Whisky (£150 per person) includes a tutored tasting of Glengoyne Distillery’s oldest, most valuable, and finest Highland Single Malt: the Glengoyne 40 Years Old, worth £200 per dram, as well as the exceptionally rare Isle of Skye 50 Years Old blended Scotch whisky. These two unparalleled whiskies, along with the Glengoyne 10 Years Old, represent a century of maturation.

The Glengoyne team will bring these great drams to life, sharing their distillation, maturation and flavour profiles – exposing 100 years of hopes and fears, of wandering legs and golden tears. Each dram will be tasted in its own bespoke crystal ‘copita’ glass, which guests take home as a memento of the day. This is a truly unique opportunity to taste rare and expensive, top quality whiskies. Only 400 bottles of the Isle of Skye 50 Years Old blended Scotch Whisky, and 250 crystal decanters of the Glengoyne 40 Years Old Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky were produced, costing £1,000 and £3,750 respectively.

Stuart Hendry, Brand Heritage Manager for Glengoyne commented: “At Glengoyne we make Single Malt Whisky without cutting corners. We fill Scotland’s slowest distilled spirit into the world’s finest casks. These new visits allow us to really take Glengoyne fans inside the cask and let them become a part of the Distillery’s history. This sort of thing just doesn’t happen at normal distilleries.”

The new tours join the existing tasting tours, which start from just £6.50 and have been heralded as ‘THE Best Whisky Tour’ by The Sunday Times. Other options include the Master Class (£100), the most in depth and comprehensive distillery tour in Scotland, as well as the exclusive Master Blender Session (£30) during which guests learn the dark art of the Master Blender and create their very own blend to be bottled and taken home.

To book your place or find out more please contact the distillery on 01360 550254.

For full details of the tour menu, visit:

Glengoyne is one of Scotland’s most accessible distilleries, located just 30 minutes north of Glasgow and looking out over the breath-taking West Highland Way.

Article Courtesy of Press Release

Press Release

13 Apr

Glendronach 1996 cask 197 released today...but only available at Aberdeenshire distillery!

GlenDronach is delighted to announce details today (April 13) of an exclusive single cask bottling...and it's available only in a secluded corner of the Scottish countryside!

“1996 Cask 197 has been specially selected for devotees of our renowned richly-sherried malt and is only available at our Aberdeenshire distillery,” explained Regional Sales Director Alistair Walker.

"You won’t find it anywhere else in the world so if you want to savour this unique expression, you’ll have to come here to get one of our 576 bottles...but I assure you the journey will be well worth it!”

Alistair added: “Distilled and filled to cask on 16 February 1996 and bottled in March 2009, Cask 197 has been allowed to mature for over fourteen years. From an Oloroso Sherry Butt, it’s bottled at cask strength 59.7% vol. and is a great example of the big, rich, heavily-sherried style of whisky that malt drinkers the world over associate with GlenDronach.”

Cask 197’s tasting notes confirm it’s a classic GlenDronach - smooth, sweet, complex and full-bodied with an incredible concentration of aromas.

Nose: Chocolate toffee sauce and intense raisin notes. Fortified wine elements marry well with roasted hazelnuts and almonds.

Appearance: Rich rosewood with a warm autumnal glow.

Palate: Sweet and full-bodied. Bold mocha flavours with more toasted nuts. An injection of stewed fruit helps to lift this dram to new levels. Chocolate-covered dates and fig jam release towards the finish.

Cask 197 bottles retail at just £47.99 each.

Alistair added: “If you want to get hold of a bottle this spring, I’d advise you to get along to our Forgue distillery as quickly as possible, because once the 576 bottles are gone, they’re gone!”

For more information, go to, or email or visit us any day of the week at The GlenDronach Distillery, Forgue by Huntly, Aberdeenshire AB54 6DB, Scotland, UK, tel : +44 (0)1466 730 202

Article Courtesy of Press Release

Press Release

13 Apr

English firm to scotch myth with release of malt whisky

Hardly an eyebrow was raised when Finland, South Africa or Japan began doing it, but when the Auld Enemy started producing malt whisky at the end of last year, diehard dram lovers almost choked on their Glenmorangie.

After an absence of more than 100 years, the St George’s Distillery in rural Norfolk began producing England’s first malt whisky. Under the banner of the English Whisky Company (EWC), its first effort, named Chapter 6, attracted glowing reviews. But while this first attempt caused few sleepless nights on Islay or in Speyside, the English rival’s next venture may ruffle a few feathers.

In June, EWC releases its first peated malt whisky – and it already has one whisky connoisseur drooling at the prospect.

Jim Murray, author of the best-selling Whisky Bible, said the EWC’s three-year-old peated malt, Chapter 9, was good enough to rival the best drams Scotland can produce. Mr Murray said: “The EWC’s peated whisky is way up there and is of an exceptionally high quality. A number of Scottish distilleries just don’t achieve that. Partly, that is because EWC is a small company and they ensure what they are producing is of high quality and every cask counts. They are on the path to gold.”

The EWC employs just four full-time staff as well as 10 part-time workers, compared to the 10,000 employed in the Scottish whisky industry.

From its base in the Norfolk countryside, the St George’s Distillery and the EWC is the realisation of a lifelong dream of the Nelstrop family, headed by managing director Andrew and his father, James.

In June, the EWC will start distributing 4,000 bottles of Chapter 9. Andrew Nelstrop, said: “We can’t compete on price, so we do everything to absolute levels of perfection and you can’t do that if you are producing millions of gallons of whisky.”

The distillery sits atop England’s largest freshwater source, the Breckland Aquifer, which provides 6,000 litres of water each day to produce the EWC’s whisky. Mr Nelstrop added: “It’s absolutely crystal clean. It doesn’t get more perfect and we don’t treat it. It’s very hard, which gives our whisky a sweeter taste.”

Targeting a niche market of whisky connoisseurs, the EWC expects to shift up to 50,000 bottles this year after signing a distribution deal with Gordon & Macphail, having sold 5,000 bottles in 2009.

The Nelstrop family has not been afraid to tap the expertise of the Scottish whisky industry that is one of Britain’s top five manufacturing export earners, contributing more than £2 billion a year to Britain’s trade balance.

Mr Murray, who samples about 1,000 whiskies each year, added: “The Scots are still making some cracking malt but, sadly, some of the ex-sherry casks in Scotland are of pretty poor quality and that is a major problem for the Scottish whisky industry. By and large, EWC’s casks are of superb quality.”

Article Courtesy of The Scottish Herald

The Scottish Herald

12 Apr

Maltster issues warning on challenges as profits hit record

Business faces legacy of two bumper European harvests and worst recession since WWII

Record operating profits have been reported by one of the country’s biggest independent maltsters and agricultural merchants.

Simpsons Malt has warned, however, that future trading conditions remain “very challenging” because of the economic downturn and the impact that has had on the distilling and brewing markets.

The Berwick-based firm has already taken action and reduced malt production at its Tivetshall malting site in East Anglia.

The firm said prospects for farming remained reasonably positive.

However, its malting business faced the legacy of two recent bumper European harvests and what turned out to be the worst recession since World War II.

Directors, in their annual report, just released alongside accounts from Companies House, stated: “Whilst the whisky distilling sector has revised its growth protections, this sector has weathered the economic storm better than other sectors and our supplies are largely in line with contracted volumes.

“The UK brewing sector has experienced a very difficult 24 months, with beer consumption consistently declining, although this now appears to be stabilising.”

Simpsons said Britain had entered 2010 with a near-1million tonne surplus of malting barley and prices were below growers’ production costs in most cases.

It recognised the challenges this created, not least the understandable opinion among growers that they should switch to other crops, a move that would put future malting barley production under pressure.

Simpsons, however, said it continued to support its growers and work with its customers.

It has also taken steps to align costs with sales demand. Directors were confident the firm was well placed to meet the challenges and to continue to trade profitability.

Operating profits for the 53 weeks to January 2 were £9.662million.

Pre-tax profits were £6.493million on turnover of £120.04million.

The previous 78-week trading profit saw pre-tax results inflated to £11.228million because of a £6.14million gain on the disposal of assets.

Simpsons, which includes the agricultural merchanting business of McCreath Simpson and Prentice, completed the latest expansion at its Berwick maltings last year. This made the site more efficient and, coupled with strong sales volumes, helped the group achieve a record operating profit.

The directors added: “The merchanting activities delivered a positive contribution to pre-tax profits, despite a very difficult fertiliser market, where values collapsed and growers reduced their fertiliser consumption.”

Dividends of £484,000 were paid through the year by the firm, which employs about 200 staff. The highest-paid director received £270,892.

Net debt at the year-end was down £11.398million to £44.359million.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

Press & Journal

07 Apr

Glenfiddich 40-year Old Collectible Released

Single-malt Scotch distillery Glenfiddich announced the launch of a limited edition 40 Year Old expression. It is the 6th set of Glenfiddich 40 Year Old, and only 600 will be presented on the world market at a price of $2,600 per bottle.

This whisky was aged in oak barrels for at least 40 years and then added to the rest of the whisky of the previous year. Glenfiddich's limited editions have been highly praised. But the last release of the 40-year underwhelmed the critics. Jim Murray, author of The Whisky Bible, for example, rated the last 40 Year Old release an 86.5 on his scale. There is more peat in this release than the last, which should make it more desirable.

The bottles make quite a display: the thick glass bottoms have their own numbers, have a hand-written signature and are sealed with wax and have a copper sign. The bottle is placed in a luxury case covered with calf leather; and an engraved copper sign on the top of the case is decorated with delicate filigree. This luxe packaging also contains a lock and a key. The case has a certificate signed personally by Peter Gordon, a CEO of William Grant & Sons and four oldest master of blending at the distilling house.

Article Courtesy of Press Release

Press Release

03 Apr

Whisky lovers help make Dee Dram a sellout success for river conservation

Sales of limited-edition tipple raise almost £50,000 for projects on waterway

WHISKY enthusiasts have snapped up all 3,600 bottles of a limited-edition dram – and done their bit to conserve one of Scotland’s most important salmon rivers.

Sales of Whyte and Mackay’s Dee Dram, which was launched by comedian Billy Connolly in February, have raised almost £50,000 for projects on the River Dee.

Ken Reid, fisheries development officer for the River Dee Trust, said: “I have had it confirmed that the remaining 180 cases of Dee Dram were bought from Whyte and Mackay on Monday.

“This means that Whyte and Mackay have sold the 600 cases that were initially produced for us on February 15.

“That means we get paid in April. We thought it would take a few months to shift so that is really some going.

“I’d like to thank the agencies who are lining up to support us, the public for buying into this initiative and the licensed trade – most of the pubs in Deeside have this whisky. The scale of this project has really made people sit up and look at what we’re doing.”

Jim Coates, global head of brand for the whisky company, added: “It’s a completely new thing for us so we were a bit unsure how it would be received. But we made a big effort to involve local people from the start.

“A lot of anglers like to have a dram after they have been fishing. So we thought if we could find a way to let them have one at the normal price – but the proceeds could go to the river – then that could work.”

Among the work that the money will contribute towards is a £150,000 fish pass to be installed at the Culter Dam in the summer.

Other important projects include planting native trees on the riverbanks and improving the habitat along tributaries to the River Dee.

Bottles of the limited edition malt, which originally sold for £32, have already appeared on the auction site eBay priced at up to £85 a bottle. Although all the bottles have been sold by the distillery, some remain for sale at

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

Press & Journal
March 2010 Scotch Whisky News

31 Mar

Bacardi and Brown-Forman Announce Distribution Agreements in Europe

Bacardi Limited, the world’s largest privately held spirits company, today announced that the Company and Brown-Forman have mutually agreed on distribution arrangements in Europe.

Bacardi and Brown-Forman have renewed contracts for Bacardi to distribute Brown-Forman brands in Belgium, Luxembourg, Denmark, Austria, Switzerland, Portugal and Andorra effective May 1. In addition a contract was renewed for Brown-Forman to distribute the Bacardi portfolio of brands in the Czech Republic, also effective May 1.

Bacardi will cease distributing the Brown-Forman portfolio in The Netherlands at the end of April and stop distributing in Russia at the end of September where Bacardi wants to focus on its own core portfolio.

“Bacardi has had a long and successful relationship with Brown-Forman encompassing many key regional and local markets – and these decisions allow our unique distribution partnerships to continue to flourish,” said Bacardi Limited Chief Executive Officer Séamus McBride. “We will continue to work together to look for opportunities that suit both our needs around the world.”

The two companies’ cooperation will continue in the United States and the United Kingdom as well in other markets worldwide. Both companies will continue to explore new arrangements where appropriate.

About Bacardi Limited

Bacardi Limited, the largest privately held spirits company in the world, produces and markets a variety of internationally recognized spirits. The Bacardi brand portfolio consists of more than 200 brands and labels, including: BACARDI® rum, the world’s favorite and best-selling premium rum, as well as the world’s most awarded rum; GREY GOOSE® vodka, the world-leader in super-premium vodka; DEWAR’S® Scotch whisky, the number-one selling blended Scotch whisky in the United States; BOMBAY SAPPHIRE® gin, the top-valued premium gin in the world; CAZADORES® blue agave tequila, the top-selling premium tequila worldwide; MARTINI® vermouth, the world-leader in vermouth; and other leading brands. It was founded in Santiago de Cuba, February 4, 1862. For more information, visit

Article Courtesy of Press Release

Press Release

25 Mar

Drink duty rise leaves bitter taste

Increase of 5.1% for spirits is flawed and undermines industry, says Scotch Whisky Association

The drinks sector was furious at the chancellor’s inflation-busting rise on alcohol duty from Sunday – and a whopping 10% on cider.

The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) said the 5.1% rise for spirits was flawed and would take to 21.6% the increase it had endured in the last two years. The SWA was equally unhappy at Alistair Darling’s decision to keep annual duty increases at 2% above inflation until 2015.

Cider-maker Peter Stuart, of Thistly Cross at Dunbar, East Lothian, branded the 10%-above-inflation rise disastrous. He also said Mr Darling’s pledge to impose “more appropriate taxing” from September on stronger ciders would hit artisan producers who have traditionally produced higher alcohol products than popular brands.

Highland Brewing Company boss Rob Hill said he could be forced to put his plans to hire two new staff for his brewery at Swannay, Orkney, on hold because of the rise.

SWA chief executive Gavin Hewitt said the government would be raking in £6.66 on every bottle of Scotch sold in the UK. He viewed Mr Darling’s duty escalator policy as misguided, saying it had already failed as the revenue collected from all spirits in 2009 fell by £49million.

Mr Hewitt added: “Today’s duty rise by a Scottish chancellor will not secure the increased revenue he is looking for and undermines an industry that brings massive economic benefit to Scotland.”


His call for any incoming government to abolish the duty escalator and freeze spirit taxes was backed by Michael Urquhart, joint managing director of Elgin-based distiller and whisky specialist Gordon and MacPhail.

Mr Urquhart warned the rise could set a bad example to governments overseas which may follow Britain’s lead in increasing duty rates.

Mr Stuart said the higher tax take would hit the margins made by the Thistly Cross business he set up in 2008 and which makes cider from the apples grown on a neighbouring fruit farm.

“I did want to be known as Scotland’s best home-produced cider, not Scotland’s most expensive,” he added.

“To put it into context, beer duties have risen by 10% over the last three to four years. We are facing 10% in one year. If we had been able to maintain our margins we might have been able to consider going farther afield and get a distributor to take us into other parts of the country. But something like this ends all that.”

Mr Hill said real ale sales had been one area of growth in the drinks sector, but the chancellor now threatened that. “It’s just evil (the duty increase) as far as the industry is concerned. It does not help us at all.”

Others warned that the duty increases would pile the misery on struggling pubs.

The British Beer and Pub Association said that since imposing the escalator the government had collected an extra £761million in duties on beer at a time when sales were down £650million and 4,000 pubs had closed and more than 40,000 jobs lost.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

Press & Journal

24 Mar

Glendronach Grandeur will gladden the hearts of connoisseurs worldwide

WHEN the BenRiach Distillery Company purchased GlenDronach two years ago, it signalled a re-birth for this the grandest of East Highland malts.

At the time MD Billy Walker said: "We hope our acquisition of GlenDronach will intrigue, surprise and delight whisky connoisseurs around the world."

And today (March 25), connoisseurs of re-born GlenDronach will indeed be delighted by the launch of a sublime new thirty-one year-old expression selected personally by Mr Walker - the appropriately-named GlenDronach Grandeur.

It's set to gladden the hearts of connoisseurs around the world.

Endearing and enduring, the GlenDronach style is that of a big, smooth, sherried whisky - and Grandeur preserves and perpetuates that great tradition.

Marketing Manager Kerry White said: "The whisky bottled as Grandeur has been specially selected by Master Distiller Billy Walker from some of the oldest and most unique Oloroso casks at GlenDronach.

"A vast selection of barrels, hogsheads, puncheons and butts has been maturing in the traditional dunnage warehouses since the 1960s, and it is the most extraordinary and remarkable of these which have been chosen for this very special bottling.

"This superb expression, a thirty-one-year-old at 45.8 vol. cask strength, is a classical representation of the smooth, complex and full-bodied style that the GlenDronach Distillery is famous for. Individually numbered by hand, each bottle is a one-off and truly unique."

Billy Walker's tasting notes reveal the remarkable subtleties of Grandeur.

Nose - A tremendous concentration of fruits, nuts and berries enveloped in a coffee and mocha glaze. Subtle sweet sherry notes interact beautifully with sticky date pudding aromas.

Palate - Very big and gusty flavours adorn each mouthful, yet with perfect balance and refinement. Initial spiced orange flavours and rich old Oloroso sherry are met mid-palate with roasted almonds, coffee and treacle. The dry concentrated flavours from the almonds and the oloroso sherry are balanced in perfect harmony with sultanas, chocolate and honey.

Article Courtesy of Press Release

Press Release

23 Mar

Fire-ravaged woollen mill is set to reopen with Whisky Shop

Rebuilt spean bridge shop to trade again from April 1

A Lochaber tourist attraction is set to reopen at Easter after rising from the ashes of a fire last year.

The Edinburgh Woollen Mill shop at Spean Bridge will trade for the first time in 14 months on April 1.

Many of the 22 original staff will return to the mill, which has been entirely rebuilt following the blaze.

The fire in January 2009 tore through the popular stopping-off point for tourist coaches, which had provided a boost to the local economy.

Area manager Graeme McDermott said yesterday: “Everyone is very excited about getting back to Spean Bridge and welcoming new and old customers.

“Spean Bridge has always been an exceptionally popular store, attracting thousands of visitors every month, and we can’t wait to open our doors and have the customers flood back in.”

He added: “All the staff are delighted with the store and really proud that we have turned what was a devastating blow into an opportunity to build a top quality retail facility fit for 2010 and beyond.”

The new building will feature a Spirit of Scotland Whisky Shop, a coffee shop and a new weaving demonstration area.

A further attraction is the installation of a new weaving loom, on which there will be demonstrations of weaving techniques for visitors by weaver Mary Carol Souness.

An open evening is planned for people at Spean Bridge to mark the reopening.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

Press & Journal

19 Mar

Pre-tax losses up sharply at Chivas Brothers business

Spokesman says accounts not fully reflective of financial performance

Chivas Brothers, one of the main subsidiaries of French alcoholic drink giant Pernod Ricard, plunged to heavy losses in the year to June 30, 2009, according to its latest annual report and accounts, just released by Companies House.

In their report, the directors said the company’s sales volume for its strategic whisky brands Chivas Regal and The Glenlivet had been 11.9% below budgeted levels.

For non-strategic brands – among them the Clan Campbell, Aberlour, 100 Pipers and Royal Salute whiskies – sales were 4% below budget.

Turnover for the year was 6.8% ahead of budget, however, mainly thanks to favourable currency effects.

Accounts show that Chivas Brothers, led by chief executive Christian Porta, made pre-tax losses of £65.15million for the year, sharply up on the £6.09million losses reported the year before.

Turnover for the period was £451.25million compared with £396.83million the previous year.

The Paisley-based company was profitable to the tune of £167.12million at the operating level, up from £112.84million a year earlier, but a steep increase in interest payable to other group companies dragged it to pre-tax losses.

Accounts show interest payable amounted to £270.34million.

The previous year, interest payable had also been high, at £149.77million.

A spokesman for the company said: “The results of the Chivas Brothers Scotch whisky and gin business are split across a number of separate UK legal entities within the Pernod Ricard group.

“As a result, the statutory accounts of Chivas Brothers Limited on a standalone basis do not fully reflect the financial performance of the business in the quoted year.”

The accounts also show that Chivas Brothers’ unnamed highest-paid director received emoluments of £765,000 during the year, up from the £746,000 paid out the year before.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

Press & Journal

17 Mar

Whisky firm Whyte & Mackay clarifies job cut fears

Whisky supplier Whyte & Mackay has warned it may have to cut 83 jobs, under Scottish government plans for minimum alcohol pricing.

The company had previously told MSPs the policy could cost it 300 posts, but later clarified this was based on a UK-wide introduction of the policy.

Whyte & Mackay has continued to base its figures on a minimum price per unit of alcohol set at 50p.

Ministers have used an example of 40p, but have yet to decide the final level.

In a previous evidence to Holyrood's health committee, which is scrutinising minimum pricing as part of the government's Alcohol Bill, Whyte & Mackay said introduction of the policy could result in the closure of its Grangemouth bottling plant, which employs 200 people, while an estimated further 100 distillery jobs would be put at risk.

As the company's chief executive John Beard was recalled to the committee to give evidence for a second time, Whyte & Mackay, which supplies brand and own-brand whisky to supermarkets, it made a revised submission to MSPs which said the impact of a Scotland-only minimum price would hit 83 jobs.

However, Whyte and Mackay has insisted on sticking with a 50p per unit estimate, saying the government's own assessment of the policy used examples of 25p, 50p and 70p, adding it was a "fair assumption" to adopt the mid-range price.

'Lack of information'

The firm's head of PR, Rob Bruce, said once ministers had confirmed the final price, it would provide a revised assessment.

He also stated: "This does however raise the wider issue about the lack of information being provided to stakeholders about the Scottish government's plans for a minimum price and what the level is likely to be."

Meanwhile, supermarket giant Tesco was also recalled to appear at a future meeting of the committee, in the wake of evidence from the company's corporate affairs manager Tony McElroy.

He previously said the supermarket would be prepared to discuss minimum pricing with ministers, but expressed some reservation about the policy.

That, the health committee said, seemed at odds with evidence given by senior Tesco director David North, when he told a House of Commons select committee his company was in favour of minimum pricing.

The minority Scottish government currently does not have enough support from Holyrood opposition parties to pass its plans for minimum pricing.

Article Courtesy of BBCi


12 Mar

£385 nip goes down a treat

World’s oldest bottled Speyside single malt is opened

The world’s oldest bottled Speyside single malt whisky – costing £385 a nip – has been opened at long last and sipped by special guests who soaked in the atmosphere of Edinburgh Castle yesterday.

A precious bottle of Gordon and MacPhail’s Mortlach 70-Year-Old was piped into the Queen Anne Room under the escort of soldiers from The Highlanders 4th Battalion.

Only 54 full-size 70cl decanters will be sold at £10,000 with £2,500 for the smaller 20cl version.

The spirit from Speyside’s Mortlach Distillery was casked on October 15, 1938, on the order of John Urqu-hart, the grandfather of Gordon and MacPhail joint managing directors David and Michael Urquhart.

David Urquhart said: “We believe Mortlach 70-Year-Old is a malt without comparison. Whisky fans and people wishing to own a piece of Scotland’s liquid history will be excited about it.”

The whisky was matured in a former sherry cask made from Spanish oak. It has been bottled in a teardrop-shaped hand-blown crystal decanter with a silver stopper.

Connoisseur Charles Mac-Lean, one of the select group of tasters, wished his sample could have been bigger. Describing it as “remarkable”, he praised its attributes of waxiness and smokiness, “uncommon today, more usual before the 1960s”. He said the spirit was the colour of sun-bleached polished mahogany, with a mellow, waxy, fruity aroma and fresh and juicy hints of apricot jam, flaked almonds and whin flowers, which become light coconut oil.

It was surprisingly lively tasted straight, with a smooth, waxy mouth feel, said the whisky expert, who found dried fig and tobacco notes, and an intriguing light smokiness. “I could have continued to smell and taste it for hours,” he said.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

Press & Journal

12 Mar

Distillers fear Scotch-shock Budget

Companies raise concerns over possibility of darling imposing substantial increase in duty

Panicking distillery companies have been urgently lobbying MPs and ministers in fear of a substantial increase in the duty on Scotch in the Budget later this month.

Representatives of Diageo and other companies are believed to have been telling politicians privately they can reluctantly absorb a 5% increase in duty from the RPI-plus-2% increase – about 32p more per bottle – which the chancellor had been expected to impose. But they say they fear Alistair Darling has a significantly higher increase in mind as he struggles to raise revenue in the middle of the economic crisis.

A spokesman for the Scotch Whisky Association said: “There are growing concerns that Scotch whisky will face a discriminatory duty rise in the Budget, on top of a 16% duty rise since 2008.

“Such a move would be counterproductive – damaging Scotch whisky and the Scottish economy, while lowering government revenue at a time when public finances are under such pressure.”

But there have been signs the climate of public opinion has moved in favour of higher taxes on alcohol in a bid to curb widespread drunkenness among the young – which caused the Scottish Government, which has no tax powers, to propose compulsory minimum prices – making it easier for Mr Darling to act.

One MP said he would rather raise tax and see the revenue flow to the Exchequer than have a high minimum price contributing to producers’ profits. Last year’s Budget saw the rate of duty on whisky increased by the highest amount since 1975 to 72% of the price of a bottle of whisky.

The industry has been arguing for equality of taxation per unit of alcohol instead of higher duty on Scotch.

It suggests tax rises should be concentrated on beer – particularly strong, cheap lagers and the alcopops favoured by younger binge drinkers – and ciders.

Angus Robertson is vice-chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Scotch Whisky Industry Group and MP for Moray.

He said: “Once again it seems the chancellor is treating Scotland's whisky industry as a cash cow. It's an absolute disgrace.”

He said whisky was one of Scotland's key industries in export, earnings and employment. “Jeopardising this vital contribution to prop up Treasury coffers after a decade of financial mismanagement would be an unforgivable betrayal by the Labour government,” he added.

Aberdeen North Labour MP Frank Doran said: “The whisky industry is extremely important for Scotland, one of our biggest exports and an important source of employment.

“I accept the duty on alcohol should be considered for an increase, but the government will balance the importance of raising revenue with the importance of these jobs.”

Argyll and Bute Liberal Democrat MP Alan Reid said the rate of duty is already higher on whisky than other drinks and to increase it further “would not make sense”.

What the industry needed was a level playing field between whisky and other drinks which would require a freeze in the duty on whisky but rises in the duty on wine, beer and cider, he said.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

Press & Journal

12 Mar

CairnGorm toast for 100,000th skier of a magnificent season

Further cold weather raises hopes for more to come

CAIRNGORM Mountain yesterday welcomed its 100,000th skier of this record-breaking season.

Mark Craig, from Highbury, London, was presented by chief executive Ian Whitaker, to mark the occasion, with a bottle of the mountain’s own 16-year-old Ptarmigan malt whisky – a whisky which was laid down in 1995, coincidentally the last year when there were this number of skiers at CairnGorm.

Mr Craig said: “I last skied here before the funicular was built and I have been boarding abroad for the past few years, but thought, with the amount of snow you have had here, this would be a good time to get back into ski-ing.

“I am here for a week and have been cross-country skiing, as well as downhill here at CairnGorm.”

With cold weather set to continue for the foreseeable future, CairnGorm Mountain is expecting good ski-ing conditions to last for the Easter holiday break, which begins at the end of March and runs through until April 19.

It is hoped that many holidaymakers will take advantage of the better weather with longer daylight hours and head for the Scottish slopes over Easter.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

Press & Journal

10 Mar

Whyte and Mackay warns 300 jobs will go over minimum pricing

Whisky maker says Scottish Government plans will force it to close Grangemouth bottling plant

Leading whisky maker Whyte and Mackay has said it will cut 300 jobs and be forced to close its bottling plant in Grangemouth if the Scottish Government introduces minimum pricing for alcohol.

The drinks manufacturer of brands such as Famous Grouse and Bell's Whisky warned the plans would be "disastrous" and could "decimate" the own label drinks market. The firm, which employs 480 people in Scotland, will speak out against the controversial measure at Holyrood today.

Members of the Health Committee are considering proposals put forward by ministers to tackle Scotland`s drink problem. They will question John Beard, chief executive officer of Whyte and Mackay, on the issue.

In a submission to the committee, the whisky boss said minimum pricing could lead to 300 job losses in his firm, stating: "We anticipate that our bottling plant in Grangemouth, which employs 200 people, would close.

"Our production levels would also be affected, so there would be a knock-on effect at our distilleries. Our best estimate is that another 100 jobs would be at risk."

Mr Beard said the firm was the leading supplier of own label whisky and added: "From our company perspective, we have no doubt that minimum pricing will decimate the own label market. This, in turn, will lead to significant job losses at Whyte and Mackay, across our distilleries, our bottling plant and our distribution centres."

Mr Beard argued minimum pricing could mean that own label whiskies would be in the same price range as brands such as Famous Grouse and Bell's Whisky and added: "That being the case, the role and need for own label products disappears altogether.

"As the leading supplier of own label whisky, this would be disastrous for our business."

Mr Beard continued: "Whyte and Mackay, a company established in 1844, would essentially cease to exist in anything but name only."

The committee will also hear from drinks giant Tennent's, which has already giving its backing to minimum pricing.

In his submission to the committee, Mike Lees, managing director of Tennent Caledonian Breweries, said there was an "issue with a small group of consumers who purchase cheap alcohol in bulk, drink excessively at home and then go out into pubs and clubs and get into difficulties".

He added: "We believe that, if implemented appropriately, minimum pricing could be part of the solution by increasing the price of alcohol, particularly of high-strength products, and is one way of addressing the alcohol abuse issues that we face in Scotland.

"Consequently, Tennent's supports the proposals to introduce minimum pricing so long as the measures proposed are fair, proportionate and part of an overall programme to reduce the abuse of alcohol.

"We believe passionately that responsible adults have the right to enjoy drinking sensibly and we believe that minimum pricing, when combined with other measures, may contribute to an improvement in society."

Article Courtesy of STV



09 Mar

Whisky, Food and Mhor

TWO family-owned Scottish treasures which put ingredients, passion and taste at the heart of what they do, picturesque Glengoyne Distillery and the fabled Monachyle Mhor hotel, are offering two exceptional culinary travel breaks perfect for the ultimate food and whisky lover.

The packages, designed to embody Glengoyne’s “Real Taste of Malt, Real Taste of Food” credentials, are available as a one-night break from £280 per couple or a two-night master class packed with fine food and rare whisky from £684 per couple.

The Mhor Food and Whisky master classes have been designed with the food-loving whisky fan in mind. Taking food and whisky pairing to the next level, this exclusive two-night break includes not only the finest food the area has to offer, but a taste of Glengoyne’s oldest, rarest and most valuable whisky – The Glengoyne 40 Years Old, worth more than £200 per dram.

Hosted by renowned chef Tom Lewis and Glengoyne brand heritage manager Stuart Hendry, these special events encompass the finest seasonal ingredients from Mhor hill farm, cottage garden and shooting estate, old and rare Glengoyne whiskies, great wine and a touch of fun.

Included in this very special event are:

Two nights’ dinner, bed and breakfast at Monachyle Mhor Hotel.

A welcome dram of Glengoyne 21 Years Old on arrival at Monachyle Mhor served with a traditional Scottish delicacy created by Mhor to match the whisky.

Seasonal cooking demonstration and lunch with Tom Lewis at his Mhor Fish cafe in Callander.

A master-blender session at Glengoyne, Scotland’s most beautiful distillery.

Transport through the Trossachs with the mobile tutored nosing session using Glengoyne’s specially designed kit, along with a guide to talk through the history of whisky-making in the local area.

Rare opportunity to taste the exceptional Glengoyne 40 Years Old.

Evening meal at Monachyle Mhor hosted by Stuart Hendry and introduced by Tom Lewis pairing the best local ingredients that Scotland has to offer with Glengoyne whiskies and Glen Guin wines, another quality brand with its history rooted in the local area.

These very exclusive, two-night special events take place four times per year on June 16, September 8 and November 10, with prices starting from £684 per room, based on two sharing.

Alternatively, the one-night Whisky, Food and Mhor break includes dinner, bed and breakfast at the sumptuous Monachyle Mhor Hotel.

On arrival at the hotel, enjoy a dram of the exceptional Glengoyne 21 Years Old Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky, together with a traditional Scottish black bun specially created by Mhor to complement the rich honey flavours of the whisky.

The following day, guests make their own way through the picturesque Trossachs for a special experience at Glengoyne Distillery.

The master-blender session will guide enthusiasts through the distillery and into the spectacular sample room, where each guest will create their very own blend with a word or two of encouragement from the expert blender. The creation is then bottled to take home and enjoy.

The one-night Whisky, Food and Mhor break is available all year with prices starting from £280 per room, based on two sharing.

Glengoyne and Mhor are within easy reach of Glasgow and Edinburgh, set in the spectacular scenery of the Trossachs.

For further information or to book, visit or

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

Press & Journal

08 Mar

Ardbeg whisky ecommerce site generates £500,000 in sales in first week

Glenmorangie has generated £500,000 worth of revenue and increased membership of its fan club by 2,000 since it launched an ecommerce site for its Ardbeg whisky brand last week.

Glenmorangie launched the ecommerce site, created by Edinburgh-based agency Story, to boost global sales of its special-edition Ardbeg Rollercoaster whisky.

Ardbeg Rollercoaster was issued to celebrate the tenth anniversary of Glenmorangie’s relaunch of the Ardbeg brand.

Hamish Torrie, brand director at the Glenmorangie Company, said the campaign generated orders for 10,000 bottles in its first week. Ardbeg Rollercoaster retails at £50 a bottle.

The campaign also encouraged an additional 2,000 consumers to sign up to Glenmorangie’s 50,000-strong fan club, the Ardbeg Committee, according to Torrie.

The company generated interest in the ecommerce site through a direct mail campaign in the run-up to launch. “Through this mix of old techniques and new technology we generated huge demand,” said Torrie. “Ardbeg is a very cult brand so we wanted to keep a hand-made element to the campaign.”

Article Courtesy of New Media Age

New Media Age

08 Mar

Scotland's favourite whisky revealed

The title of Scotland’s best-loved single malt whisky has changed hands for the first time in over a decade.

After 13 years, Glenmorangie has lost its top tipple title to rival Glenfiddich.

Latest sales figures show sales of Glenfiddich have increased by 24%, while Glenmorangie purchases have fallen by the same figure.

The Dufftown-brand is already the leading single malt in the UK market but according to trade magazine The Grocer, this is the first time it has claimed the Scotland title.

Owner William Grant & Sons put Glenfiddich’s success down to its continued investment in the brand.

Glenmorangie was bought by Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton in 2004.

Edinburgh-based whisky writer Charles Maclean told the Scotsman newspaper he was surprised to hear the figures.

He said: "It's difficult to understand why this change has happened. I would think it comes down to advertising and pricing. From a taste perspective, Glenmorangie have upped their game. Its little things like filtration that have enhanced the flavour, and that can be influenced by a whole range of factors in malt whisky.

"Generally distillers don't like to change the flavour of their produce because customers don't like it. And 90% of whisky goes into blends.

"But I think Scots are shopping around a bit more. Both Glenmorangie and Glenfiddich are relatively light styles of malt whisky compared to McCallum's, for example."

Glenmorangie are due to move its headquarters from Broxburn, West Lothian to the east end of Edinburgh before the end of the year.

In 2008, the top brands in the UK were Glenfiddich, followed by Glenmorangie Original, Glenlivet, Glenmorangie 10 year old, Laphroaig, Highland Park, Aberlour, Glen Moray, Isle of Jura and Talisker.

Article Courtesy of STV



05 Mar

Euro blow to SNP’s minimum pricing plan for alcohol

Judges in Luxembourg rule that similar measures for tobacco in other countries are illegal

Scottish Government plans to put a minimum price on alcohol suffered another blow yesterday after a judgment by the European Court of Justice.

The court in Luxembourg ruled that similar measures on tobacco in Ireland, France and Austria were illegal and went against European directives.

It said the restrictions on tobacco “undermines the freedom of manufacturers and importers to determine the maximum retail selling prices of their products and, correspondingly, free competition”.

As opponents argued the ruling undermined the government’s plans to impose a minimum price per unit of alcohol, ministers insisted the ruling did not alter their plans because it was restricted to tobacco.

The ruling upholds an opinion by Europe’s advocate general in October that minimum pricing unfairly distorts competition. It also appears to support case law going back 30 years.

Scotch Whisky Association chief executive Gavin Hewitt said: “The government must now recognise the legal realities.

“It cannot introduce a trade barrier in breach of the UK’s European obligations by imposing minimum pricing on alcohol in Scotland.”

Minimum pricing is included in the alcohol bill going through the Scottish Parliament. It has yet to be established what price might be imposed but 40p is the most quoted figure – which would mean a bottle of wine costing no less than £3.90, six cans of lager £4.22, a bottle of cider £6, a bottle of vodka £10.50 and a bottle of whisky £10.90.

Labour health spokesman Jackie Baillie said the ruling was a “severe blow” to the SNP’s plans.

“We can only assume that ministers have failed to clear up doubts over their plans because they have something to hide.

“Minimum unit pricing is the wrong policy but it now looks increasing likely that it is also legally incompetent.”

Tory chief whip David McLetchie said: “The SNP plan for blanket minimum pricing has been given its legal comeuppance by the European Court and should now be ditched.”

But the Scottish Government said the ruling would not change its strategy. It said because there is a bill on the issue it has been declared legally competent by the presiding officer.

A spokeswoman said: “We have already made clear that this long-running case concerns tobacco and a specific directive on tobacco. It does not relate to minimum pricing for alcohol.”

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

Press & Journal

04 Mar

A Double Dram of Gold for Smokehead

SMOKEHEAD, Ian Macleod Distiller’s Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky, has been awarded two Gold Medals in the highly respected Beverage Testing Institutes’ (BTI) 2009 International Review of Spirits Packaging Competition in the USA.

Chosen by a prestigious judging panel of top design artists, spirits writers, retail and on-premise buyers, Smokehead was selected from over 100 entries to win Gold Medals in the Creativity and Graphic Design categories.

Created by London-based design group Navyblue, the strong upbeat design and packaging uses a variety of adjectives such as Robust, Monstrous and Boisterous to allude and celebrate the explosively smoky and peaty flavours of this powerful Islay Single Malt.

The Smokehead bottle also received a Bronze Medal in the Style category and was named overall Best Bottle Runner-up, while its innovative embossed and debossed presentation tin received a Silver Medal in the Graphic Design category.

Iain Weir, Marketing Director for Ian Macleod Distillers, commented; “We are delighted that Smokehead’s standout design has been recognised by such an internationally respected institution as the BTI. We are very proud of Smokehead’s bold, contemporary and exciting style, which commands attention and appeals directly to the discerning and adventurous ‘modern drinker’.”

Since its launch in 2006, the quality of both Smokehead’s design and taste has received a number of prestigious accolades, including gold medals in the Scottish Field Whisky Challenge and the Wine and Spirit Design Awards, as well as the overall trophy for Design of the Year 2006/07. Other products in the Smokehead range include the one litre bottle, Smokehead Extra Rare (Travel Retail Exclusive) and the premium 18 Years Old Smokehead Extra Black.

Founded in 1981, the BTI is one of the world’s foremost authorities on alcoholic beverages, independently reviewing thousands of wines, beers and spirits every year. With a mission to create fair and reliable reviews for consumers, its buying guides have appeared in many publications including The New Yorker Magazine, Wine & Spirits International, CNBC, BBC Radio International and The Chicago Tribune.

A full list of winners the International Review of Spirits Packaging Competition 2009 can be viewed

Described as being like a cannonball, Smokehead is an explosive combination of peat, smoke and spice with some delicate sweetness. The single malt flavour is described as fresh, fruity and immense, with notes of sherry, iodine, toffee, smoke and sea salt. The taste hits the palate at once with cocoa, peat and some honey sweetness, before exploding with peppery spice and more earthy peat.

Smokehead is available in the USA and worldwide. Details of some global stockists can be found on the website

Article Courtesy of Press Release

Press Release

03 Mar

Glenrothes whisky tasting

Claire Hu savours the atmosphere, and flavour, of a vertical Glenrothes tasting in Speyside.

Tasting whisky at a distillery in the midst of a Scottish winter, following an ethereal trek through the glittering snow to get there, was an almost spiritual experience. Glenrothes was not distilling the day we visited, and as we worked our way through the range and night fell, it became eerily quiet. The graveyard opposite added to the atmosphere.

The tasting gave clues about the main influences on single malt, which appeared to be less about the raw materials (malted barley, water, yeast) when compared to wine and more about the type and length of wood ageing; interaction between the spirit and the copper still; the length of distillation and where the middle “cut” is taken.

Speyside whiskies are generally unpeated so lack the intense smoky notes of some of the Islay whiskies, for example.

Tasting 1977, 1985 and 1998 malts from cask, drawing up the spirit using a type of giant metal straw, gave an interesting insight into stylistic variation. The youngest, having been matured in ex-oloroso sherry butts, was a mahogany-brown in colour and notes of molasses and Coca-Cola while the oldest had a gorgeous perfume and depth.

Personal highlights of a tasting of the range were the Select Reserve (B), a lifted malt bursting full of orange marmalade, freshly baked brioche, marzipan, pears, lemon zest and steamed pudding. Absolutely yummy.

The Glenrothes 1991 (B) was my favourite vintage, showing toffee, caramel, prunes and a hint of cough syrup. It was mellow in the mouth but still had an edge of refreshing bitter orange acidity, and the wood was well-integrated - a bit like standing near a freshly polished mahogany piano.

The 1985 (B) had a savoury edge and an amazing nose - packed with opulent notes of blossom, baking apples, cloves, with a savoury and herbal edge and a very long length. I found the newer bottlings, such as Robur Reserve 25 year old (B), exclusive to Duty Free, and Alba Reserve (B), matured in ex-Bourbon casks and with a coconut, vanilla and aromatic edge, less interesting.

We ended on a 1966 (B) - a real treat. Treacle, dried fruit, oak, candied walnuts, roast chestnuts, incense - the list of its qualities was seemingly endless and it would make an ideal fireside whisky.

Article Courtesy of Harpers


02 Mar

New Glenfiddich Rich Oak Single Malt

Delicately finished in untouched American and European oak casks, Glenfiddich today honours the distillery's long history of wood mastery with the release of the 14 year old Glenfiddich Rich Oak Single Malt Scotch Whisky.

The use of untouched European oak casks is a first for the single malt whisky industry, and the Glenfiddich Rich Oak is the latest in a long line of groundbreaking whiskies from the world's most awarded distillery, and First Drinks.

The Glenfiddich Rich Oak is testament to the pioneering spirit of the distillery's founder William Grant, and the skill and precision required by Glenfiddich's sixth Malt Master, Brian Kinsman, who has been instrumental throughout the final stages of a nurturing process that has given rise to a whisky of exceptional quality and flavour.

To celebrate the whisky's unique association with virgin European wood, Glenfiddich is planning to plant a Glenfiddich Oak Forest, to provide an ever-lasting legacy to the launch of Glenfiddich Rich Oak.

The current Chairman and fifth generation descendent of the distillery's founder, Peter Gordon, will plant the first sapling in March 2010, ahead of a grand opening in November.

Article Courtesy of Talking Retail

Talking Retail

01 Mar

New headquarters for Glenmorangie whisky firm

Whisky company Glenmorangie has found a new home for its headquarters in the centre of Edinburgh.

The company has announced it is to move to The Cube building in the east end of the city centre.

The move, from its current offices in Broxburn, West Lothian, is expected to be completed by September 2010.

Officials said the new location was chosen due to its "excellent transport links and amenities" and contemporary design.

Work is also underway at the Glenmorangie Company's new bottling facility at the Alba Campus in Livingston.

The purpose-built, bottling facility will allow for an increase in production of Glenmorangie and Ardbeg to meet future demand for premium single malt whisky in growing markets such as Asia, Europe and the USA.

Paul Neep, the Glenmorangie Company chief executive, said: "Moving our headquarters into Edinburgh's city centre, Scotland's cosmopolitan capital city, is another exciting step in the Glenmorangie Company's ongoing development."

The Cube was designed by Allan Murray Architects, constructed by Sir Robert McAlpine and is owned by German Real Estate company, IVG.

Article Courtesy of BBCi

February 2010 Scotch Whisky News

26 Feb

Portsoy distillery hoping to offer visitors an even warmer welcome

Proposal to convert original Glenglassaugh offices into hospitality suite

A new visitor centre is on the cards for a north-east distillery which has been brought back into production after being mothballed for 22 years.

Glenglassaugh Distillery, near Portsoy, has tabled plans to convert office space into a visitor centre, exhibition area and shop.

The proposed development is the latest venture at the plant, which was reopened in 2008.

Managing director Stuart Nickerson said: “We have had a number of requests from people who want to look round the distillery.

“Last year we showed between 300 and 400 people round, but we don’t have proper hospitality facilities.

“Our visitor centre will not be large, but it will cope with the demand.”

The plan is to convert the distillery’s original offices for the development.

“We will use three areas for an exhibition, whisky tasting and a shop,” said Mr Nickerson. “The offices are fundamentally in good enough condition and ideal for this purpose.”

The planning application has been lodged with Aberdeenshire Council and Mr Nickerson hopes the centre will be ready for summer.

He said it would bring benefits to the distillery and could also act as a draw to the general area for tourists.

“Visitors might want to go to Portsoy or Cullen after they have been to the distillery for meals or shopping,” he said.

Glenglassaugh, which was built in 1875, was mothballed in 1986 when distilling companies reviewed the economics of small distilleries.

It was bought by European investment house Scaent in a £5million deal and was officially reopened by First Minister Alex Salmond.

Scaent executives said the company had been keen to purchase a distillery with a sound heritage.

As part of the purchase deal, Scaent acquired existing stocks of whisky which have been released in limited editions.

Mr Nickerson said that, since production resumed, the Glenglassaugh brand had been introduced to 15 countries worldwide.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

Press & Journal

24 Feb

Producers fear malting barley returns will not be worth effort

Claim that Many farmers set to turn backs on crop because of price woes

A substantial number of arable growers appear unlikely to sow malting barley this year because of the poor prices they are being offered for their grain.

Charlie Birnie, the commercial director of farmers’ co-operative GrainCo, yesterday said growers did not see any profits in a crop that is the main ingredient in whisky and beer production.

He said: “At this moment in time there are a number of farmers who are intending not to sow unless they see a contract from the maltsters with a good price on it. This is more than a handful of growers. It is quite a substantial number. It may well be what is going to be needed to reduce the tonnage of grain as there has been a huge carryover of malting barley.”

The price woes stem from farmers last year ignoring market signals about the state of the economy and likely poor demand from maltsters, distillers and brewers.

Instead of growing less barley, they planted more with the result the market was deluged with grain because of a near record harvest across Europe.

Malt production this year is again expected to be lower than normal. Bob King, the commercial director at the Crisp Malting Group, expects malting barley demand to be down 1-1.5million tonnes across the EU. And he warned that with maltings expected to only be operating at 80-85% capacity in the year ahead this would have considerable implications on the market, with a potential surplus of up to 400,000 tonnes if the UK manages to produce its normal 2million-tonne harvest this summer.

Mr King was not surprised to hear growers questioning the viability of the malting barley, adding that with fertiliser prices increasing the economics of growing it did not add up, particularly in Scotland.

Both he and Mr Birnie also said the weather could have a substantial impact on spring sowings as the rain, snow and frost of recent months had meant little field work had been done since the autumn. This is likely to mean land being left fallow because of a huge backlog of work and the possibility of insufficient being left to both plough and drill.

Mr King said any drop in production would normally support prices, but he added: “The hangover of 2009 crop malting barley and lack of signs of increased demand from the end market give no relief to the continued bearish tone to the market.

“There is very little buying interest from maltsters for crop 2010 barley, what purchases that are made are predominantly for delivery January 2011 onwards, with malt production in late 2010 being made using existing stocks of crop 2009 barley.”

Going forward Mr King said the expectation for 2011 was for some market stability, although he doubted any significant increase in malt demand. He added: “For growers, particularly in the UK, the priority for harvest 2011 will be to produce as much wheat and oilseeds as possible as they are both potentially the most profitable crops they can grow.”

That, Mr King believes, will reduce the available area for spring barley, which could potentially bring supplies back in line with demand.

The outlook remained bearish, but he said: “All forecasts for the next 18 months are predicated on the old adage that farmers will, on a warm, sunny day get on their tractor and plant a crop rather than see a bare field. Perhaps this spring some will not.”

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

Press & Journal

21 Feb

Legal Lewis whisky will make history

A Stornoway-born Glasgow publican is preparing to make whisky history by bringing home a cask of the first spirit to be distilled legally on the Isle of Lewis in more than 160 years.

Mike Donald, manager of Glasgow’s Sub Club and head of marketing for music bar MacSorleys, is setting off tomorrow on a 600-mile round trip to secure the only cask to leave Lewis free from the threat of the dreaded excise man since killjoy prohibitionists demolished the island’s sole distillery in 1844.

The “new make” spirit is only two years old, and will not officially become whisky for another 12 months, but a handpicked group of drinkers will be given a once-in-a-lifetime chance to taste the new dram when Mr Donald returns to the city on Thursday.

Made by the purpose-built Abhainn Dearg distillery in Uig, the Spirit of Lewis whisky, as it will be known, is described as “intensely floral” and “extremely drinkable” in its underage spirit form.

Drinkers should be warned, though, that at 65% abv, the new make spirit packs a punch that will take the breath away from even the hardiest of Scottish tipplers.

Mr Donald will be joined on his quest by colleagues Mike Grieve and Paul Crawford, the owners of MacSorley’s bar, and photographer Brian Sweeney, who will document the three-day journey.

The bar’s island-born marketing manager said it was fitting Abhainn Dearg should make its debut at MacSorley’s, a Glasgow bar with more than 100 years of heritage as one of the city’s best-loved Highland haunts.

“I’ve been doing a lot of digging about the history here,” said Mr Donald, “and the thing that kept coming up was that it was a real Highland bar, a home away from home for Highlanders.”

The owners of Abhainn Dearg – meaning “red river” in Gaelic – have agreed to release a 40-litre cask to MacSorley’s, which took its name from the publican who opened it in 1899.

Article Courtesy of The Scottish Herald

The Scottish Herald

20 Feb

Dee Dram to boost river trust

Special whisky will get the conservation cash flowing

A SPECIAL limited-edition whisky which will help raise funds to conserve one of Scotland’s most important salmon rivers has arrived in Deeside.

The first 100 cases of the Dee Dram, a partnership between the River Dee Trust and The Dalmore, part of the Whyte and Mackay group, were unveiled at Aboyne this week.

Money from sales of the whisky will be donated to the Dee Trust towards conservation work on the river.

The Dee Dram got a positive response when it was unveiled at the opening of the river earlier this month with Billy Connolly.

Among the work that the money will contribute towards is a £150,000 fish pass to be installed at the Culter Dam near Culter in the summer. The pass will help salmon and sea trout access more than 60 miles of river that has been closed to them for more than 100 years.

“It will allow us to introduce migratory fish into the territory and produce a lot more fish for the river,” said fisheries development officer Ken Reid.

Other important projects include planting native trees on the riverbanks and improving the habitat along tributaries to the River Dee.

A limited supply of 3,600 bottles will be produced of the Dee Dram and sold online and from George Strachan’s shops at Aboyne, Braemar and Ballater.

For every £32 bottle sold, £30 will go to the trust, which includes match-funding from Europe. “We have taken orders for 100 cases in two weeks after the public opening,” said Mr Reid.

“What we are trying to do is bring the whole community together. There is more and more local production getting out to the community.”

The 12-year-old malt whisky has been half aged in Oloroso sherry wood and half in American white oak casks.

To order a bottle go to or phone George Strachan at Aboyne on 013398 86121.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

Press & Journal

19 Feb

Visitscotland chief points to varied attractions on offer to visitors

New group will highlight vital role of tourism trade

The importance of the tourist industry to Moray will be in focus at the launch of the new Moray Tourism Development group.

Development and promotion of the sector will be among the main issues explored at the event at Glenfiddich Distillery.

VisitScotland chairman Peter Lederer, with other representatives from the national group and local industry members, will be in attendance.

Mr Lederer said: “The new group will encourage people to think about the great range of tourism opportunities in the area.

“Moray offers visitors many experiences, from whisky tasting to wildlife watching, and it is important that we work together to identify opportunities for collaboration and growth.”

The launch takes place next Wednesday and will include presentations and meetings involving VisitScotland representatives, local businesses, communities and other organisations.

Moray Tourism Development group chairman Andrew Martin will be officially introduced at the event.

He said: “I am passionate about what the Moray and Speyside area, and Scotland generally, has to offer.

“This event will provide a fantastic opportunity to bring together key players in the region.

“I am confident we can generate a sense of pride and belief which will lead to success for Moray.”

Tourism is worth £106million annually to the local economy and helps sustain more than 3,700 jobs.

Tourism bosses hope the figure can grow to £130million by 2012.

Moray tourism businesses have responded enthusiastically to the Glenfiddich event, and all places are filled.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

Press & Journal

19 Feb

Yard raid whisky 'on the market'

Police have appealed to the public to report any suspicious sales of whisky after a raid in southern Scotland.

Thieves made off with Grant's whisky worth about £250,000 from the Currie Group site near Dumfries last week.

The two trailers were spotted being towed north towards Moffat but were later found empty in Wigan and Widnes.

Det Insp Graham Kerr said anyone being offered Grant's whisky or any other brand for sale in the area should contact police immediately.

"They will be on the market somewhere, whether it is further down south in England where the lorries were disposed of or elsewhere," he said.

"If anybody is offered any Grant's whisky or any other whisky that they think is suspicious then we would be glad if they came and contacted us and let us know."

Dumfries and Galloway Constabulary has been studying CCTV footage at the site of the theft and also where the trailers were recovered.

Det Insp Kerr said he remained "hopeful" that police could capture the people who carried out the raid.

Article Courtesy of BBCi


18 Feb

Whisky students study secrets of the dram

North-east college offers course to locals and overseas enthusiasts

SCOTLAND’S national tipple is under scrutiny at a two-day course at Elgin.

A whisky course at Moray College has attracted both local and overseas students keen to discover the secrets of the “craitur”.

It has been organised by the college, retailers and whisky specialists Gordon and MacPhail, Elgin.

The course, which began yesterday and ends today, looks at all aspects, from the history of the drink to production and marketing.

Course students also have an opportunity to study nosing and tasting techniques.

Among the students are overseas visitors Craig McCormack and his uncle Alex McCormack from South Africa and Leah McDonnell and Bill Sommerville from Ontario, Canada.

They joined staff from Gordon and MacPhail and customers of the firm.

Moray College principal Mike Devenney said: “I am delighted we are in partnership with Gordon and MacPhail to offer this fascinating and unique course.”

The firm’s joint managing director David Urquhart said: “The international mix of participants in this course shows the appeal of whisky around the world.”

The course is available on an open learning course and takes the form of 20 hours of study using a CD-Rom format.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

Press & Journal

16 Feb

Whisky for the workers

A distillery in Scotland has produced a whisky to commemorate the volunteers who dug out Cairngorm earlier in the winter. It's called The Big D.

In January there was so much snow at Cairngorm that the resort was forced to close. No sooner had the access road been cleared than it was snowed under again. The same was true up the mountain with lifts buried under the snow.

We reported on the problem here and the huge efforts made, but even the diggers and heavy machinery couldn't get things open.

The solution was to ask for an army of volunteers to turn out to dig the resort out so it could open for skiing. Hundreds arrived.

In commemoration of their efforts the local Tomatin whisky Distillery has produced a finest blend Scotsh whisky and says it will present it to those involved in the dig out.

"It was a team effort on a huge scale involving paid employees as well as volunteers and contractors and it reminded me of the sense of community which is very much part of Tomatin Distillery's heritage - one worth acknowledging and celebrating" said the managing director of Tomatin, Tom McCulloch.

"This generous and unexpected gesture from Tomatin is hugely appreciated by all of us who work at CairnGorm Mountain" said Ian Whitaker, Chief Executive at CairnGorm Mountain Ltd.

However on some local ski chat forums people complain that they haven't been given a bottle yet for all their hard work and others say that it is just a blatant publicity stunt.

The good snow is continuing and drawing in record crowds to Cairngorm particularly this half term week.

'We are already fully booked for much of the week with 55 instructors working I am sure the rest of the week will also be full soon as the phone is red hot, and we are struggling to keep up with enquiries," says the director of the local ski school, Mike Shepherd.

"It just seems to carry on with a bit of fresh snow each night. We've had some misty days however the snow is good and the long term forecast seems to suggest it will stay cold with more snow on the way. Yippee!"

It is likely there will be queues for services like the ticket office, ski hire and ski school.

The resort is offering the following advise for anyone travelling to Cairngorm.

"Please check electronic signs on the ski road for car park status updates. A public bus service runs from Aviemore Station on a regular basis we would encourage the public to use this service if car parks are full. Car sharing is also highly recommended so we can maximize car park space."

Look out for locals drinking whisky too!

Article Courtesy of Planet Ski

Planet Ski

14 Feb

Islay malt defies downturn

Morrison Bowmore Distillers has achieved a 12% hike in sales of its flagship Islay single malt, despite the global economic downturn.

Japanese parent company Suntory has revealed to The Herald that almost two million bottles were sold in 2009.

This jump was achieved against the backdrop of what Suntory estimates was a flat market for the single malt category last year and amid tougher times for distillers attempting to sell to a recession-struck US market.

Toshihiko Kumakura, executive general manager of Suntory’s international liquor division, told The Herald during an interview in Tokyo that 164,000 cases of Bowmore single malt were sold last year.

He said this was up from the 146,000 cases sold in 2008 and hoped sales would hit 200,000 cases a year in the “near future”. Each care contains 12 bottles.

Kumakura also pointed out the fact that this Islay malt was selling just 21,000 cases in 1990.

Suntory acquired a stake in Morrison Bowmore in 1989. It took 100% ownership in 1994.

Kumakura hailed Suntory’s successful efforts to make Morrison Bowmore a profitable business by reducing its reliance on the

volatile bulk whisky market and focusing on building the brands. Suntory’s own figures put its Japanese single malt Yamazaki in number nine position in 2008, with this whisky the only non-Scotch brand in the top 10.

The Bowmore single malt achieved a 7% rise in exports to Japan last year, to 12,000 cases.

Kumakura said a boost in sales of Bowmore in the US in January was achieved despite tough times with US distributors de-stocking amid the global downturn.

Morrison Bowmore’s portfolio includes Auchentoshan, which Suntory describes as the biggest-selling lowland single malt, the Glen Garioch single malt from Oldmeldrum in Aberdeenshire, and McClellands.

Explaining the sharp rise in Bowmore’s sales since 1990, and the profitability which had been established, Kumakura said: “We invested in the brands.”

He said Morrison Bowmore previously did much more bulk, as opposed to bottled, trade: “Bulk business is not stable business.”

Suntory also achieved a rise in sales of its Yamazaki Japanese

single malt whisky last year.

The bulk of Yamazaki sales continue to be in Japan but Suntory aims to boost export volumes.

Keita Minari, global brand manager for Yamazaki, revealed plans to increase exports of this single malt to Europe from 11,392 cases last year to 35,000 cases by 2012 and 60,000 cases by 2015.

Asked if he saw Bowmore and Yamazaki as complementary to each other, or in competition, in export markets, Minari replied: “Japanese whisky is very different from Scotch whisky, especially the Islay whiskies, so I don’t think we compete with each other.”

Referring to Suntory’s move into Scotch whisky with the start of distillation in the 1920s at Yamazaki, located between the Japanese cities of Kyoto and Osaka, Kumakura said: “We learned from Scotland how to make whisky 80 years ago but now Japanese whisky is considered very unique, I think because of the climate in Japan.”

Article Courtesy of The Scottish Herald

The Scottish Herald

12 Feb

£100,000 of Scotch whisky stolen

More than £100,000 worth of whisky has been stolen from a Scottish transport depot.

Police are investigating the theft of two trailer loads of Grant's blended Scotch whisky, from yard in Dumfries on Wednesday, February 10.

CCTV footage indicates that two trailers were removed from the Currie Group Yard at Heathhall at around midnight.

The tractor units; one a white Scania and the other a blue Daf were later seen towing two Currie trailers north on the A701 towards Moffat.

Detective inspector, Graham Kerr, senior investigating officer in the case said: We are seeking the help of the public in trying to track the movements of these two tractor units, either prior to the theft without the trailers, or after the theft with the trailers attached.

"It seems that a good deal of planning went into this theft and anyone who may have seen anything suspicious in or around the yard in the days prior to the theft are asked to contact us. No piece of information should be considered too small in a crime like this, it may well be that it fits into the jigsaw that we are trying to piece together”

Contact 0845 600 5701 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Article Courtesy of Harpers


10 Feb

Whisky firms claim alcohol price controls would hit sales

Industry fears law change could cost £600m in exports and lead to job losses

The whisky industry insisted yesterday that it would lose out if minimum prices were applied to alcohol.

A Holyrood committee heard claims that the Scottish Government plan could wipe up to £600million from annual exports and lead to job losses.

Some MSPs argue that only a tiny proportion of the industry’s sales will be affected by the proposed Alcohol Bill, given the “premium” cost of whisky.

But Scotch Whisky Association chief executive Gavin Hewitt told the finance committee other countries would use the legislation to create trade barriers to protect their domestic brands.

He was concerned that “critical markets” such as Korea would argue for “health-based” restrictions on whisky imports.

Mr Hewitt offered support for attempts to tackle alcohol abuse, but he added: “I think it is important to recognise that we understand the overseas market and the effect of the overseas market.

“We’ve been working in that area for a very long time and I just wish that MSPs and government ministers would take some of our concerns about the effect of minimum pricing.”

Details of the proposed minimum price have not been decided by ministers, but a guideline of 40p per unit has been used as an illustration.

The UK accounts for 8% of world whisky sales, of which 20% is sold in Scotland. Of that, MSPs were told, 30% falls under the 40p guideline.

The SWA conceded that, overall, “value” sales were small but said some businesses relied on the market.

Mr Hewitt also argued that minimum pricing might be illegal under European Union trade rules – a claim the government rejects.

In a written submission to the committee, Mr Hewitt added: “The minimum pricing proposal will have significant financial implications for the Scotch whisky industry and the wider economy which relies on the sector.

“This impact will be exacerbated by the continuing economic uncertainty.”

The committee also heard from Scottish Grocers’ Federation chief executive John Drummond.

He said the pricing plan would stop supermarkets running “loss-leader” promotions on alcohol.

But small retailers would be forced to spend time and money altering their pricing structure.

He also argued that some shoppers in the south could cross over the border to England, further penalising small traders.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

Press & Journal

09 Feb

Isle of Lewis whisky draws international interest

The Isle of Lewis' first whisky distillery in 170 years is aiming to double its production and to increase the quantity of island grown barley that it uses over the coming year.

Abhainn Dearg, or Red River Distillery, which will bottle its first single malt next year, is working with Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) to identify its goals and create a growth plan. HIE shares the business' aspirations to build on the world wide interest their unique island produced dram is already creating.

Local businessman Marko Tayburn fulfilled a dream when he re-developed a former salmon hatchery at Uig to create the distillery. Tastings of the new spirit at Abhainn Dearg have already received critical acclaim. The single malt, which takes a minimum of three years to mature, will be available for the Royal National Mod's return to the islands in 2011.

"The Western Isles is a very resourceful area, with many different products being made using high quality methods. I had felt for a long time that there was an opportunity to make our own whisky and to do it in a traditional way, from field to bottle," said Marko.

He added: "Last year about 10% of our grain was grown on Lewis. We have had significant interest from local crofters and I hope that figure will grow this year. I also plan to double our production levels."

Abhainn Dearg is a one of 350 growing businesses and social enterprises from across the region which HIE has been building an on-going client relationship with over the past two years. The aim is to create development plans which will have positive outcomes for businesses and their communities. The closer working relationship and shared goals means that HIE support can flow from the needs of the business.

Marko commented: "HIE has helped me throughout the process. In the early days I went to Bruichladdich to look at the distilling process. HIE has also used their network of contacts to put me in touch with high level whisky business experts who gave me advice and boosted my confidence. And just this month I have been working with Scottish Development International to look at global markets."

HIE's Margaret MacLeod says that the work with Abhainn Dearg is representative of what HIE is about.

"Marko has a true entrepreneurial spirit and his re-introduction of a distillery to the islands is an exciting project in many ways. There will be more benefits to local communities in terms of employment and already the distillery has increased visitor numbers to the islands. As the business aspires to achieve 'field to bottle' malt whisky Abhainn Dearg has put Uig, and the Outer Hebrides on the international whisky map."

Article Courtesy of Highlands and Islands Enterprise

Highlands and Islands Enterprise

05 Feb

Shackleton's whisky recovered from South Pole ice

Five crates of Scotch whisky and brandy belonging to the polar explorer Ernest Shackleton have been recovered after more than 100 years in the ice.

They were buried beneath Shackleton's Antarctic hut, built in 1908 for a failed expedition to the South Pole.

Some of the crates have cracked and ice has formed inside, which means experts will face a delicate task in trying to extract the contents.

The ice-bound crates were first discovered three years ago.

The master blender at whisky company Whyte and Mackay said the find was a "gift from the heavens" for whisky lovers.

Richard Paterson, whose firm supplied the Mackinlay's whisky for Shackleton, said: "If the contents can be confirmed, safely extracted and analysed, the original blend may be able to be replicated.

"Given the original recipe no longer exists this may open a door into history."

The alcohol was removed from the ice by the New Zealand Antarctic Heritage Trust, which had initially believed there to be just two crates.

Al Fastier from the trust said: "To our amazement we found five crates, three labelled as containing whisky and two labelled as containing brandy.

"The unexpected find of the brandy crates, one labelled Chas Mackinlay & Co and the other labelled The Hunter Valley Distillery Limited, Allandale, are a real bonus."

Mr Fastier said the trust was confident the crates contained intact alcohol, given that liquid could be heard when the crates were moved.

The smell of whisky in the surrounding ice also indicated full bottles of spirits were inside, albeit that one or more might have broken.

Shackleton's expedition ran short of supplies on their long trek to the South Pole from Cape Royds in 1907-1909 and they eventually fell about 100 miles (160 kilometres) short of their goal.

Shackleton's expedition sailed from Cape Royds hurriedly in 1909 as winter ice began forming in the sea, forcing them to leave some equipment and supplies, including the whisky, behind. However, no lives were lost.

The pole was first reached in 1911 by Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen.

Article Courtesy of BBCi


07 Feb

Speymalt’s organic idea

Speymalt Whisky Distributors, which trades as Gordon & MacPhail, last week received its latest shipment of barley for its Benromach Organic product.

Millions upon millions of tiny golden grains of local organically-grown barley arrived at Benromach Distillery in Forres to boost production of the fast-growing whisky brand’s innovative organic malt whisky.

Since 2006, Speyside’s smallest distillery has been using this barley to produce Benromach Organic, which was the first bottled single malt to be fully certified by the Soil Association.

The award-winning malt, which has been described in whisky circles as “an absolute treat” and proved popular with drinks enthusiasts worldwide, was created last year.

Benromach Distillery manager Keith Cruickshank said: “It’s a pleasure to be taking delivery of 30 tonnes of organic barley grown just a few miles from where I stand.”

Cruickshank added: “It will be several years before the spirit produced from this particular batch will be bottled and presented as Benromach Organic, but in the meantime we hope fans of our whisky continue to enjoy the stock we have already laid down and continue to bottle every year.”

In December, the company revealed that one of the biggest drivers behind its announced 13% sales increase was Benromach Traditional, as the company attempted to innovate its way out of the slump.

Speymalt’s strategy demonstrates how a small distiller can manoeuvre its way through a global downturn.

Michael Urquhart, a director at Speymalt, said: “We look to be flexible and innovative.

“We were the first to introduce a fully certified organic whisky in the world, for example.”

He also said sales were supported by Benromach Peat Smoke and Benromach Origins, an “innovative series of special bottlings, crafted to highlight how small changes in the art of whisky-making can make a difference to the final character of the malt.”

Article Courtesy of The Scottish Herald

The Scottish Herald

05 Feb

Shackleton's whisky recovered from South Pole ice

Five crates of Scotch whisky and brandy belonging to the polar explorer Ernest Shackleton have been recovered after more than 100 years in the ice.

They were buried beneath Shackleton's Antarctic hut, built in 1908 for a failed expedition to the South Pole.

Some of the crates have cracked and ice has formed inside, which means experts will face a delicate task in trying to extract the contents.

The ice-bound crates were first discovered three years ago.

The master blender at whisky company Whyte and Mackay said the find was a "gift from the heavens" for whisky lovers.

Richard Paterson, whose firm supplied the Mackinlay's whisky for Shackleton, said: "If the contents can be confirmed, safely extracted and analysed, the original blend may be able to be replicated.

"Given the original recipe no longer exists this may open a door into history."

The alcohol was removed from the ice by the New Zealand Antarctic Heritage Trust, which had initially believed there to be just two crates.

Al Fastier from the trust said: "To our amazement we found five crates, three labelled as containing whisky and two labelled as containing brandy.

"The unexpected find of the brandy crates, one labelled Chas Mackinlay & Co and the other labelled The Hunter Valley Distillery Limited, Allandale, are a real bonus."

Mr Fastier said the trust was confident the crates contained intact alcohol, given that liquid could be heard when the crates were moved.

The smell of whisky in the surrounding ice also indicated full bottles of spirits were inside, albeit that one or more might have broken.

Shackleton's expedition ran short of supplies on their long trek to the South Pole from Cape Royds in 1907-1909 and they eventually fell about 100 miles (160 kilometres) short of their goal.

Shackleton's expedition sailed from Cape Royds hurriedly in 1909 as winter ice began forming in the sea, forcing them to leave some equipment and supplies, including the whisky, behind. However, no lives were lost.

The pole was first reached in 1911 by Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen.

Article Courtesy of BBCi


04 Feb

Edrington taking over Cutty Sark whisky brand

BB&R acquires The Glenrothes as part of deal

Wine and spirit merchant Berry Bros and Rudd (BB&R) said yesterday it had agreed to sell its Cutty Sark blended whisky brand to Edrington Group.

The deal also sees BB&R acquiring The Glenrothes Speyside single malt brand from Edrington.

Meanwhile, the Glasgow-based maker of The Famous Grouse and The Macallan, has signed long-term supply agreements with BB&R and will retain ownership of Glenrothes Distillery at Rothes.

The value of the transaction, due to be concluded by April, was not disclosed.

An Edrington spokesman said the deal could see a small number of BB&R workers transferring to the new Cutty Sark owner, while job cuts – if any – would be kept to a minimum.

He added: “Employment opportunities are the subject of ongoing discussions.” Edrington will take over all distribution contracts in force for Cutty Sark at the time of completion.

Sales-and-distribution joint-venture Maxxium will continue to distribute The Glenrothes in key international markets.

Maxxium is also expected to provide a distribution option for other brands within BB&R’s “super-premium” spirit portfolio.

London-based BB&R, said its sale of Cutty Sark and acquisition of The Glenrothes – “one of the world’s fastest growing single malts” – were in line with a long-term vision. Managing director Hugh Sturges said: “We are convinced that future growth will come from us focusing even more on our strengths.

“That means targeting our sales and marketing efforts on brands and sectors where we can compete most effectively and develop market positions that will drive real value long-term.”

Edrington chief executive Ian Curle said the deal would bolster his group’s position in the whisky industry via an unrivalled and well-established portfolio of leading blended and single malt brands.

He added: “It improves our distribution in key territories and strengthens our position as an independent premium brand company.”

Edrington has supplied blended whisky for Cutty Sark for more than 70 years and is currently responsible for all aspects of producing the brand.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

Press & Journal

02 Feb

Whisky crates still on ice

Two whisky crates that have been encased in ice for more than 100 years will be open by the end of the week.

A team from the New Zealand Antarctic Heritage Trust is heading towards Sir Ernest Shackleton's hut at Cape Royds to carry out the excavation.

Trust executive director Nigel Watson says they will cut through ice to retrieve the crates that were spotted by chance three years ago.

It is unclear whether they contain the rare scotch whisky or other items.

The excavation will uncover about 5000 objects left behind by the British explorer and his team when they departed hastily in 1909.

Mr Watson says conservation of the Antarctic site is the team's top priority.

Article Courtesy of Radio New Zealand

Radio New Zealand

01 Feb

Cheap alcohol ‘damaging’ drinks industry, say distillers

Whisky producer comes out in favour of Scottish government’s minimum pricing plan

Cut-price promotions on alcohol are damaging the drinks industry, says the owner of Scotland’s smallest independent whisky distillery.

Edradour distillery, in Perthshire, is the latest manufacturer to back a controversial Scottish Government plan for minimum pricing.

Last week, Tennent’s announced that the plan could be “part of the solution” to the country’s £3.56billion alcohol problem.

Brewer Harviestoun and the Society of Independent Brewers Scotland, which represents 30 independent breweries, are also in favour of the plan.

Edradour owner Andrew Symington said: “We do not engage in irresponsible promotions and believe the industry is damaging itself when it does.

“On occasions, you can buy bottles of alcohol in supermarkets for less than bottled water, and in some cases alcohol is sold for less than the actual cost of duty and VAT.

“It does not make any sense or do the industry any good at all. We hope that the Scottish Parliament passes sensible legislation on this soon.”

Harviestoun Brewery owners Sandy Orr and Donald MacDonald said most medical opinion was overwhelmingly in favour of minimum pricing for alcohol.

Douglas Ross, of the Society of Independent Brewers Scotland, said: “Minimum pricing is potentially a way of protecting our pubs, their customers and, ultimately, the health of the nation.”

Drinks giant Diageo and brewer SABMiller are against minimum pricing, while the Scotch Whisky Association has claimed it may be illegal under EU law and may damage the whisky industry.

Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon said there was a “growing coalition” in favour of minimum pricing, which included the four chief medical officers of the UK, the BMA, the police and the pub trade.

“Minimum pricing is not a magic bullet,” she added, “but it is a step in the right direction.”

Labour yesterday pointed to recent government-commissioned research which showed that supermarkets were in for a £90million windfall as a result of minimum pricing.

Health spokeswoman Jackie Baillie said: “We need to consider radical measures to reduce the level of problem drinking, but minimum unit pricing is not the answer.”

Tory spokeswoman Mary Scanlon said minimum pricing would hit responsible drinkers rather than those who had a problem.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

Press & Journal
January 2010 Scotch Whisky News

29 Jan

100-year-old whisky for auction

One of the world's rarest half bottles of whisky is expected to fetch up to £6,000 when it is auctioned in Glasgow next week.

The bottle of Springbank was distilled by J & A Mitchell & Co Ltd in 1900 and drawn in 1927.

Other rare brands going under the hammer include Macallan, Dalmore, Talisker, Bowmore and Highland Park.

The rare whisky sale at McTear's Auctioneers is scheduled to go ahead on 3 February.

Article Courtesy of BBCi


27 Jan

Aged malt release for Glenfiddich

Glenfiddich has released a new batch of its 30-year-old whisky and a limited number of bottles of 40-year-old.

The annual release of 30-year-old will bear an individual bottle number and batch number for the first time with the precise casks used to create the whisky identified.

The spirit used in the whisky has been matured in Bourbon and oloroso sherry casks and the whisky has updated packaging design for the 2010 bottling.

The 30-year-old is being released globally, rolling out from this month and retailing with a guide price of £225 per bottle.

It is bottled at 43% abv.

Just 600 bottles of 40-year-old are being released, the sixth edition of the malt.

Peter Gordon, chairman of brand owner William Grant, said: "It is a great honour to release such a distinguished whisky to enthusiasts around the world and add to our existing portfolio of rare and precious aged single malts."

Glenfiddich 40-year-old is bottled at 45.8% abv and has a guide price of £1,700 per bottle.

Article Courtesy of Harpers


26 Jan

New evaporation system drives efficiency at leading whisky distillery

A new evaporation system based on Alfa Laval plate heat exchanger technology has helped one of Scotland’s largest independent malt whisky distilleries increase the concentration and quality of its Pot Ale.

Glenfarclas Distillery on Speyside was established in 1836 and is still owned and run by the Grant family who originally acquired the business in 1865. The distillery uses traditional processes and skills to produce its world-renowned single-malt whiskies, but it also invests heavily in the latest technology to maintain efficiency and quality. Consequently, while the still house glows with the reflected warmth of the traditional copper pot stills –the largest on Speyside - the Pot Ale area bristles with modern technology.

Pot Ale – or spent wash - is a by-product from the first distillation stage in malt whisky production. In the early days of distilling this valuable product was simply poured away. Once its value was appreciated, however, more effort was made to recover it and improve its quality. Concentrated into a syrup and rich in proteins, carbohydrates and yeast residues, it makes a highly-nutritious livestock feed; either on its own or mixed with Draff - spent malted barley grains - to produce what are known as Dark Grains. These days, Glenfarclas produces around 4 tonnes of Pot Ale syrup a day for sale to feed producers around the UK.

At Glenfarclas, Pot Ale is concentrated to around 45% solids using evaporation. Prior to the installation of the Alfa Laval system, Glenfarclas employed a conventional falling film, shell & tube evaporator for this duty.

As Shane Fraser, the distillery’s production manager explains, it was very inefficient and extremely difficult to maintain.

“The old evaporator gave us a lot of problems simply because it fouled so easily,” Shane said. “It was extremely difficult to clean and maintain because it was over 6 metres high and impossible to access. Towards the end, we were probably operating at 50% efficiency because the evaporator was fouling so badly.”

In the autumn of 2007, Shane contacted Alfa Laval to discuss the installation of a new Pot Ale evaporation system. The brief was for the equipment to offer high levels of thermal efficiency yet to be low fouling and easy to access for maintenance and cleaning. Alfa Laval’s plate heat exchanger technology suited this description and provided the added advantage of compact size and low weight which kept the space needed for the total installation to a minimum.

Since Alfa Laval is also a leading supplier of sanitary flow equipment, they were able to design a plant which incorporated all of the sanitary pumps, valves and ancillary controls in addition to the core heat transfer technology. The complete system was assembled and readied for installation in the Alfa Laval workshops before delivery to Glenfarclas in mid 2008.

At the heart of the system are two Alfa Flash evaporators, providing two effects; an M6 Plate Heat Exchanger which is used as a pre-heater and an AlfaCond condenser. The Alfa Flash’s high wall shear keeps viscosity low and the risk of fouling to a minimum, which, in turn, extends cleaning intervals, while the true counter-current flow of all three heat exchangers ensures optimal heat transfer efficiency between the media and enhances the efficiency of the CIP system.

As a first step in the concentration process, Pot Ale, at roughly 4%, enters the 2nd Effect evaporator and is part concentrated using vapour from the 1st Effect as the heat source. From the 2nd Effect, it then travels to an M6 Plate Heat Exchanger where it is further heated using heat recovered from the condensate from the 2nd Effect. Finally, it is pumped to the 1st Effect evaporator where it is concentrated to the desired thickness of 45%. The AlfaCond semi-welded plate condenser is used to condense the vapour from the 2nd Effect AlfaVap. Its cooling water channels induce high turbulence while the welded vapour channels feature a wide gap with extremely low pressure drop.

The Scotch Whisky industry has always been clever at recycling products and energy. As well as recovering and marketing Pot Ale and Dark Grains, distilleries have, traditionally, used steam or hot water recovered from firing the pot stills to power other processes. Glenfarclas is no different in this respect, except that with the new evaporator system, they have taken energy recovery to a higher level. The energy required for evaporation is recovered from the distillation process, but they now also collect exhaust flue gases from two of the principal pot stills to pre-heat boiler water.

The new Alfa Laval evaporator system started operating in August 2008. Initially, there were teething problems, with one of the evaporators losing efficiency due to fouling. However, according to Shane Fraser, this was where the decision to go with plate evaporators was vindicated. “We were able to open up the unit very easily and quickly clear the accumulated product . It was apparent we had over-concentrated the wash and so it was simply a question of adjusting the concentration to the optimum level. “

“With regular CIP, there has been no repetition. Apart from a scheduled summer close-down, the system has run without interruption, producing the quality and consistency of Pot Ale we want. In fact, when we inspected the heat transfer surfaces during the summer shut-down, they were clean as a whistle.”

Article Courtesy of Process & Control Today

Process & Control Today

25 Jan

Legal win for ‘Scotch Whisky’ in key Asian markets

Efforts by the whisky industry to ensure that only products made in Scotland can bear the name “Scotch Whisky” have paid off with legal victories in two key Asian markets.

Malaysia and Thailand, which together account for more than £40m of exports of the drink from Scotland, have granted applications for “Scotch Whisky” to be protected as a “geographical indication of origin” (GI).

The victories come as representatives of the Scotch Whisky Association, which was behind the cases, jet off to India this week to support an identical action there, and weeks before the association visits China to further an application for GI status which was made there in 2007.

Alan Park, legal adviser at the Scotch Whisky Association, said: “Scotch whisky has broken new ground in Malaysia and Thailand. Consumers will be better protected from imitations and Scotch whisky’s international reputation for excellence is being recognised.”

Scotch whisky is the first spirit drink from the European Union to receive such a high level of protection in Malaysia.

In China, seen as a key market due to its rising middle class, Scotch whisky is protected by domestic laws, which include a collective trademark granted in 2008. GI status would bolster this protection.

World Trade Organisation rules mean that countries must protect GIs.

Article Courtesy of The Scottish Herald

The Scottish Herald

23 Jan

Chivas whisky bonds’ roof repairs at Keith could take up to six years

The job is also likely to result in a bill of millions of pounds

The repair job to fix the snow-damaged roofs of 38 football pitch-sized whisky bonds could take up to six years, it emerged last night.

Roofs of the Chivas Regal brand’s Keith buildings, where French company Pernod Ricard is maturing 100million gallons of malt whisky, collapsed under the weight of snow earlier this month.

Last night, a source close to the company, who asked not to be named, estimated a six-month repair job for each roof.

He said each bond stored 100,000 casks which would have to be painstakingly lifted out one by one.

He added: “We can’t put people into the sheds for the safety aspect.

“They are going to have to crane people in from the top and they are going to have to be on a platform.

“They cannot go inside with forklifts and take them out six at a time because of the safety aspect of it.

“It is going to amount to millions for the repair job.

“Hiring helicopters and cranes and digging their way in with men and machines. It is going to cost a fortune.”

It is understood casks of high-value whisky destined for the Asian market will reach maturity in three warehouses next week.

The source said: “They have been a priority.

“They were worried that they would get lost, that would be a lot of money down the drain.”

A spokesman for Chivas Regal said last night the damage was still being assessed.

He said: “It will probably be quite a bit of work.”

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

Press & Journal

23 Jan

Haiti earthquake miracle survivor lived on whisky and sweets

A British rescue worker has told how she crawled through the rubble of the Haitian earthquake to free a survivor who had been entombed for 11 days.

Carmen Michalska, 36, from Sheffield, squeezed down a tiny hole to get to Wismond Exantus Jean-Pierre, 24, who was trapped under a 20ft heap of tangled concrete slabs, wooden beams and corrugated iron.

When the 7.0-magnitude earthquake struck on Jan 12 he was working as a cashier in a grocery shop called Tapolin under the two-storey Napoli Inn hotel on Port au-Prince's Rue de Centre. He survived by drinking whisky, beer and Coca-Cola, and nibbling on sweets.

As she emerged from the wreckage moments after the rescue on Saturday, Scottish-born Miss Michalska told The Daily Telegraph: "To save somebody's life was amazing.

"When we got here we started pulling away the rubble with our hands and tools we found in the street. People were saying 'There's someone alive down there' and we were saying 'Are you sure? Are you sure?'

"We got communication with him and then, when the heavy equipment turned up, they made a gap but it wasn't very wide. The guys were too big to get in so I said 'I'll go' because I'm only 5ft 5ins."

Rescue co-ordinators sent her and a French woman colleague into the tunnel they had dug with chainsaws and drills.

"It was a tight squeeze and rather smelly and claustrophobic with concrete overhead," said Miss Michalska. "When we got down to the bottom I could see his head behind a piece of wood. He smiled and was so happy to see us.

"I think he had climbed up some shelves to get to where he was and he was covered in hair dye.

"He held our light for us while we sawed the wood in front of him away. I couldn't talk to him because I don't speak French but he said 'Merci'." While he was trapped Mr Jean-Pierre heard other people knocking from below him in the rubble.

"He said there were four guys and a girl in there and we're going to keep looking for them," said Miss Michalska. However, rescue workers later said they had no indication that anyone was left alive inside.

Miss Michalska, who works in security, was attached to the Hellenic Rescue Team from Greece, who were first on the scene. They fought their way through gangs of machete-wielding looters just to get there after hearing reports of a survivor.

"There were guys with knives. It was horrendous. We had to run from across the street," she said.

Her Greek colleague Apostolos Dedas said: "We nearly died on the way here. We were attacked by the locals. They were looting and police were shooting." During the two-and-a-half hours it took to extract Mr Jean-Pierre looting continued nearby.

Close to tears, the rescued man's brother Enso Jean-Pierre, 23, who lost six relatives in the earthquake, said: "I had a dream that my brother called to me and told me he was alive. He told me to come get him and I have been coming every day."

Later, lying on a camp bed in a tent at a French field hospital, his arm attached to an IV drip, Mr Jean-Pierre looked healthy and said he felt "good".

He said: "I was hungry but every night I thought about the revelation that I would survive. I would eat anything I found. I didn't know when it was day and when it was night. I prayed.

"It's a big miracle for me. When I leave the hospital I will give my heart to the Lord because he saved my life."

He was knocked out by the earthquake and woke up to find himself under the rubble. He had a mobile phone in his hand but the battery had run out so he could not call for help.

Nearby he found a large bottle of Dewar's White Label whisky which he drank when he was in pain. He also consumed large quantities of Coca-Cola, and ate sweets and crisps. Every time he thought he would pass out he sniffed soap to stay awake.

Gilles Gueney, a French paramedic, said: "He has no fractures, just some cuts on his arms. He is tired and a bit dehydrated."

Article Courtesy of Daily and the Telegraph


18 Jan

Edderton distillery a ‘dram’ fine wedding location

THE home of Balblair malt whisky at Edderton, near Tain, has hosted its first wedding.

Lynne Keating and Gregor Black, both police officers from East Lothian, thought the picturesque Easter Ross distillery would be a “dram” fine place to tie the knot after friends who own the nearby Carnegig Lodge Hotel recommended it.

The couple visited, met distillery manager John MacDonald and were so impressed by the beautiful location that they booked it for the big day.

After arriving fashionably late in a Rolls-Royce, the bride was piped in by renowned local piper Willie Fraser before minister Susan Brown, from Dornoch – who married Madonna and Guy Richie in 2000 – made them man and wife.

Accompanied by 20 friends and family, the ceremony took place in the barns of the distillery, which were decked in tartan drapes, flowers and candles.

Mr MacDonald said: “This is the first wedding to take place at the Balblair distillery, which is remarkable considering what a lovely setting it is.

“When Lynne and Gregor approached us, we were delighted to let them have their special day here and to join in a celebratory dram to congratulate them.”

For further details on Balblair, the second oldest working distillery in Scotland, call 01862 821273, or see

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

Press & Journal

18 Jan

Tasty notes by the barrel at whisky musical

200 events at Speyside festival featuring three-day masterclass

AN ALCOHOL-INSPIRED musical and a three-day malt school will be among the highlights at this year’s Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival.

The programme for the 11th annual whisky event, which will run from Wednesday, April 28, to Tuesday, May 4, was announced last week.

More than 200 events will take place around Speyside, including the prestigious annual whisky awards, professional and student chef competitions, and tours and tastes from distilleries which are not normally open to the public.

This year will also feature the second annual Malt Whisky School, a three-day masterclass for a select number of whisky enthusiasts.

Highland theatre company Right Lines Productions will also stage its world premiere of musical Whisky Kisses during the five-day event.

The show, which will be held at the Glenfiddich Distillery, tells the story of two international whisky collectors who battle it out for the last bottle of a 100-year-old malt whisky, called The Glenigma.

Other activities will include ceilidhs, music events and concerts.

Tickets for the festival’s events went on sale on Friday night and many of the events have sold out already.

A festival spokeswoman said: “The programme of events went live at 8pm on Friday and some popular events sold out within one and a half hours.

“A record number of tickets were sold this year in the first few hours, with almost 500 tickets in just three hours and just under 1,000 tickets in one day.

“As expected the most popular were the unique tours and tastings at distilleries not normally open to visitors.

“The launch attracted interest of many international visitors from around the world and judging by the online bookings made so far we will be seeing many visitors this year from Sweden, Norway, Switzerland, Denmark, Germany, Holland, US, India and Japan, emphasising the international character of this festival.”

The festival was established in 1999 to celebrate Scotland’s malt whisky country and to help promote tourism to Moray.

For more information and to book tickets for any of the events, visit

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

Press & Journal

15 Jan

Whisky, Food and Mhor

Two family-owned Scottish treasures, who put ingredients, passion and taste at the heart of what they do, picturesque Glengoyne Distillery and the fabled Monachyle Mhor hotel, are offering two exceptional culinary travel breaks, perfect for the ultimate food and whisky lover.

The packages, designed to embody Glengoyne’s ‘Real Taste of Malt, Real Taste of Food’ credentials, are available as a one night break from £280 per couple or a two night Master Class packed with fine food and rare whisky from £684 per couple.

The Mhor Food and Whisky Master Classes have been designed with the food-loving whisky fan in mind. Taking food and whisky pairing to the next level, this exclusive two-night break includes not only the finest food the area has to offer but a taste of Glengoyne’s oldest, rarest and most valuable whisky – The Glengoyne 40 Years Old, worth over £200 per dram!

Hosted by renowned chef, Tom Lewis, and Glengoyne Brand Heritage Manager, Stuart Hendry, these special events encompass the finest seasonal ingredients from Mhor hill farm, cottage garden and shooting estate, old and rare Glengoyne whiskies, great wine and a touch of fun.

Included in this very special event are:

Two nights dinner, bed and breakfast at Monachyle Mhor Hotel A welcome dram of Glengoyne 21 Years Old on arrival at Monachyle Mhor served with a traditional Scottish delicacy, created by Mhor to match the whisky Seasonal cooking demonstration and lunch with Tom Lewis at his Mhor Fish cafe in Callander A Master Blender Session at Glengoyne, Scotland’s most beautiful distillery Transport through the Trossachs with the mobile tutored nosing session using Glengoyne’s specially designed kit, along with a guide to talk through the history of whisky making in the local area Rare opportunity to taste the exceptional Glengoyne 40 Years Old Evening meal at Monachyle Mhor, hosted by Stuart Hendry and introduced by Tom Lewis, pairing the best local ingredients that Scotland has to offer with Glengoyne whiskies and Glen Guin wines, another quality brand with its history rooted in the local area.

These very exclusive, two night special events take place four times per year on 6 March, 16 June, 8 September and 10 November with prices starting from £684 per room based on two sharing.

Alternatively, the one night Whisky, Food and Mhor break includes dinner, bed and breakfast at the sumptuous Monachyle Mhor Hotel. On arrival at the hotel enjoy a dram of the exceptional Glengoyne 21 Years Old Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky, together with a traditional Scottish Black Bun specially created by Mhor to complement the rich honey flavours of the whisky.

The following day guests make their own way through the picturesque Trossachs for a unique experience at Glengoyne Distillery. The Master Blender Session will guide enthusiasts through the distillery and into the spectacular Sample Room where each guest will create their very own unique blend with a word of encouragement or two from the expert blender. The creation is then bottled to take home and enjoy.

The one night Whisky, Food and Mhor break is available all year with prices starting from £280 per room based on two sharing.

Glengoyne and Mhor are within easy reach of Glasgow and Edinburgh, set in the spectacular scenery of the Trossachs.

Article Courtesy of Press Release

Press Release

13 Jan

Laphroaig Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky Announces Sponsorship of 2010 United States Curling Association

Laphroaig Islay Single Malt Scotch, the most richly flavored of all Scotch whiskies, is proud to announce its 2010 official sponsorship of the United States Curling Association (USCA) just in time for the 2010 winter games. The sponsorship kicks off a year-long celebration of Scottish heritage by one of the world's most popular single malt Scotch whiskies.

"We're excited Laphroaig has been named the official scotch of the United States Curling Association," said Michael Cockram, senior director, Laphroaig. "We look forward to sharing the rich, flavorful taste and history of our classic whisky with curling fans."

"There are few brands out there that have as deep a Scottish history as Laphroaig," said USCA President Leland Rich. "We are honored to have such a respected brand sponsor the United States Curling Association. This truly brings the spirit of the winter games to new heights."

Starting February, whisky enthusiasts across the country can visit to register as a Friend of Laphroaig and receive updates regarding the Laphroaig sponsorship and regular product news.

"This sponsorship gives new meaning to the phrase 'scotch on ice,'" said Scotch Malt Master Simon Brooking. "It is always a pleasure seeing two grand traditions from my homeland, Laphroaig and curling, enjoyed in America."

"Chess on Ice"

Often referred to as "chess on ice" or "winter golf," curling originated in Scotland in the 16th century and has recently gained a significant following in the United States. During the past two Winter Olympic Games, curling led television ratings for all Winter Olympic sports*. For more information on the USCA, visit

Friends of Laphroaig

The Friends of Laphroaig began in 1994 as a way to communicate news about the distillery and connect with other Laphroaig lovers around the world. Today it has grown to more than 300,000 members from more than 150 countries. Each fan receives a lifetime lease on a square foot of land next to the distillery that they can visit, view online and collect a dram of 'rent' for, should they ever visit the island. Membership is free with proof of purchase of 10 Year Old, 18 Year Old, 25 Year Old, 30 Year Old, Quarter Cask or Cask Strength Laphroaig. For more information, visit

About United States Curling Association

The United States Curling Association (USCA) is the National Governing Body for this Olympic sport. The USCA's mission is "to grow the sport and win medals in world championships and Olympic Games." The USCA is headquartered in Stevens Point, Wis., and has nine regions and 145 member clubs across the nation. For more information, visit

Article Courtesy of Press Release

Press Release

12 Jan

Whisky could be stored at RAF base

Snow damages roofs of bonds

THE RAF was ready last night to fly to the rescue of millions of gallons of whisky stored under snow-damaged warehouse roofs.

William Grant is considering transferring casks from three huge warehouses whose roofs have suffered damage from unprecedented snowfalls to spare hangar space at RAF Kinloss in Moray. Talks have still to take place between the company, which distills, processes and stores the famous Glenfiddich and Balvenie malts and other whiskies at Dufftown, and the base.

An RAF spokeswoman confirmed last night it had been approached as a possible site for storing of casks of whisky. She said: “We have been approached and I believe we do have some space available if it is needed and if we can come to some arrangement, but at the moment it is only a potential solution.”

A spokesman for William Grant said the roofs of three warehouses at the complex had suffered damage but there is no immediate threat to their valuable contents.

He said: “We are looking for potential storage space, but we are still at the early stages looking at contingencies.”

He said discussions were under way with Moray Council, and customs and excise would need to approve the transfer of bonded goods to another site.

The difficulties facing the distillery were revealed by Moray SNP MP Angus Robertson, who said: “The whisky industry is crucial to Speyside and the extreme weather conditions are causing problems. I am pleased that both the RAF and Moray Council are able to work with William Grant to find a solution to the problem, just as in the community where people are coming together to help each other.”

Moray Council spokesman Peter Jones said: “As the local authority we are keen to minimise the impact of the weather conditions on local businesses, particularly one so important as the whisky industry.

“To that end we initiated contact between the RAF and the distillery.”

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

Press & Journal

10 Jan

Whisky firm fired up over export taxes

THE Scotch distiller behind Famous Grouse and Macallan has fired a ­furious broadside at Gordon Brown’s Government for imposing “swingeing” export taxes on whisky.

Sir Ian Good, chairman of The Edrington Group, said in the company’s accounts that plans to raise excise duty by 30 per cent by 2013 were “very disappointing”.

His comments came as Edrington revealed the financial pressures that led it to close its site in Speyside last November. Profits fell 17 per cent in 2008/9 as the global recession flattened sales, the accounts show.

Sir Ian said: “On the one hand, politicians claim they want to encourage leading industries in the UK to be world-class yet impose swingeing domestic taxes on a truly world-class industry.

“It is particularly harmful as we argue for fair treatment from governments abroad.”

Edrington’s exports to the US market fell 11 per cent in the year to March, with worldwide volumes down 5 per cent. Famous Grouse managed to increase its volumes and profits partly thanks to two new blends.

Article Courtesy of Daily and Sunday Express

Daily and Sunday Express

08 Jan

Whisky warehouse roofs collapse under weight of snow and ice

Companies throughout Moray monitoring conditions as they battle against the big freeze

The roofs of 21 football pitch-sized whisky warehouses where more than 100million gallons of malt whisky are stored have collapsed under the weight of snow.

Many of the valuable casks lay hidden beneath metal roofing sheets last night in the Chivas Regal brand buildings of the French company Pernod Ricard, which also owns the Strathisla Distillery at Keith.

The company was said to be considering spraying de-icing chemicals that are normally used on airport runways and using ton-sized heaters in their battle against the ice.

A source close to the company said the roofing had given way in 20 buildings at the company’s 120-acre maturation site called Malcolmburn at Mulben, near Keith.

He said the roof of another warehouse in Alexandra Road had also caved in.

He said: “The ice has frozen on the roof and it can’t go down the drain pipes and get away. It just lies there. The weight of the fresh snow just adds to it.”

A company spokesman last night said the damage was still being assessed and he could not confirm the number of buildings damaged.

He added: “We are experiencing issues with some of our warehouse roofs under the weight of snow and ice.

“There have been no injuries and no spirit loss has been detected. As a precaution Chivas Brothers’ two major maturation sites in Speyside (Mulben and Keith) have been closed to day-to-day operations until the weather abates.”

The company employs about 200 staff in Moray and the product is exported to some 200 countries. The most expensive whisky maturing is the 38-year-old £350-per-bottle Royal Salute, a spokesman said.

Moray MP Angus Robertson said: “With the impact of the whisky industry to Speyside as a whole, everyone will be hoping that the damage is not serious.”

A Scotch Whisky Association spokesman said member companies had been warned to be vigilant.

Whisky giant Diageo, which also has maturation warehouses in the area, said they were monitoring the situation regularly but currently had no issues.

Heavy snow at Keith also threatened the roof at the town’s Tesco store at Moss Street.

A company spokeswoman said the store was closed briefly on Wednesday afternoon to carry out roof checks as a precaution but was “absolutely fine”.

Snow and ice are also wreaking havoc across other parts of Moray yesterday.

Two steadings roofs are believed to have caved in at two farms at Dallas. It is not known if cattle were injured.

Both farmers were unavailable for comment.

Cattle on a Banffshire farm escaped uninjured after the roof of the steading in which they were kept collapsed under the weight of snow.

The 100 cows and 40 weaned calves at Torbay Farm, Dufftown, were transferred to other housing after the building’s roof fell on top of them. Owner Allan Ross, of Wardhead, Strichen, said it was a “miracle” all the animals escaped.

Almost half of Moray’s 53 schools are expected to remain closed today. Buckie and Speyside High Schools, and Keith Grammar School will be shut, as will 22 primaries.

Moray College has also been affected, with all students advised to stay at home until Monday at the earliest. Staff have been advised to attend if possible.

Seafield Primary at Bishopmill, Elgin, opened as usual, but one parent decided to keep her 11-year-old daughter Brooke off, claiming the school’s heating supply was not up to scratch.

Alison Kennedy, of the town’s Whytes Place, said pupils had been forced to sit with their jackets on when the heating broke down before Christmas, and claimed a burst pipe meant the youngsters were left in the cold again yesterday.

The 47-year-old said: “If they wanted to open the school they should have made sure everything was OK first. I’m not prepared to send my daughter back until the heating is fully up and running.”

A spokesman for Moray Council said a pipe had burst, affecting the heating in two classrooms which was being sorted.

“Meantime pupils have been moved to other rooms and extra temporary heating has been introduced,” he said. “The classrooms must achieve 60 degrees by 10am, and this is happening. It may be a little chilly to start with and the pupils may choose to wear extra layers for that period, but that's all.”

The bad weather also affected rail travel as the Inverness-Aberdeen line closed between Inverurie and Elgin.

Passengers were stranded as ScotRail was unable to provide alternative transport due to the severe weather.

A spokeswoman for the firm apologised for the inconvenience.

Network Rail issued a reassurance that the country’s 130 level crossings were safe after the control panel in the Elgin one froze, meaning the barrier was stuck in a closed position.

Article Courtesy of Press & Journal

Press & Journal

05 Jan

Whisky boom revives old brands

Ninety years after Johnnie Walker stopped making Scotch in Annandale, David Thomson wants to put the distillery back on the whisky map of the world.

The plant, 19 kilometres from where he grew up in southern Scotland, closed in 1921. With £5 million ($11 million) in cash, Thomson plans to open it up again next year.

"We can make so much more of malt whisky as an industry," said Thomson, 54, who submitted plans for local government approval on November 12. "We haven't even begun to tap into the potential interest."

More money is being invested in whisky than at any time since the late 1960s, according to the Scotch Whisky Association in Edinburgh.

The reason, producers like Diageo say, is to make sure they have enough of it to serve China and India, as well as to cater for the growing demand among malt buffs.

"The Chinese have bought into Scotch whisky," Gavin Hewitt, chief executive officer of the association, said at his office in the Scottish capital. "There's a huge new middle class and they want to make a statement about themselves."

Companies announced expansion plans during the past two years costing more than £500 million, according to the industry group. Whisky is Scotland's biggest export, excluding oil and gas, it said.

The liquor being distilled today can't be called Scotch whisky until it's three years old and then often has to age for at least another seven before it's bottled as a single malt. It also has to be made in Scotland.

The largest single investment during the past two years was by London-based Diageo, the world's largest liquor maker and biggest producer of Scotch.

Its net revenue from whisky, including top brand Johnnie Walker, rose 7 per cent to £2.42 billion for the 12 months to June 30, the company said.

Diageo, whose best-selling malt is Talisker, spent £40 million on a plant at Roseisle in northern Scotland, part of £100 million of investment.

"It's about growth over the next two or three decades," said Ken Robertson, Diageo's head of corporate relations for whisky. "You have to lay products down well in advance."

Glenmorangie, which Paris-based LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SA bought in 2005 for £300 million, is increasing capacity at its plant at Tain in the Highlands by 50 per cent.

Along with new bottling and warehousing, the investment over two years amounts to £45 million, Glenmorangie said.

Thomson said he first had the idea to go into the whisky business in the late 1980s and early 1990s when 25 distilleries closed as more liquor was produced than the world could drink.

Article Courtesy of New Zealand Herald

New Zealand Herald

01 Jan

Scotch whisky makers show spirit of survival despite Johnnie Walker closure

When workers at Diageo's Johnnie Walker packaging plant in Kilmarnock agreed a redundancy deal days before Christmas it ended six months of bitter protests over the drinks group's decision to sever links with the Ayrshire town after 189 years. The plant's closure marks the culmination of a tough year for the scotch whisky industry which has been forced to slash jobs in the face of a deep recession.

As with many of its consumers, scotch producers partied through several bumper years only to face a major financial headache last year. Demand for the spirit began to slow in early 2009 and cracks began to appear in some of the industry's traditional export markets. Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) figures show sales, by value, were down 3.5% at £2.1bn for the first nine months of 2009.

After the high of three boom years, which culminated in record exports of £3.1bn in 2008, last year was one of the toughest in recent memory for the industry. Diageo prompted union fury by pushing through restructuring that will eliminate 900 jobs and end Johnnie Walker's historic links with Kilmarnock. Whyte & Mackay, owned by Indian billionaire Vijay Mallya, cut a third of its workforce, while in November the Edrington Group announced plans to mothball Tamdhu, the Speyside distillery – whose malt is a main component of Famous Grouse – for only the second time in its 112-year history.

But SWA public affairs manager David Williamson says the figures for 2009 were "encouraging" as conditions had improved after a "tough" first quarter: "Scotch whisky has been recession-resilient if not recession-immune." A surge in exports to countries such as Venezuela, which jumped 83%, helped offset problem markets such as Singapore where sales slumped 20%.

Diageo says the restructuring of its Scottish operation was not a defensive move but the magnitude of the global recession is seen to have hastened its progress. Johnnie Walker sales fell 11% last year while J&B, a favourite tipple of Spaniards when mixed with Coke, was off 13% as whisky exports to the recession-ravaged country plunged 26%. Edrington said the mothballing of Tamdhu was to "rebalance its distillation capacity" after the downturn "flattened" sales.

It is not the first time the industry has faced a hiatus. In the late 1970s, exuberant sales estimates resulted in the so-called "Whisky Loch". But distillers were forced to turn down production and mothball sites after growth fell short of expectations. Exports also slumped during the Asian economic crisis: dropping from £2.4bn in 1997 back to £2bn in 1998.

About 9,500 people, many in economically deprived parts of Scotland, are employed directly by the industry – though the UK supply chain has more than 60,000 workers. Geography was a significant factor in the political firestorm that followed Diageo's decision to close the Johnnie Walker bottling plant in Kilmarnock and the Port Dundas grain distillery in Glasgow, even though 400 new jobs are being created at its Cameron Bridge grain distillery in Fife. The bitter six month-long dispute was only resolved in recent days when workers voted to accept the redundancy package.

Diageo says history is not repeating itself and that its strategy remains unchanged despite straitened times. "The industry got it badly wrong in the 70s," says Ken Robertson, head of corporate relations at Diageo Whisky, who says consolidation and sophisticated forecasting methods mean the industry is a leaner, more efficient beast today. "The restructuring was not driven by the recession but by a long-term view of our business and the way we see investment panning out in the future."

Scotch accounts for a quarter of Diageo's sales with the lion's share of its whisky output, which also includes Bell's, Bushmills and Benmore, destined for export. "We need to get our business to a place where we can meet long-term sustainable growth," adds Robertson.

He says the industry learned a harsh lesson from the "Whisky Loch" years as they were followed by two decades of tough love, when growth bumped along at 0.5%. It was only five years ago that flowering demand from India, China and emerging markets gave the industry grounds for optimism.

"We have had to put on capacity to meet long-term demand and I'd argue that is the right call to make," says Robertson, who adds that the company has factored several recessions into its growth plans. "Individual companies will be making adjustments based on what they see ahead and the amount of stock they are sitting on."

The SWA insists that scotch producers still have a bright future. The export figures for 2009 will not be available for several weeks but Williamson says the final quarter is an important period accounting for 40% of malt sales and 30% of blended scotch.

He adds that making whisky is a marathon not a sprint: to be labelled scotch whisky, the spirit must mature in oak casks for at least three years. "It is a long-term business," he says. "What is distilled today will not be scotch whisky by law until after the London Olympic Games [in 2012] – or bottled by the Rio de Janeiro games in 2016."

Despite the gloom that descended last year, SWA figures suggest investment is running at its highest level since the early 1970s, with more than £500m earmarked for new distilleries, extensions and bottling plants in the past two years. After the drastic cuts in the 1980s the number of licensed distilleries has risen to 109, with a further seven in prospect, including Diageo's new malt whisky distillery at Roseisle in Speyside, which will open in the spring.

The export potential of scotch has been boosted by sophisticated marketing that has helped shed the bagpipes-and-shortbread image and acquire a luxury cachet. Mallya's £600m acquisition of Whyte & Mackay in 2007 was viewed as a defensive measure ahead of the eventual opening-up of the vast Indian market, where just 1% of whisky drunk is scotch, and there is a burgeoning middle class.

"Right now things are difficult on a global basis," adds Robertson. "The industry has to hold its nerve and keep its long-term perspective."

New world whiskies put Scottish pride on the rocks

A tough year for exports of scotch whisky coincided with some big blows to Scotland's distilling pride. In the awards stakes, 2009 was a year of success for overseas whiskies and Scotland's claim to be the world's finest producer came under threat from distilleries in America, Japan, India and even England. Early this year international whisky authority Jim Murray named 18-year-old Sazerac Rye from Kentucky in America the finest whisky in the world.

Its top billing in Murray's 2010 Whisky Bible pushed Ardbeg Supernova from Islay into second place, while there was further upset for the scotch industry with his third place choice – it went to a single malt distilled in Bangalore called Amrut Fusion. Japanese producers have also been enjoying widespread acclaim for their malts, piling up awards and exporting their whiskies around the world, including onto the shelves of UK supermarkets. England got in on the act in 2009, as the English Whisky Co bottled the first English whisky for more than a century at its distillery in Norfolk and has even been shipping to Scotland.

Article Courtesy of The Guardian

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