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08 Apr 14

Diageo, the world’s leading premium drinks company, announces today the global launch of Haig Club Single Grain Scotch Whisky, in partnership with global sporting icon David Beckham and British entrepreneur Simon Fuller. Working alongside Diageo, Beckham and Fuller will play a fundamental role in developing the brand, its strategy and positioning. David Beckham will also lead the promotion of a responsible drinking programme for Haig Club, which is at the heart of the brand.

Haig Club is a new innovation from the House of Haig, Scotland’s oldest grain whisky dynasty and makers of Haig Blended Scotch Whisky and Dimple Scotch Whisky. Built on 400 years of distilling history, the House of Haig can trace its whisky producing roots back to the seventeenth century. In 1824 John Haig established the Cameronbridge Distillery and it was there that he pioneered the art of producing grain whisky in continuous Coffey and Stein stills – an invention which laid the foundations for the growth and success of the modern Scotch Whisky industry. Haig Club is born of that Haig family legacy of innovation and excellence in whisky creation. 

David Gates, Diageo’s Global Head of Premium Core Spirits, commented: “Whisky is experiencing a continued global renaissance and like many of the world’s most respected whisky experts, we believe this will be the year that grain whisky breaks into the mainstream and gains the recognition it deserves. Diageo has a proven track record in Scotch Whisky innovation and we have applied this expertise through the House of Haig in liquid development and craftsmanship, creating a sophisticated new whisky in Haig Club. 

“David Beckham and Simon Fuller are renowned for breaking boundaries and shaking up markets in every sector in which they work. We are immensely proud to partner with them on our first large scale grain whisky innovation.” 

Beckham commented: "The House of Haig has a rich history and I’m proud to be working at the heart of a home-grown brand which has built an incredible heritage over 400 years. Working closely with Diageo, we look forward to collaborating on Haig Club, valuing and treasuring the Haig traditions while reinventing this whisky for years to come.”

Simon Fuller said: “This is a long term commitment. It is important to us that we create something unique and of great quality.  With Haig Club we have an opportunity to push boundaries and help shape how Scotch will be perceived in the future, it’s an exciting proposition.  We could not wish for a better partner than Diageo.”

Haig Club has been crafted using a unique process that combines grain whisky from three cask types.  This creates a fresh, clean style that showcases butterscotch and toffee for an ultra-smooth taste that the company believes will be enjoyed not only by current whisky drinkers, but also by those who have always wanted to try whisky.  

Respected whisky authority Dave Broom is one of the few drinks experts to have tasted Haig Club. He described it as “a hugely versatile spirit, and I expect bartenders will love what they can do with it. Forget everything you thought you knew about Scotch…”  

Syl Saller, Diageo's Chief Marketing Officer said: “We see this launch as a terrific accelerator for the whole sector, and one that really strengthens whisky’s position as the most vibrant spirits category.

“Consumers are constantly searching for new and different tastes and experiences and they are especially excited by those that come from authentic, heritage brands. And Haig Club certainly ticks those boxes. Throughout his career, David Beckham has been at the forefront of emerging trends and rewritten the rules of what it means to be a modern sportsman and businessman, and we are pleased he has decided to turn his hand to Scotch.” 

Haig Club will be launched later in the year.  Details around pricing and availability will be announced nearer launch.

04 Apr 14

GLENGLASSAUGH has today (4 April) released its first batch of single cask bottlings.

Revived from the dark and hand-selected by Managing Director and Master Distiller Billy Walker, there are eight phenomenal malts in Batch 1 which range from 45 to 28 years.

All are crisp, fresh, sweet Highland malts that hit the palate with the power of complex fruit bombs - from apples, bananas, pineapples, grapefruit, prunes and plums to lime, cantaloupe melon and caramelised orange!

The oldest, cask # 1601, 45 years old, was distilled in May 1968. Bottled at 44.3% vol, this autumn gold veteran is long and luxurious. On the nose, heady red candy apples balance with delicate spiced orange softening to distant pineapple juice. And on the palate, crisp oak spices soften to reveal elegant waves of fresh green apple and wisps of ripe banana. Delicate hints of passion fruit, cedar wood and lime zest bring a fantastic depth to the long finish.



As a contrast, the youngest in the batch is a 28 year old distilled in February 1986.
This rich amber beauty, cask # 2101, was bottled at 43.7% vol. On the nose, gentle heather honey holds warm cigar box spices. Crisp, freshly-ground barley surrounds soaked raisins and sultanas. And on the palate, a toasted white oak spice runs through Demerara caramelised orchard fruits which mellow to dried apricot and hints of vanilla in the long subtle finish.

Sales Director Alistair Walker said: “We took over Glenglassaugh last year and were thrilled to discover a treasure trove of old and rare spirits slumbering in the warehouses. Revived from the dark, selected by Billy Walker for their excellence and personality and bottled last month, this is an extraordinary collection of rare casks which will be warmly welcomed by connoisseurs worldwide. Taken together, they are stunning examples of Glenglassaugh at its finest.”

All eight are presented in a beautiful golden box.

The batch details are:

1968 cask # 1601 / 45 years old / Finished in the finest Sherry Hogshead / 44.3% vol
1972 cask # 2114 / 41 years old / Matured in the finest Sherry Butt / 50.6% vol
1973 cask # 6801 / 40 years old / Finished in the finest Manzanilla Sherry Puncheon / 52.1% vol
1975 cask # 7301 / 38 years old / Finished in the finest Oloroso Sherry Hogshead / 40.7% vol
1975 cask # 7801 / 38 years old / Finished in the finest Moscatel Hogshead / 42.4% vol
1978 cask # 1803 / 35 years old / Finished in the finest Sherry Hogshead / 41.6% vol
1978 cask # 1810 / 35 years old / Finished in the finest Port Hogshead / 42.9% vol
1986 cask # 2101 / 28 years old / Finished in the finest Hogshead / 43.7% vol

If you would like to receive more information, please contact us on info@glenglassaugh.com

25 Mar 14

DIAGEO WINS DISTILLER OF THE YEAR FOR INVESTING IN SCOTCH

Diageo, the world’s leading premium drinks company, has been named Distiller of the Year 2014 by Whisky Magazine in recognition of the company’s investment in its Scotch whisky business.

The coveted accolade was awarded at Whisky Magazine’s annual Global Icons of Whisky awards, with Diageo congratulated on “putting its money where its mouth is” with its £1billion investment in expansion Scotch whisky production capacity across Scotland.

Whisky Magazine Distiller of the Year is judged by a panel of independent whisky commentators and is one of the most highly prized titles in the industry. The judging panel’s citation read: “Production capacity increased at many of its sites, an investment of nearly £150 million across the Highland Council area and more expansion plans to come, increasing grain capacity, a raft of new expressions and building new distilleries – Diageo has been putting its money where its mouth is for its brands and the category, proving that with great size comes great responsibility.”

The award of the overall title came after Diageo had earlier been named Whisky Distiller of the Year in the Scottish category of the Icons of Whisky awards in an earlier round of judging.

The award adds to the Distiller of the Year title which was given to Diageo by the US-based The Whisky Advocate magazine in December 2013, citing the company’s investment and commitment to its brands.
David Cutter, Director of Diageo International Supply Centre, who runs the company’s Scotch whisky production business from Edinburgh, welcomed the award on behalf of all the employees who work to produce Diageo’s portfolio of world leading brands.

“We are very proud of our Scotch whisky business and of the investment we are making in its future and it is gratifying to have that recognised and acknowledged by independent industry commentators and by Whisky Magazine.”

Dr Nick Morgan, Diageo’s Head of Whisky Outreach, who accepted the award on behalf of Diageo at the Global Icons ceremony, added: “We are grateful to the judges and to Whisky Magazine for this significant global award, which I was delighted to accept on behalf of all my colleagues in Diageo whose commitment, vision, skill and sheer hard work makes everything possible.”

Diageo produces Johnnie Walker, the world’s number one Scotch whisky brand, as well as a portfolio of other leading blended Scotch whiskies including Bell’s, J&B and Buchanan’s. The company also produces award-winning single malt whisky brands such as Talisker, Lagavulin, Cardhu and Dalwhinnie. Recent distillery investment announcements are linked to the growth of key Scotch whisky brands. Glen Ord Distillery near Inverness will see its capacity doubled to support the Singleton of Glen Ord brand, which is the fastest growing single malt in Asia. A major expansion investment at Mortlach Distillery in Speyside will support the launch of Mortlach as a global single malt brand later this year.

Diageo announced its £1billion Scotch whisky investment programme in June 2012. As well as the distillery expansions the company is also investing in new warehousing to store the additional spirit, with a major new bonded warehouse site being developed at Cluny in Fife.

In January the company announced the latest phase of the investment with a £30million plan to double capacity at the iconic Clynelish Distillery in Sutherland, taking the company’s capital programme in the Highlands to around £150million.

This adds to previous major investments by Diageo, including building a new malt whisky distillery at Roseisle in Speyside and a new state of the art cooperage at Cambus in Clackmannanshire.

07 Mar 14 GLENGLASSAUGH has launched a new richly peated Highland single malt that will now be part of its core range along with Revival and Evolution.
Glenglassaugh Torfa, with its smoky, peaty, phenolic nature, is a unique expression and quite different to the usual type of whisky produced in the Highlands.
“At Glenglassaugh, in addition to the traditional production, we also produce a very limited quantity of whisky using richly peated malted barley as the cereal varietal. The malted barley has been dried in the traditional way, over peat-infused kilns, giving the whisky its unique smoky flavour,” says Sales Director Alistair Walker.
Torfa has a brooding, edgy character whose personality is to be found at the darker end of the spectrum. Its name takes its inspiration from the Old Norse language with which the Scots dialect spoken in North East Scotland has an affinity and translates to “turf” or “peat”.
The historic distillery was acquired by The BenRiach Distillery Company last year. It dates back to 1875 and re-opened in 2008 after being mothballed for more than 20 years. The first whiskies from this refurbished distillery are now available to single malt Scotch whisky lovers everywhere.
Non-chill filtered, with natural colour and at 50% vol, Torfa was specially selected by Glenglassaugh’s Master Distiller Billy Walker. His tasting notes show the distinct characteristics of this truly phenomenal malt.
COLOUR: Gleaming yellow gold.
NOSE: Vivid, sweet, sooty campfire smoke and sea air infuse zest of lime, apricot jam and ripe soft fruits, all gently warmed by hints of stem ginger and cracked black pepper.
PALATE: An eloquent, sweet coastal peat smoke engulfs candied peel over melon, pineapple and roasted red apples. Oat biscuits, hints of heather honey and a gentle cigar box spice all combine to give a terrific balance to the expressive smoky character.
FINISH: A heady, yet elegant harmony of distinct coastal peat and striking spiced fruit flavours.
Torfa is a new single malt from Glenglassaugh to be treasured and savoured in quiet moments.
06 Mar 14

THE SINGLETON OF DUFFTOWN SINGLE MALT SCOTCH WHISKY LAUNCHES TWO NEW VARIANTS, “TAILFIRE” AND “SUNRAY” IN 2014

The Singleton of Dufftown Single Malt Scotch Whisky is adding two new, vibrant and exciting variants to its existing range, Diageo has announced.

Whilst keeping the smooth, rich nature of The Singleton of Dufftown, both “TAILFIRE” and “SUNRAY” have been created using specially selected casks to enhance particular elements of the flavour profile of this classic Speyside malt whisky. We want to inspire a new generation of whisky drinkers by putting flavour at the heart of everything we do and continuing our quest to create amazing tasting whiskies.

TAILFIRE has a vibrant and enticing character, which comes from maturation in a higher proportion of European oak casks specially selected to enhance the juicy red berry freshness and sweet aromas of vanilla and fresh cut grass. This variant will be launching in both grocery and whisky specialists in March 2014 across a number of markets in Western Europe (UK, France, Belgium, Netherlands, Switzerland, Denmark, and Germany in July 2014). The Recommended Retail Price of TAILFIRE in the UK market will be £33.

The smooth yet intense character of SUNRAY comes from maturation in a higher proportion of toasted Bourbon casks specially selected to deliver a honeyed, vanilla sweetness with aromas of blackcurrant and baked apple. SUNRAY will be launching exclusive to whisky specialists in March 2014 across a number of markets in Western Europe (UK, France, Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, Switzerland and Denmark). The Recommended Retail Price of SUNRAY in the UK market will be £36.

Colourful packaging indicative of the taste profile, and clear flavour descriptors have been chosen to facilitate the demystification of single malt whisky, a category with historically fewer younger consumers. We want to clearly communicate what flavours people can expect to enjoy.

TAILFIRE and SUNRAY have both been created by Diageo Master Blender, Dr Matthew Crow. Matthew comments, “I am immensely proud of these two single malts. TAILFIRE and SUNRAY embody the future of whisky, and have been created to inspire a new generation of whisky drinkers. The Singleton is a much loved Speyside whisky, and has always put great taste and flavour at the heart of their single malts.”

The names TAILFIRE and SUNRAY are derived from the names of salmon flies, inspired by the world of our icon, the leaping salmon and fly fishing near our home on the River Spey. The names are colourful, vibrant and interesting whilst also being indicative of the flavour profile of each whisky. TAILFIRE and SUNRAY join The Singleton family alongside the 12, 15 and 18 year old expressions.

04 Mar 14

Following last year’s announcement of the rebirth of Mortlach™, one of the most formidable and revered Single Malt Scotch Whiskies to have been created on Speyside, images have now been released that reveal the highly distinctive engineered style of the stunning new Mortlach bottles, along with more distribution and pricing details.

In 1823 Mortlach was the first distillery to be built at Dufftown, now one of the epicentres of Speyside whisky distilling. Its most eminent owners were the entrepreneurial Scottish civil engineer George Cowie, and his gifted and equally ambitious son Dr Alexander Cowie.

In tribute to these distinguished pioneers, the design style of the new packaging is rooted in an engineered world, reminiscent of beautiful man-made structures, whilst also elegant, luxurious and contemporary.

The engineering cues incorporated in the bottle design are most visible in the unique faceted base of the Rare Old & Special Strength bottles, whilst the metal structures of the 18 and 25 year-old bottles protect, enhance and display the fine single malts they contain. The design of the metal structures has been inspired by some of the great engineering feats of the Victorian period, especially the cantilever bridge design made famous on Scotland’s very own Forth Road Bridge.

Georgie Bell, global brand ambassador for Mortlach, said: “Mortlach whiskies are a celebration of those audacious thinkers who shape and make today’s world, just as their forefathers did in the era in which Mortlach was born. These spectacular bottles help tell that story.”

Limited supply

Four new Mortlach variants are designedMortlach firing_4Y7Z9051 for global travellers and for connoisseur Scotch whisky drinkers. Due to the very limited supplies of this unique liquid, these new expressions of Mortlach will be sold in 50cl bottles, except for the USA where for legal reasons 750 ml bottles will be used.

In the early years, the distribution of these rare and prestigious whiskies will focus on carefully selected cities. They will first be available in London and Berlin in June, and in a small number of global travel retail channels. They will then roll out - again in very restricted volumes - to the cosmopolitan cities of Asia-Pacific in August (for example Taipei, Shanghai, Beijing, Hong Kong, Singapore) and at the same time to New York, Chicago and San Francisco in the United States.

Distillery expansion

Meanwhile, to build more stocks of Mortlach for the years ahead, plans are progressing for the expansion of Mortlach distillery with all the strong purpose, ingenuity and attention to detail of the Cowies, doubling the distillery’s capacity.

Mortlach Distillery, Dufftown, Scotland

The expansion will include the building of a new stillhouse. This will replicate the bewilderingly complex process with which Alexander paved the way - a unique distillation system (which commentators have attempted to explain as ‘2.81 Distilled’) precisely calculated to create this celebrated, highly complex and richly flavoured whisky. Mortlach has been described by whisky connoisseurs as “The Beast of Dufftown” for its rich and powerful flavours.

NOTES

Mortlach new expressions

Mortlach Special Strength (travel retail exclusive) is a big, warming cask strength liquid with a complicated yet harmonious mix of young vanilla and mature oak, underscored by roasted aromatics and a long, pervasive and smooth finish


Mortlach Rare Old: A complex and bold expression with Mortlach’s signature exquisite balance of sweetness and dryness for which the distillery is renowned. Superbly structured and well balanced, the whisky’s fruit and floral notes on the nose introduce a rich, energetic palate and a pleasantly drying finish
Mortlach 18 Year Old is a compelling and moreish expression which is best enjoyed straight. Characterised by a fine interplay of meaty notes, malty sweetness and balancing acidity
Highly complex and multi-faceted, Mortlach 25 Year Old combines roasting spices and an almost animal intensity with dense layers of decadent sweetness.
Prices

The guideline pricing will be £55 for Rare Old, £180 for Mortlach 18 year old, and £600 for Mortlach 25 year old. In Global Travel the Special Strength will be £75. (All prices shown as UK Recommended Retail Prices.) Prices for the United States and other regions will be announced later.

03 Mar 14

Exponent Private Equity, a private equity firm specialising in UK business investments, will take control of the Loch Lomond Distillery at Alexandria, West Dunbartonshire, Scotland, as well as the company’s assets, including the Glen Catrine packaging plant in Ayreshire, and the Glen Scotia malt distillery in Campbeltown, Argyll and Bute.

Under the agreement, the firm will also take control of the Loch Lomond and Glen Scotia single malt whisky brand, High Commissioner blended Scotch whisky and Glen’s Vodka.

The terms of the deal have seen The Loch Lomond Distillery Company’s assets acquired by the newly-formed Loch Lomond Group, in which Exponent owns a majority stake.

Management of the new group will be lead by CEO Colin Matthews, who was previously responsible for leading Imperial Tobacco in Africa, the Middle East, Asia and the Indian subcontinent.

Former Diageo chief financial officer Nick Rose will chair the new business.

“Loch Lomond, Glen Catrine and Glen Scotia have built a sound business platform with brands that perform well in the UK and in a number of international markets,” said Matthews.

“The growth of the Scotch whisky industry in recent years offers a great opportunity to develop further the Loch Lomond business, to refresh and expand the product portfolio, and to move into a number of new international markets building on the excellent progress the company has already made.”

http://www.thespiritsbusiness.com
27 Feb 14

Just sending you all a quick newsflash with some exciting information about THE CAMPBELTOWN MALTS FESTIVAL!

For those of you who aren’t aware, we have been running the Springbank Open Day since 2009 and the event continues to attract more and more visitors to Campbeltown each year. On the day, activities usually include free distillery tours, masterclasses, local craft stalls, live music, special bottlings and much much more!

Inspired by the Explore Campbeltown initiative, this year we are extending the celebrations and from Wednesday 21st May to Friday 23rd May 2014, Campbeltown’s three distilleries will be working together to create The Campbeltown Malts Festival where the whiskies from Springbank, Glengyle and Glen Scotia are all celebrated.

During the day on Wednesday 21st of May we will be mainly focusing on Glen Scotia. There will be free tours of Glen Scotia Distillery running at 12 noon and 2.30pm. At 4pm, a representative from Glen Scotia will be holding a masterclass where you will get to taste some of the range. The masterclass will be held in the Tasting Room at Cadenhead’s Whisky Shop and will cost £25 per person which includes a branded Glen Scotia Glencairn glass.

On the Wednesday we will also be doing something extra special for you lovely Society Members. Some of you may already be aware but in April this year it will be the 10th birthday of the Springbank Society which is the perfect excuse to treat you to a tasting! We will hold this at 1.30pm in the Tasting Room at Cadenhead’s Whisky Shop. The focus of the tasting will be “The best of 10 years” where we will carefully select some of our favourite bottlings from over the years. This tasting will be exclusive to Society Members and numbers will be limited to 40. If you would like to come along then please let me know as soon as possible to ensure you don’t miss out.

Details on the Wednesday evening events are still being finalised at the moment but I have a sneak preview of what we are planning: We will be holding a special dinner at Glengyle Distillery to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the re-opening. This will be a similar idea to the Kiln Dinner at Springbank last year but will take place in the Still House at Glengyle. After the dinner we will hold a ceilidh at Glengyle so remember to bring your dancing shoes with you! More information on both these events will be sent to you in the coming weeks. Customers who have pre-purchased the 10 year old Kilkerran sets and single bottles will be able to collect them from the Wednesday onwards.

On the Thursday it will be the Springbank Open Day - much the same idea as in previous years. The following masterclasses and tastings will be available:

11.30am / Cadenhead Masterclass with Mark Watt & Grant Macpherson

12 noon / The Distillery Manager’s Warehouse Tasting (3 drams)

1.30pm / Glengyle Masterclass with Jenny Karlsson

2pm / The Distillery Manager’s Warehouse Tasting (3 drams)

2.30pm / Springbank Masterclass with Ranald Watson

4pm / The Distillery Manager’s Warehouse Tasting (3 drams)

Masterclasses cost £25.00 each and include a ‘Springbank Open Day’ Glencairn Glass / Manager’s Warehouse Tastings cost £15.00 each.

If you would like to book onto any of the masterclasses/tastings on the Wednesday or Thursday then please email my personal email address mairi@springbankwhisky.com which will make it easier to keep all festival emails together!

On the Friday we will be holding our annual Golf Competition which this year will be re-named The Campbeltown Malts Open Golf Competition to be inclusive of all the distilleries in the Campbeltown region. We are still in the planning process for this but again, as soon as this is finalised I will let you know.

Our whisky celebrations will kick off a busy weekend of events within the town when it will play host to both the Kintyre Songwriters Festival and the Mull of Kintyre 10k and Half Marathon. Each of the different events will be a great opportunity to attract visitors to the town and there is sure to be a great buzz and excitement around the place that week - I can’t wait!

To finish, this is just a summary of the events announced so far....

Wednesday 21st May

12 noon / Free tour of Glen Scotia Distillery

1.30pm / ‘The best of 10 years’ Society Tasting - exclusive to Springbank Society Members

2.30pm / Free tour of Glen Scotia Distillery

4.00pm / Glen Scotia Masterclass - £25 per person & includes Glencairn glass

Thursday 22nd May

11.30am / Cadenhead Masterclass with Mark Watt & Grant Macpherson

12 noon / The Distillery Manager’s Warehouse Tasting (3 drams)

1.30pm / Glengyle Masterclass with Jenny Karlsson

2pm / The Distillery Manager’s Warehouse Tasting (3 drams)

2.30pm / Springbank Masterclass with Ranald Watson

4pm / The Distillery Manager’s Warehouse Tasting (3 drams)

Masterclasses cost £25.00 each and include a ‘Springbank Open Day’ Glencairn Glass / Manager’s Warehouse Tastings cost £15.00 each

Hopefully that is enough information to keep you going for the time being and as soon as I have more to share with you I will be in touch!

Have a great weekend when it comes!

Best regards,

Mairi

25 Feb 14

Speyburn distillery in Scotland is set to benefit from a £4 million expansion programme to meet growing global demand for Scotch whisky.

Speyburn Distillery high resProduction at the distillery, located in a glen near Rothes in Speyside, will double from 1.8 million litres to over 4 million litres each year under the expansion increasing capacity, which is set to be completed by the end of 2014.

Speyburn, part of the Inver House Distillers portfolio and owned by International Beverage Holdings, is already expected to see a volume growth of 15% for the 2013 / 2014 period.

Graham Stevenson, Inver House Distillers’ managing director said: “As we continue to be very optimistic about the long term potential for Scotch whisky, particularly in the emerging BRIC, African and South East Asian economies, investment in our production capabilities is crucial. Having the infrastructure in place to produce our high quality whiskies in greater quantities will be key to the future success of our brands, so we are delighted to see the first phase of this major programme of work get underway at Speyburn Distillery.”

The expansion will also serve to reduce the distillery’s energy consumption by installing the most up-to-date and energy efficient distillation equipment – whilst maintaining the distillery’s traditional methods of production – with predicted energy savings of more than 20% once up and running.

Bobby Anderson, Speyburn distillery manager said: “This is an exciting time for everyone here at the distillery and we are working with a great team of local companies to deliver the expansion programme, whilst retaining the great traditions and time-honoured techniques involved with crafting our whisky.

“It’s exciting for us to know that even more people around the world will be able to enjoy a taste of Speyburn as the project progresses this year.”

Richard Lochhead, rural affairs secretary in Scotland, said: “We know there is great demand for Scotland’s national drink with whisky exports from the UK increasing by 87 per cent over the last ten years from £2.3 billion in 2002 to £4.3 billion in 2012, and the expansion of this distillery will play an important role in meeting that global appetite for our premium product.

“I also welcome the fact the distillery is showing leadership by reducing its carbon footprint through the installation of energy efficient distillation equipment, and playing its part in the move towards making Scotland a low carbon economy.”

Speyburn Distillery was founded in 1897 and produces Speyburn Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky – a top 10 malt brand in the USA.

The Speyburn 10 Year Old, 25 Year Old and ‘Bradan Orach’ expressions are distilled using water from the nearby Granty Burn, a tributary of the River Spey, which is famed for its purity and world-class salmon fishing.

25 Feb 14

Just a single cask, amounting to 160 bottles, of the expression have been released from this “silent” distillery, which closed in 1983. Priced at £6,995 per 70cl bottle, the whisky is now exclusively available to pre-order through World Duty Free’s online outlet.

Bottled at cask strength of 59.1% abv from a highly peated Highland whisky laid down in 1972, this new release marks the oldest ever expression from Brora to reach the market.

The whisky is packaged in a crystal decanter, which features a golden image of the Scottish wildcat, the legendary guardian of Brora distillery, as well as the crest of its founder the Duke of Sutherland. The number 40 is etched into the decanter’s stopper, while the distillation year of 1972 is engraved into the copper neck.

Each decanter is then presented in a wooden case, which has been specially created by the Queen’s cabinet maker NEJ Stevenson.

Introducing the whisky, Steve White, global marketing director of Diageo global travel retail & Middle East, said: “We are confident that the supreme quality and rare nature of this whisky will delight and excite single malt collectors and aficionados who will want to add a bottle of this prestigious whisky to their prized collection.”

Meanwhile David de Miguel, global head of liquor at World Duty Free Group, noted that the exclusive partnership for this release “showcases our ability to consistently offer a range of unique whiskies across our stores.”

With growing global demand for rare or mature Scotch whiskies, de Miguel added: “The exceptional quality of this rare whisky will attract and intrigue whisky connoisseurs, helping to highlight our reputation as whisky specialists with the finest expertise.”

Brora was originally founded as the Clynelish distillery in the Sutherland town of Brora. After Clynelish opened a new distillery next door in 1967, the old site was reopened under the Brora name, before closing for good when much of the Scotch whisky industry was struggling during the 1980s.

Source: http://www.thedrinksbusiness.com

25 Feb 14

CARDHU Single Malt Scotch Whisky is adding a new, highly crafted variant to its popular and successful range of Speyside whiskies, Diageo has announced.

CARDHU AMBER ROCK™ has been double matured in toasted American Oak casks, to deliver richer notes of vanilla and spice. Elegant and deeply flavoured, it still retains the impeccable balance and the clean sweet notes that are a hallmark of CARDHU, and are faithful to the tradition of generous single malt whiskies created by the distillery’s remarkable founders, Helen and Elizabeth Cumming.

Official tasting notes announce that “the classic CARDHU notes of citrus and honey are deepened by fruit, spice and sweetness: superbly balanced and well-paced, with consistent intensity and texture and a tasteful mingling of silky tannins and clean, fresh vanilla flavours and aromas.”

Master Blender Dr Matthew Crow, who worked on the new CARDHU AMBER ROCK, said:

“The Bourbon nuances that develop from the second maturation in toasted casks seasoned with Bourbon whiskey add an even greater silkiness and roundness to the already balanced and delicious CARDHU, bringing vanilla and spice notes along with hints of oak. We are very pleased with how this has turned out.”

CARDHU AMBER ROCK joins the CARDHU family of Speyside Single Malt Scotch Whiskies, which was recently expanded with the addition of 15 and 18 year old expressions.

Destined mainly for distribution through whisky specialist stores, CARDHU AMBER ROCK will be available in France and the Belgium from spring 2014, and more widely in Western Europe [UK, Switzerland, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Greece & Netherlands] from late summer onwards. The launch will be supported by in-store publicity, advertising and promotion through digital channels.

“Western Europe remains a major market for our single malts, including CARDHU”, commented Nik Keane, Diageo’s Global Brand Director for Malt Whiskies. “We are excited and confident that this very original new variant will appeal both to existing CARDHU drinkers and to whisky drinkers new to the category or the brand.”

The name “CARDHU” means “black rock” in the Gaelic language; “CARDHU AMBER ROCK” has been chosen as the name for the new CARDHU as a variant on the distillery’s name and to reflect the golden jewel-like colour of the new expression.

The Recommended Retail Price of CARDHU AMBER ROCK in the UK market will be £41

19 Fev 14 GLENDRONACH LAUNCHES NEW GRANDEUR 24 YEAR-OLD

THE START of a new year brings a new limited edition GlenDronach single malt designed for the serious connoisseur.

Replacing the GlenDronach Grandeur 31 Years Old that has now sold out, the GlenDronach Grandeur 24 Years Old is another exquisite long-aged representation of the smooth, complex and full-bodied style for which GlenDronach Distillery is justly famous worldwide.

For if the glorious rum-soaked golden sultanas don’t capture you as you savour it for the first time, you’ll definitely be ensnared by the dark chocolate and zesty orange oil softening to a deep clove spice.

The Grandeur 24 Years Old, at 48.9%vol, shows the finest sherry oak casks, masterful maturation and traditional crafted Highland single malt in perfect harmony.

Lovingly aged for almost a quarter of a century and beautifully gift-boxed, this exceptional whisky has been specially selected by Master Distiller Billy Walker from some of the oldest and most unique Oloroso sherry casks at GlenDronach.

This bottling, batch number 4 of the Grandeur releases, is limited to 569 bottles. Individually numbered by hand, each bottle is a one-off and truly unique, making it a very special and remarkable malt.

Billy Walker’s tasting notes demonstrate that the Grandeur 24 Years Old is indeed one of the greats.

Appearance: Glistening burnt amber holds a rich crimson heart.

Nose: A magnificent combination of honey-drenched dates and succulent raisins which gently ebb and flow with waves of delicate orange blossom, mint and cracked black pepper. Hints of glazed cherries and toasted almonds perfectly complement the seductive nose - a nose to be appreciated slowly and often.

Palate: A fabulously full-bodied, vibrant palate captures a multitude of classic sherry cask characteristics. The delicate sweetness of rum-soaked golden sultanas refines rich espresso, dark chocolate and treacle toffee. Zesty orange oil softens to a deep clove spice and prolongs the ever-changing palate. A sublime example of understanding the relationship between cask and single malt perfectly.

Conclusions: The Grandeur 24 Years Old encapsulates the perfect harmony of exquisite sherry oak casks, masterful maturation and traditional crafted Highland single malt. A dram to be savoured in order to reveal the depth of dramatic flavours held in the glass. A truly memorable and captivating GlenDronach expression.

Sales Director Alistair Walker commented: “This is a wonderful dram that needs a great amount of time spent on it in order to be fully rewarded with its stunning qualities – luscious, long and lingering.”
16 Jan 14

GLEN ORD DISTILLERY GETS ITS NEW STILLS
by Pat Roberts
Following Diageo’s announcement earlier today (16 January) of the investment at Clynelish Distillery, Glen Ord is now seeing the delivery and installation of new stills as part of the £25 million expansion plan for the distillery, which is seeing its capacity doubled to over 10 million litres per annum. The 10 new washbacks and 6 new stills will be housed in existing buildings at the distillery.

Diageo is also doubling the capacity at the Teaninich Distillery in Alness and is progressing plans to build a new malt whisky distillery and renewable energy plant on land adjacent to Teaninich.

In total these projects represent a capital investment of nearly £150 million across the Highland Council area.

16 Jan 14

NEW MILESTONE IN DIAGEO SCOTCH INVESTMENT WITH PLAN FOR CLYNELISH DISTILLERY EXPANSION
Posted on 16/01/2014 by Pat Roberts
Diageo, the world’s leading premium drinks business, has today announced plans for a £30million expansion of its Clynelish Distillery in Sutherland, in the North-East of Scotland.

In the latest major milestone in Diageo’s £1billion programme to increase Scotch whisky production, plans have been submitted to Highland Council for the major expansion of Diageo’s most northerly Scotch whisky distillery.

Clynelish Distillery
Clynelish Distillery

The Clynelish expansion will take the on-going capital investment by Diageo in the Highland Council region alone to almost £150million, including major expansions at Glen Ord and Teaninich Distilleries and plans to build a new distillery at Alness.

Keith Miller, Diageo Director of Distillation and Maturation, said:

“The plan to expand Clynelish Distillery is another major milestone in Diageo’s £1billion investment to increase Scotch whisky production capacity to help meet the future growth in global demand for our brands.

“Clynelish is a very special distillery, producing spirit which is highly prized for its quality and character and is an important part of our Scotch whisky blending inventory, so this is an important part of our investment programme.”

Clynelish Distillery produces single malt whisky unique in both taste and texture which is highly prized by Diageo’s master blenders for use in world-leading Scotch whisky brands such as Johnnie Walker. Clynelish is also a highly regarded as a single malt whisky in its own right. The distillery is also home to one of Diageo’s 12 distillery visitor centres, welcoming more than 5,000 visitors each year. Clynelish is near the Sutherland town of Brora.

Doubling production capacity

Under the plans submitted, Clynelish Distillery will see the installation of an additional mashtun, 10 new washbacks and six new copper stills. This adds to the 10 washbacks and six stills which the distillery currently has, and will effectively double the production capacity to nine million litres of alcohol per annum, whilst retaining the unique character and quality of the spirit. A bio-energy plant is also planned for the site to provide non-fossil fuel energy to power the distillery.

As part of the planning process Diageo will hold a community engagement session in February to share further details of the Clynelish proposals with the local community.

Diageo announced its £1billion Scotch whisky investment programme in June 2012. As well as the distillery expansions the company is also investing in new warehousing to store the additional spirit, with a major new bonded warehouse site being developed at Cluny in Fife.

Expansion at Glen Ord too

The Clynelish announcement comes as six new copper stills were delivered to the Glen Ord Distillery as part of the £25million expansion plan which is doubling the size of that distillery to over 10million litres per annum. Diageo is also doubling the capacity at the Teaninich Distillery in Alness and is progressing plans to build a new malt whisky distillery and renewable energy plant on land adjacent to Teaninich. In total these projects represent a capital investment of nearly £150million across the Highland Council area.

14 Jan 14

(Reuters) - Suntory Holdings Ltd SUNTH.UL has agreed a $16 billion (9.77 billion pounds) deal to buy Beam Inc (BEAM.N), making the Japanese company the world's third-largest maker of distilled drinks with a global footprint.

The company is paying $13.6 billion in cash for Beam shares as well as assuming its net debt, bringing together Beam's Jim Beam and Maker's Mark bourbons, Courvoisier cognac and Sauza tequila with Suntory's Yamazaki, Hakushu, Hibiki and Kakubin Japanese whiskies, Bowmore Scotch whisky and Midori liqueur.

It is the latest example of how Japanese drinks firms are seeking to quench their thirst for overseas growth as the population in their home market shrinks.

"All Japanese beverage companies have been focused on getting growth outside Japan," said Bernstein Research analyst Trevor Stirling.

Last year, privately held Suntory floated its food and non-alcoholic drink company Suntory Beverage & Food (2587.T), to raise money for overseas acquisitions. In 2011, Kirin Holdings Co (2503.T) bought control of Brazil's Schincariol for $2.6 billion and in 2009, Asahi Group Holdings (2502.T) took a stake in Chinese brewery Tsingtao.

Suntory said on Monday it will pay $83.50 per share in cash, a 25 percent premium to Beam's closing share price of $66.97 on Friday. Beam shares jumped 24 percent to $83.27 on Monday.

The price is more than 20 times Beam's earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA), a multiple that comes close to the record 20.8 times EBITDA Pernod Ricard (PERP.PA) paid in 2008 for the maker of Absolut vodka.

But unlike the Absolut deal, there are very few cost-saving opportunities here, said Bernstein's Stirling, since over 90 percent of Suntory's business is in Japan and the Beam business will continue to be run in the United States.

Given the steep multiple, Stirling thinks a counter bid by the likes of larger rivals Diageo (DGE.L) or Pernod is unlikely.

Beam has been viewed as an attractive takeover target since becoming a stand-alone public spirits company in October 2011. Analysts and bankers long speculated that its range of bourbons would fit nicely into Diageo's portfolio, which has many Scotch whiskies but only one bourbon.

Suntory and Beam already have a business relationship under which Suntory distributes Beam products in Japan and Beam distributes Suntory's products in Singapore and other Asian markets.

Suntory intends to fund the acquisition through a combination of cash on hand and fully committed financing from The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ.

Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley is acting as financial advisor to Suntory and Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP is acting as legal advisor. Centerview Partners and Credit Suisse are serving as financial advisors to Beam and Sidley Austin LLP is serving as legal advisor.

(Reporting by Martinne Geller in London; Editing by Greg Mahlich and David Evans)

Source: reuters.com
20 Dec 13

DRINKS giant the Edrington Group today announced plans to invest £100 million in a new distillery and visitor centre for The Macallan, one of the world’s leading single malts, in a major boost for the Moray economy.

The company said the creation of a “site of major architectural significance” in the heart of Speyside would consolidate The Macallan’s position as one of the world’s leading luxury spirits. The new distillery at Craigellachie is also expected to create extra capacity to meet the growing demand from existing and new international markets for the malt from the distillery which was founded in 1824.

Ian Curle, chief executive of Edrington, said: “This is a confident investment in the future of The Macallan and its home on Speyside. Our plan for the estate includes a contemporary distillery that embodies the international style of The Macallan and builds on the brand’s tradition of quality and craftsmanship. As this long-term investment develops it will bring significant employment and economic benefit to the local community.”

A company spokeswoman said: “The Macallan is recognised around the world as the ultimate marque of excellence and innovation , and the new facility will embody these characteristics in a design that complements the natural beauty of the area and The Macallan Estate.

“Creating a site of major architectural significance in the heart of Speyside will consolidate The Macallan’s position as one of the world’s leading luxury spirits. Over time the distillery is expected to deliver additional capacity to meet the growing demand from existing and new international markets.”

Edrington has commissioned leading architects Rogers Stirk Harbour and Partners (RSHP) to design and build the new distillery and visitor centre. The company has already designed the Pompidou Centre , Lloyd’s of London, the Millennium Dome, and Terminal 5 at Heathrow.

Ken Grier, Edrington’s director of malts, said: “As a leading luxury single malt, it was imperative that we selected an architect that understood and respected the importance of the history of The Macallan but had the experience and skills to create a building that is inspirational in its interpretation of contemporary luxury. In selecting RSHP, we have chosen a partner that shares our values and pushes the boundaries of style and quality.

For the full story, please go here: www.thescotsman.com

18 Dec 13

DIAGEO WELCOMES GEORGIE BELL AS NEW GLOBAL BRAND AMBASSADOR FOR MORTLACH
by Pat Roberts
Diageo is pleased to announce that Georgie Bell, currently Global Ambassador for the Scotch Malt Whisky Society, will join Diageo in January 2014 as a global brand ambassador focusing on the promotion of its new range of Mortlach Single Malt Scotch Whiskies (@mortlachwhiskies #mortlach), which will be launched next year (2014).

Ewan Gunn, Global Scotch Whisky Ambassador at Diageo, said: “We are all delighted that Georgie, with her extensive knowledge of the production, marketing and communications sides of the Scotch whisky industry, has agreed to join us and support our significant new initiative for Mortlach. In her short time as roving brand ambassador at the SMWS, Georgie has made a huge impact on the whisky world, engaging influencers and consumers in many key global markets, and deploying her knowledge, energy, passion and experience of the luxury spirits sector to promote Scotch whisky. She will have a key role to play, alongside our other Global Brand Ambassadors, in the promotion of Mortlach.”

Diageo announced in November that it planned to make four new expressions of the highly complex and richly flavoured Mortlach™ Single Malt Scotch Whisky, distilled in Dufftown since 1823, available in the global travel and luxury connoisseur markets from mid-2014. The doubling of capacity at Mortlach Distillery, involving the exact replication of the existing stillhouse, was announced in April 2013.

Georgie Bell studied at the University of Edinburgh. In 2012 the Worshipful Company of Distillers granted her their International Award for the Fundamentals in Distilling Course, and she was granted Freedom of the Company in 2013. Georgie also holds a Diploma in Distillation from the Institute of Brewing & Distilling.

18 Dec 13

NEW SERIES OF TRIPLE MATURED SINGLE MALT SCOTCH WHISKY EXCLUSIVES FOR FRIENDS OF THE CLASSIC MALTS™
Diageo have announced a series of limited edition single malt Scotch Whiskies available exclusively to the Friends of the Classic Malts™.

Five different single malts will be released at intervals over the next 6 months, throughout UK, Germany and Switzerland.

The first releases, in December 2013 will be editions of Royal Lochnagar™ and Talisker™. Three more single malts will be issued between January and June 2014: a further announcement with details of these releases will follow in January.

The distinctive feature of all the five malts in this rare and unusual series is that, in order to develop a whisky with a distinctive and complex profile that will intrigue the discerning connoisseurs among the Friends of the Classic Malts, they have been matured in a totally different way from the familiar Classic Malts Bottlings – and different also from the Distillers Editions of the same single malts.

Triple matured

The single malts in these special Friends’ bottlings have all been triple matured. Their initial maturation has been, conventionally, in refill casks. Next the liquids were transferred to charred American oak hogsheads, imparting spicy notes and a touch of sweet oak. To complete the conversation between spirit and oak, the whiskies enjoyed a third maturation in European Oak refill casks which softened, mellowed and integrated the aromas and flavours. Finally the whiskies were bottled at a generous 48% ABV.

Exclusive reward

Only a few thousand bottles of each expression are being produced: no more than 24,000 bottles are available in total across the five editions, and via online retailers and at Distilleries.

“These are truly special whiskies which we are proud to offer as an exclusive reward to our loyal members of Friends of the Classic Malts”, said Julien LeBescond, Diageo’s Senior Brand Manager for Scotch Single Malts for in Western Europe. “We greatly value their support and enthusiasm, and we’re confident that they will enjoy these exciting and unique liquids which we asked our master blenders to prepare just for them.”

Limited and exclusive distribution for Friends

These limited editions are being made available in selected Western European markets and via online retailers exclusively to members of the Friends of the Classic Malts so a true reward for loyalty.

In addition, bottles will be available for purchase by personal visitors to the relevant distillery – though again, only to signed-up members of Friends of the Classic Malts, or to visitors who join during their visit. Whether purchased online or at the distillery, the bottles are priced at £80 and the equivalent in Euros, and sales are limited to two bottles per customer.

Friends of the Classic Malts

See Friends of the Classic Malts on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FriendsoftheClassicMalts

And on the Classic Malts website.

03 Dec 13 GlenDronach releases latest batch of its single cask bottlings

AWARD-WINNING GLENDRONACH has today, 3 December, released Batch 9 of its succulent single cask bottlings, selected as always by Master Blender Billy Walker.

The magnificent nine, ranging from 41 to 18 years old, share GlenDronach's typically richly-sherried signature taste complemented by notes of almonds, cherries, raisins, prunes and lime…even cracked black pepper, cocoa beans and red chilli sauce!

Six were matured in Pedro Ximenez sherry puncheons while the other three come from Oloroso sherry butts. The result is a swirling and mesmerising range of expressions – from delicate sweetness to puckering malt monsters.

The oldest is a 41 year-old Oloroso sherry butt distilled in February 1972 – cask # 702. Bottled at 51.7% vol, this veteran is a complex, fiery wonder - rich dark oak edged with deep ruby. On the nose, it gives sumptuous depths of classic sour cherries dusted with gentle toasted almonds. And on the palate, it’s a beautifully elegant vintage sherry style bursting with a combination of dark espresso, molasses, herbs and oak spices.

And as a contrast, the youngest in the batch is an 18 year-old distilled in April 1995. This Pedro Ximenez sherry puncheon, cask number 3302, was bottled at 53.7% vol. It is rich golden burnt amber in appearance. On the nose, vibrant citrus zest combines with touches of wild mint and oak spice while on the palate an initial sweet chocolate and vanilla fullness moves to a delicate lasting zest and herb note.

The batch details are:

1972 cask # 702 / 41 years old / Oloroso Sherry Butt / 51.7% vol
1985 cask # 1035 / 27 years old / Pedro Ximenez Sherry Puncheon / 53.7%vol
1989 cask # 5470 / 23 years old / Pedro Ximenez Sherry Puncheon / 49.2%vol
1990 cask # 1243 / 23 years old / Pedro Ximenez Sherry Puncheon / 50.6%vol
1991 cask # 5405 / 21 years old / Pedro Ximenez Sherry Puncheon / 49.9%vol
1992 cask # 195 / 21 years old / Oloroso Sherry Butt / 59.8%vol
1993 cask # 5 / 20 years old / Oloroso Sherry Butt / 53.0%vol
1994 cask # 3385 / 19 years old / Pedro Ximenez Sherry Puncheon / 53.4%vol
1995 cask # 3302 / 18 years old / Pedro Ximenez Sherry Puncheon / 53.7%vol

For more information, go to www.glendronachdistillery.com.uk or email info@glendronachdistillery.co.uk
03 Dec 13

GLENGLASSAUGH LAUNCHES NEW 40 YEAR-OLD SINGLE MALT
GLENGLASSAUGH distillery today, December 3, proudly launches its sumptuous 40 year-old single malt whisky.
With sherry notes complementing the fruit medley and array of spices, it’s typical, classic, gorgeous Glenglassaugh, a 40 year-old marriage of malt and oak and an outstanding representation of this rare and enduring Highland-style dram.
It has an initial run of around 800 bottles but it will be an ongoing product in our range, says Managing Director and Master Blender Billy Walker.
His personal tasting notes show that this is a truly magnificent malt where flavours and styles interlink beautifully to deliver seductive silky sweetness. At 42.5% vol, cask strength, non-chill filtered and at natural colour, this unique expression is full of character and complexity.
Colour: Deep gold.
Nose: An abundance of sweet, syrupy tropical fruits; banana, pineapple and mango in perfect harmony with gentle Oloroso sherry.
Palate: Sweet, rich, syrupy and complex. Oloroso sherry, toffee apples, mango and banana sit beautifully in the mouth alongside ginger and cocoa spice.
Finish: Rich, spiced sherry.
Founded in 1875 by local entrepreneur James Moir, Glenglassaugh has stocks dating back to 1963 and was taken over by BenRiach earlier this year. In August, the owners released their first Glenglassaugh bottling - a superb 30 year-old single malt - and the new 40 year-old continues the Portsoy distillery’s ability to subtly merge tropical fruits with sherry and gentle oak spice.
Billy Walker said: “We’ve inherited some astonishingly fine whisky at Glenglassaugh and we’re delighted to launch our second expression almost nine months after taking over the distillery. There is very strong demand for Glenglassaugh around the world.”

02 Dec 13

MORTLACH SINGLE MALT SCOTCH WHISKY IS REBORN
Diageo has announced the rebirth of Mortlach™, one of the most formidable and revered Single Malt
Scotch Whiskies to have been created on Speyside.
For decades, Mortlach’s output has been largely captured by Diageo’s blenders to add its unique notes to
complex world-class Blended Scotch whiskies – though in recent times, a very limited number of bottles of
Mortlach Single Malt Whisky have been available, and sold rapidly to connoisseurs in the know.
But now for the first time, and in response to suggestions over the years that such a rewarding Single Malt
Whisky deserved a wider market, it will be available in global markets in four expressions aimed at global
travel and the luxury and connoisseur segment: Rare Old, Special Strength, 18-year-old and 25-year-old.
Mortlach has been described by whisky connoisseurs as “The Beast of Dufftown”, for its rich and powerful flavours, produced in an astonishingly complicated and unique distillation process which commentatorshave attempted to explain as ‘2.81 Distilled’.
A famous family had a hand in that.
In 1823 Mortlach was the first distillery to be built at Dufftown, now one of the epicentres of Speyside
whisky distilling. Its most eminent owners were the entrepreneurial Scottish civil engineer George Cowie,
and his gifted and equally ambitious son Dr Alexander Cowie.
After playing a role in the shaping of the railway industry in the 19th century, George Cowie applied
his pioneering and precise approach to engineering another great challenge, the production of Single Malt Scotch Whisky. He accepted a partnership at the Mortlach distillery in 1852, before becoming sole owner in 1867.
He clearly made an impact as shortly afterwards a local newspaper wrote: “There is not perhaps a distillery in Scotland that has so many private customers as Mortlach from which spirits are sent not only over the three kingdoms to families, but to America, India, China and Australia, in all of which Mr Cowie has customers who prefer his distillation to all others …” (The Elgin Courant, 1869).
In 1896, George died and his son Alexander, who through his own pioneering work had become an
enlightened traveller, returned to Dufftown from Hong Kong and assumed full control of the distillery.
Harnessing his entrepreneurial energies and scientific background to oversee the development of Mortlach,
Alexander paved the way for the creation of a unique distillation system precisely calculated to create the
highly complex and richly flavoured whisky that we know today. Alexander developed a profound
knowledge and mastery of whisky making. Indeed, his pioneering work on whisky creation and production was soon recognised in the leading role he played in Scotland’s expanding malt whisky world.
As Chairman of the North of Scotland Malt Distillers’ Association, Alexander represented the interests of
over 40 distillers in the North of Scotland and spoke on their behalf at the 1908/09 Royal Commission on
Whiskey, where he proudly claimed “I am a malt distiller of high flavoured whisky, a thick type of
whisky”.
In a golden age of Victorian expansion and improvement, George and Alexander Cowie were typical of
those generations of Scottish engineers, scientists, surveyors and entrepreneurs who, with a energetic
sense of purpose, made a confident and lasting mark not just in Scotland and Britain but around the world.
At the helm of the Mortlach distillery for over half a century, the Cowies’ innovative spirit shaped
the brand and liquid for centuries to come. In the spirit of these pioneers, the reborn Mortlach
whiskies are a celebration of those audacious thinkers who shaped today’s world, just as their
forefathers did in the era in which Mortlach was born.
Just as both generations of Cowies made major investments to expand and improve their distillery, so they
would undoubtedly be proud to note that its present owners (as announced in April 2013) are investing to
double the distillery’s capacity and promote its whiskies widely – a statement of intent and ambition that
George and Alexander would surely endorse. The expansion will include the building of a new stillhouse,
which will replicate the bewilderingly complex distillation process which makes Mortlach™ unique.
The new Mortlach expressions will be available in selected markets in mid-2014. Further details of pricing,
distribution and packaging will be released in early 2014.
Please drink your Mortlach responsibly.

An artistic view of the new still house.

28 Oct 13

Announcing The Launch Of
“SCALLYWAG”
A BLEND OF ONLY SPEYSIDE MALT SCOTCH WHISKY
From Douglas Laing

With over 65 years of ‘pedigree’ in the Scotch Whisky industry, leading independent Scotch Whisky specialist, Douglas Laing & Co today announce the release of their brand new Speyside Vatted Malt – Scallywag.

Douglas Laing’s Scallywag is a Small Batch bottling created using only the finest Speyside Malts including – amongst others – Mortlach, Macallan and Glenrothes.

Bottled at 46% alcohol strength and non chill-filtered, this Small Batch bottling has a distinct rich, dark colour – extracted from the many fine Spanish Sherry Butts used during maturation. The result is a truly charming Malt with a richly spiced character fused with vanilla (from the bourbon casks used), sweet stewed fruit, Christmas pudding, dark chocolate, zesty orange and sweet tobacco.

No attention to detail has been missed in creating the Scallywag packaging. Inspired by the long line of Douglas Laing family Fox Terriers, which are renowned for being sweet yet rather mischievous dogs, it was therefore felt the Scallywag name and Fox Terrier design was most fitting for this richly spiced and deliciously sweet Speyside Vatted Malt.

Says Douglas Laing’s Managing Director (and proud Fox Terrier owner) Fred Laing: “From a chance sketch by a designer of our sweet, wee, rascal of a Fox Terrier, our Scallywag Malt Whisky was born! “Sweet” was the key which focused us on Speyside. Its cask selection is self-evidently heavy on the sherry background, balanced by first-fill bourbon casks – so the resulting ‘Vatted’ Malt comes with an excellent pedigree”.

Douglas Laing’s Scallywag will be available from specialist Whisky retailers from November 2013.

Tasting Notes:

Scallywag has a rich, dark colour – extracted from the many fine Spanish Sherry Butts selected.  It carries a richly spiced character on the nose woven into delicious vanilla from the Bourbon Hogsheads selected. On the palate detect layer on layer of sweet stewed fruit, Christmas pudding & dark chocolate fused with spice (nutmeg and cinnamon) much of which can be attributed to years slumbering in those Sherry Butts. The finish displays a burst of zesty orange with sweet tobacco, cocoa & rich fruit cake. 

09 Oct 13

Can a change in environment really change the experience of food and drink?
World-first scientific experiment reveals changes in environment affects smell, taste and flavour of single malt whisky. But what does this mean for our dining experience in general? Can a change in lighting or music really affect how we experience food and drink?

A Professor from the University of Oxford has conducted a world first scientific experiment and claims to have proven scientifically that a change of environment can enhance the sensory experience of whisky by up to 20% - but what does this mean for our eating and drinking experiences in general?

Professor Charles Spence, Head of Crossmodal Research in the Department of Experimental Science at Oxford University, found that the participants in his multi-sensory tests would vary ratings of the smell, taste and flavour of the whisky by 10- 20% when tasting exactly the same single malt whisky in different atmospheres.

He carried out the experiments both in the laboratory and under more realistic bar conditions. The latter – The Singleton Sensorium - saw people tasting exactly the same single malt whisky in three rooms with very different environments: a grassy room laid with turf and noises of nature, a fruity room with red fruits and chiming bells, and a woody room with wood panels and sounds of crackling wood fires.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9SzLxB_u43I&feature=youtu.be

 

And now experts are claiming that the study could have exciting implications for people when designing the interior of their homes, and for the way pubs, bars and restaurants are designed in the future. Chefs such as Heston Blumenthal are already embracing the potential when working with all the senses to deliver powerful tasting experiences, and the results of Professor Spence’s experiment may go some way to explaining how that bag of fish and chips eaten near seaside can feel so different to eating the same thing at home.

So whether you want to change your lighting, put on a special soundtrack or even think about the scents surrounding you - all of these can work to change the smell, taste and flavour of your culinary experience.

Professor Charles Spence said, "We carried out experiments both in the laboratory and in The Singleton Sensorium, under more realistic bar conditions. The Singleton Sensorium saw people tasting The Singleton Single Malt Scotch Whisky in three rooms with very different environments: a grassy room laid with turf and noises of nature, a fruity room with red fruits and chiming bells, and a woody room with wood panels and sounds of crackling wood. Both sets of results confirm that it really is possible to enhance the drinker's experience by creating a rich multi-sensory environment.

"This sort of research has significant implications for anyone looking to enhance their whisky experience in a bar, restaurant or even from the comfort of their own homes. Notable chefs have embraced the potential when working with all the senses to deliver powerful tasting experiences," he said.

This latest research has been published in Flavour, a peer-reviewed journal from Bio Med. Velasco et al: Assessing the influence of the multisensory environment on the whisky drinking experience. From Wednesday 9th October, the study will be available to read via the following link: http://www.flavourjournal.com/content/2/1/23.

27 Sep 2013

GLEN GARIOCH LAUNCHES FIRST VINTAGE MATURED SOLELY IN SHERRY CASKS

Limited Edition Glen Garioch Vintage 1999

Glen Garioch has released its inaugural expression to be matured solely in Oloroso sherry casks, as part of the Highland distillery’s small batch vintage programme.

Hand selected at the peak of perfection, the Glen Garioch Vintage, distilled in 1999 is non-chill filtered to retain its authentic, full-bodied Highland character.

Handcrafted and matured in sherry casks for 14 years at the Highland Distillery in the heart of the rural village of Oldmeldrum, Aberdeenshire, this heart-warming dram captures the essence of Scottish Highland charm. The Oloroso sherry casks have influenced this robust spirit to give the malt its dark, sweet fruit, treacle and maple syrup notes and spicy, syrupy taste.

With just 1,000 cases available globally, the Glen Garioch Vintage 1999 is sure to become a favourite with malt enthusiasts when it hits the shelves of specialist whisky and liquor stores from October.

Rachel Barrie, Master Blender for Morrison Bowmore Distillers, said, “This is a full-bodied malt with exquisite rich fruit, chocolate and toffee notes, which really captures the essence of the Highlands.

“Hand picked and bottled at 56.3% ABV to bring out the rich spicy flavours of the Vintage 1999 really showcases the quality of the spirit produced from this small artisan distillery through our limited edition programme.

“This is an exciting small-batch release that encapsulates the rare find that is Glen Garioch itself and I’m sure will be a favourite with any whisky enthusiast.”

Available from selected specialist retailers from the end of September, Glen Garioch Vintage 1999 is bottled at 56.3% ABV will retail at circa £59.99.

Tasting notes:

Walnut brown in colour, the 1999 Vintage is full-bodied and intensely sherried with a syrupy mouth coating texture. Treacle toffee, chocolate and maple syrup soak into the palate, carrying the tingly warmth of nutmeg and ginger spices, tangy orange marmalade and dates into a long, deep finish of raisins, caramelised toffee and liquorice.

20 Sep 13

The new version of the Malt Whisky Yearbook 2014 has just been announced and should be available starting 1 October 2013

www.maltwhiskyyearbook.com

- The Distillery Section completely revised with all the latest news

- The chapter on Distilleries Around the Globe now bigger than ever

- New exciting articles by distinguished writers such as Charles MacLean, Ian Buxton, Gavin D Smith, Dominic Roskrow, Neil Ridley, Jonny McCormick and Hans Offringa

-Completely new Japanese chapter by Nicholas Coldicott

- More than 250 tasting notes, including Japanese malts and independent bottlings

- Learn about some of the world´s biggest blended whiskies and the malts that contribute to the success

-Whisky Around the World - new feature with whisky profiles around the globe inviting you to their country

- Expanded section on Independent Bottlers

-A listing of more than 150 of the world´s greatest whisky shops

- The Whisky Year That Was - the most comprehensive summary you´ll find of the news and trends in the

industry

- All the latest info on bottlings, web sites, books as well as the latest statistics and figures

- More than 500 colour photos


All in all - the most updated whisky book on the market!

11 Sep 13

Arran Brewery to reopen Rosebank distillery in UK

UK-based Arran Brewery has received around £500,000 in grant from Historic Scotland to reopen the Rosebank distillery in Falkirk.

The company has outlined plans to unveil a brewery, micro-distillery and visitors center on the site. It will name the brewery as Forth and Clyde Brewery Falkirk while the micro distillery will be named the Camelon Distillery.

Commenting on the grant, Arran Brewery managing director Gerald Michaluk said that this has been a long struggle to get support for this site from the Scottish Government.

"While we want to maintain the historic character of the site and open it to the public, at the same time we need to secure its on-going economic success by running a profitable business there," added Michaluk.

Rosebank Distillery, with a capacity to distill around 123,000 gallons of whiskey, was shut down in 1993.

The Arran Brewery, which operates as a subsidiary of Marketing Management Services International, manufactures beer. Source: http://spirits.drinks-business-review.com

10 Sep 13

LAGAVULIN DISTILLERY ANNOUNCES DETAILS OF THIS YEAR’S SPECIAL BOTTLING FOR THE LAGAVULIN ISLAY JAZZ FESTIVAL
by Pat Roberts
A special limited-edition bottling of Lagavulin™ single malt Scotch whisky will again be available at this year’s Lagavulin Islay Jazz Festival ( #LagavulinJazz ), which starts on Friday 13 September with a concert in the Malt Mill at Lagavulin distillery by the master of American Stride piano, Stephanie Trick.

The third in this series of releases, the 2013 bottling comes in an edition of 1,500 individually numbered bottles and drawn from hand-selected Sherry Butts filled on 19 January 1995. It is bottled at an ABV of 51.9%.

Lagavulin Jazz bottling 2013

“We’re delighted to announce our third Jazz Festival bottling” said Nick Morgan, Diageo’s Head of Whisky Outreach. “The first two have been of quite exceptional quality, and this year we’ve increased the quantity to ensure that it can be enjoyed by visitors who come from all over the world to enjoy the Lagavulin Islay Jazz Festival, and those who follow.”

The neck labelling continues the jazz theme of previous editions, again featuring a piano keyboard.

Bottles will be available to personal visitors only at Lagavulin distillery (limit of two bottles per customer) at a UK RRSP of £99.

04 Sep 13

With over 65 years of experience in the Scotch Whisky industry, leading independent Scotch Whisky specialist, Douglas Laing & Co announce the release of their new core Single Malt Single Cask range – their Old Particular.

Douglas Laing’s Old Particular is a ‘particularly’ unique series of individually hand-selected aged Single Cask Malts from all over Scotland – each bottled according to the founders’ philosophy of topmost quality. Meaning, Old
Particular bottlings are from only one cask, without colouring and without chill
filtration – allowing the cask and the naturally present oils, fats and enzymes in
the spirit to make their own special contribution to its nose, mouthfeel, palate and finish.

Launching this September and available from specialist Whisky retailers, some truly exceptional bottlings feature in this first batch including Malts distilled at Bowmore, Caperdonich and Port Ellen distilleries to name but a few.

Since the start of the year, the Douglas Laing team has been quietly progressing and developing this exciting new range, which they believe is their best yet. Fred Laing, company Managing Director, and Jan Beckers, Global Malt Ambassador, have long been the ‘Noses’ within Douglas Laing. Accordingly they have been particularly busy selecting casks, writing tasting notes and determining the optimum alcohol strength at which to release this new series.

Douglas Laing have chosen to bottle Old Particular at three different alcohol strengths. Some rarities will be bottled at cask or natural strength and thereafter 48.4% for the bottlings aged to 18 years and 51.5% for 19 and over. These strengths have been decided upon after considerable internal discussion, tasting and analysis.

Global Malt Ambassador Jan Beckers comments “I am lucky enough to have been involved in the selection of thousands of casks at Douglas Laing and I am particularly excited about this new range. We believe the lower strength of 48.4% allows the ‘younger’, feistier Whiskies to soften out some of their ‘hotter’ characteristics. The older Malts have already had the effect of the Angel’s Share to mollify some of these hot spots and we believe at 51.5% strength, we achieve exactly the quality we want.”

Meanwhile no attention to detail has been missed in developing the packaging for Douglas Laing’s Old Particular Single Casks. From the super premium gift
tube to the regionally coloured bottle labels, the team has worked tirelessly to create packaging worthy of such unique and old Single Malt Scotch Whisky.

Says Douglas Laing’s Managing Director Fred Laing: “After 65 years in the industry, we believe we have created Douglas Laing’s best ever Single Cask range – a natural progression to what has gone before. It has been a real labour of love, enthusiasm and experience – so the team and I are delighted to now be launching our Old Particular selection. We hope this Single Cask range captures the imagination of Whisky enthusiasts globally. It should take you as close as you can get to that rarest of pleasures – sampling a dram straight from its cask in the hallowed surroundings of a distillery warehouse.”

Douglas Laing’s Old Particular Single Casks will be available from specialist Whisky retailers from September 2013.

03 Sep 13

THE WORLD’S “MOST SOUGHT AFTER , VALUABLE AND COLLECTIBLE” SINGLE MALT SCOTCH WHISKIES

Details and Prices


DISTILLERY

AGE AT BOTTLING

YEAR DISTILLED

UK RRSP

% ABV ON BOTTLING

VOLUME RELEASED (BOTTLES)

Brora ***

35

1977

£750

49.9

2,944*

Caol Ila

Not declared

Not stated

£70

59.6

Limited number

Cardhu

21

1991

£160

54.2

6,000*

Convalmore ***

36

1977

£600

58.0

2,980*

Lagavulin

12

not stated

£80

55.1

Limited number

Lagavulin

37

1976

£1,950

51.0

1,868*

Oban

21

not stated

£225

58.5

2,860*

Port Ellen ***

34

1978

£1,500

55.0

2,958*

The Singleton of Dufftown

28

1985

£235

52.3

3,816*

Talisker

27

1985

£475

56.1

3,000**

* = individually numbered bottles

** = individually numbered cartons

*** = closed distillery

Diageo has announced the ten Single Malt Whiskies that form its annual limited-edition Special Releases for 2013.
In the words of Nik Keane, global director for malt whiskies at Diageo, they represent “some of the most sought after, valuable and collectible Single Malt Scotch Whiskies in the world”.
The oldest in the collection is a Lagavulin™ at 37 years old and distilled in 1976 – the oldest expression of Lagavulin ever released by the distillers, in a dramatically limited edition of fewer than 2,000 bottles. It is flanked by a lively 12 year old Lagavulin.
Georgie Crawford, distillery manager at Lagavulin, said: “Lagavulin is probably the most sought-after single malt whisky in production today  -  universally acknowledged as one of the unchallenged grands crus of Scotch Whisky. For many years we have been unable to supply sufficient mature spirit to meet worldwide demand. So bottlings of old Lagavulin are exceptionally rare, and this year’s 37 year old is the oldest that we have ever released. Its 12 year old younger brother makes a regular appearance in the Special Releases, and has always been received with huge enthusiasm.”


Lagavulin 37yo
Further North, from the Isle of Skye, 3,000 individually numbered bottles of a classic and sophisticated Talisker™ distilled in 1985 are destined to be much in demand from adorers of this legendary single malt.
Three grown-up whiskies make the case for Speyside.  An unusually mature example of Cardhu™, presented at 21 years old in fewer than 6,000 individually numbered bottles, will suggest an interesting comparison with the 22 year old Cardhu own bottling released in 2005. The 28 year old bottling of The Singleton of Dufftown™ is the first limited cask strength edition of The Singleton in this series with just 3,840 individually numbered bottles. And bottled at 36 years old, the very rare Convalmore™ – from the Dufftown distillery that ceased production in 1985 – makes a welcome reappearance, carrying  a few more years since its last much-acclaimed showing in the Special Releases back in 2005, this time in a smaller edition of only 3,000 bottles.
For lovers of West Coast Single Malt Whiskies, Oban™ is represented by a 21 year old from rejuvenated American Oak and a second fill in ex-Bodega casks. Another complex maturation regime lies behind the 8th unpeated limited edition of Caol Ila™ which this year proudly carries the subtitle “Stitchell Reserve” in honour of the long-serving distillery manager Billy Stitchell, due to retire this year.  “Refill American Oak, rejuvenated American Oak and ex-bodega European Oak have all played a role in creating this special Caol Ila,” explains Billy. “It has a firm, clean and fresh style, finishing with aromatic, spicy and drying notes.”
Ultra-rare bottlings from another two long-closed distilleries complete the line-up in this year’s releases. A 34 year old Port Ellen™, the 13th and oldest release from the original distillers, comes in an edition of fewer than 3,000 individually numbered bottles, as does the equally desirable Highland East Coast 35 year old Brora™, from casks filled in 1977. Both bottlings are destined to excite collectors and connoisseurs.


Brora 35
Nick Morgan, Diageo’s head of whisky outreach,  commented: “Stocks of Brora and Port Ellen are inexorably diminishing. Each year’s limited-edition bottling releases one more fragment of whisky history that is unique, and can’t ever be replaced. This puts Port Ellen and Brora in a different category from most other very old single malts  -  mainly from operating distilleries  -  that  are on the market, often at very high  prices. On top of that, Port Ellen and Brora are not merely rare, old and in great demand – they are judged by most qualified commentators to be of outstanding quality, and this year’s edition will be no exception.
“Indeed, many would accept that Port Ellen and Brora are among the world’s rarest Single Malt Whiskies still being released.”

Official Tasting Notes
Diageo Special Releases 2013: Official Tasting Notes
Brora™ 35 year old
Refill American Oak and European Oak

  1. Appearance: Yellow gold or polished brass. Lightly oily.
  2. Nose: Initially clean, fresh and bracing; then warming, developing depth and richness. Creamy top notes of warm scented wax or vanilla-custard float above a herbal note (basil?) and a sharper, cereal base, all suffused with just a thread of smoke. The nutty, waxy notes sweeten into honeycomb and toasted coconut. The sea appears very late, as a fresh sea breeze. Adding a little water softens the impact and brings up the scented wax, with honey and lemongrass subduing the more subtle vanilla aromas.
  3. Body: Light and softly coating.
  4. Palate:Good texture and a surprising taste: much sweeter than you expect from the nose, and much more smoky, with a most attractive tongue-coating smoothness. A leafy hint of fresh picked strawberry introduces lemon zest and candied peel to set the tongue tingling. Then damp beach notes of wood, sand and sea air round off a beautifully balanced palate. With water added this is a very easy-drinking, rewarding dram: fuller in texture than when at full strength, it is also less sweet, becoming mouth drying, cleansing and softly smoky.
  5. Finish: Coating, chewy and softly drying, with minty chocolate (after-dinner mints). Wood smoke lingers in the complex, fresh and spicy conclusion.

Summary: A Brora classic: a mature, sweetly pleasing, tongue-coating, softly smoky malt that rewards deep study, evoking a tranquil beach scene rather than the drama of the high seas. Fans of Brora will not be disappointed by this superb, comforting, old-fashioned whisky.
Caol Ila™ Unpeated Stitchell Reserve
Refill American Oak, rejuvenated American Oak and ex-bodega European Oak

  1. Appearance: Clear, olive gold. Light beading.
  2. Nose: At full strength, immediately clean, aromatic and fresh: like inhaling Friar’s Balsam. After this first blast, more reticent; softly sweet, then a vivid freshness like that of crisp green fruit or lemon zest. Water raises a fruity, nutty honeyed sweetness and a faint note of treacle, with perhaps just a hazy hint of smoke.
  3. Body: Light to medium. Oily, yet firm.
  4. Palate: Drinks well straight; has an intense and in your face style, with a most appealing smooth, lightly oily texture. Firm, clean and fresh throughout. Intense and mouth-filling, with a great initial surge of sweet spiciness unaccompanied by the usual signature phenols of peated Caol Ila or indeed, much fruit. Becoming honey-nutty (nut brittle, with a dark edge of treacle bitterness) then finally, warming and drying. A good splash of water develops these flavours; it’s tongue-coating and appetisingly bitter-sweet now, leaving a spicy dryness as the tide of flavour ebbs.
  5. Finish: Aromatic, spicy and drying; a balancing bitter edge embraces more of the soft nutty, biscuity notes, always maintaining that essential freshness overall.

Summary: A smooth-talking, easy-drinking powerhouse. A powerfully, punchy, warming and sweet-spicy whisky with a mighty vitality and a smooth texture: the clean, fresh bitter-sweet nutty flavours give it a character all of its own and it’s a perfect testament to a remarkable whisky making dynasty.


Caol Ila Stitchell Reserve

Cardhu™ 21 year old
Ex-bourbon American Oak

  1. Appearance: Old gold; richer amber depths. Good beading.
  2. Nose: Mild and at first quite shy. An early creamy, fruity note of vanilla and boiled sweets (bubble gum!) is faintly underscored by a rich, floral perfume with a cleansing edge. The creamy fruitiness persists as dried figs, rum-and-raisin ice cream, red apple skins and beeswax. Later a malty, biscuity base layer is revealed, as the cleansing edge becomes a sharply defined top layer. Overall, it’s a richer vanilla custard and fruit trifle creaminess that emerges. Water opens things out, raising both fruit and floral scents slightly, the boiled sweets now mandarin-flavoured.
  3. Body: Fine and light.
  4. Palate: At natural strength, smooth and savoury, with light acidity. Clean, refined, pleasantly drying and delicate. Then wonderfully aromatic with notes of black cherry; growing spicy, warming and elegant, with nutty, dark chocolate offset by buttery shortbread. It’s even softer with a drop of water. Now the taste starts cooler and sweeter; still savoury (mint on a fresh fruit salad) but also newly spicy across the tongue.
  5. Finish: Long, aromatic and warming; smooth vanilla balanced by juicy tangerine and faint orange oil with spicy cedar, late silky-smooth dryness and a wisp of smoke.

Summary: Clean and precisely structured; delicate and feminine on the nose, yet also robust, assured and unusually spicy. A beautifully balanced malt in which lusciously rich and indulgent vanilla notes are complemented by elegantly aromatic and refined tannins in the palate and finish.


Cardhu 21

Convalmore™ 36 year old
Refill European Oak

  1. Appearance: Vibrant amber or faded polished mahogany. Medium beaded and very viscous.
  2. Nose: Mild and profound, opening scented with eucalyptus oil and a trace of leather infusing a soft pillow of marshmallow and creamy toffee. Through this runs a rich vein of clean, tropical fruit sharpness, underscored by soft, crumbly, malty notes with a wisp of smoke. In time, the appetising fruit retreats into a rich, creamy shell. A little water brings up the soft toffee creaminess and a little mint, as the fruity complex becomes fresher.
  3. Body: Lightly oily. Smooth.
  4. Palate:Big and oily in texture; gently warming and extremely soft and comforting, like a whisky syrup!  The taste is immediately sweet yet, with a note of aniseed, not cloying. Successive waves of pepper, salt and smoke follow, revealing a mouth-drying nature. With water, the texture remains big, thick and tongue-coating; the taste is sweeter, cooler and minty; slightly dusty, too, with hints of shortbread and scented smoke.
  5. Finish: Superbly balanced, with an unusual aftertaste of perfumed smoke. There’s still sweetness but it’s in essence drying, with notable cedar-rich hints of cigar box.

Summary: A subtle, big whisky with an astonishing rich velvet texture that wears its age lightly yet has developed a wonderful complexity. The young-seeming, sweet and succulent nose leads, via the smooth, comforting palate, to a drying conclusion of marked aromatic complexity, masterminded by long years of maturation.


Convalmore 36

Lagavulin™ 12 year old
Refill American Oak

  1. Appearance: Extremely pale green-gold.
  2. Nose: Soft, beguiling and cautious at first, when an appetising sharpness slowly crystallises into red berry fruit, then developing soft, savoury aromas and a delicious smoky sweetness. Savoury hints of charred baked potato skins cooked in a bonfire come first, then peat smoke and a box of spent matches come through. Later still, there are teasing, oily hints of sharp tropical fruit (lime pickle?). These aromas are altogether softer with water; less tense and underscored by youthful sweetness. There are smoky-fresh notes, then raisins and dried fruit, with distant wood smoke.
  3. Body: Light. Oily.
  4. Palate: Cooling at first, then salty, drying and dusty, with a good balance of sweetness and acidity. Beautifully cleansing, like a salad of tarragon and peppery rocket, then really appetizing, as if a char-grilled endive splashed with peppery olive oil. The charred notes then strengthen, into smoky wax. Sweeter with water and more accessible, as captivating notes of aniseed and fennel seeds give way to charred fruit scones and burnt jam tarts.
  5. Finish: Simultaneously sweet and savoury, dominated by pungent smoke and appetising aniseed. With growing warmth, it becomes oily near the end. With water it is sweet and abrupt with subdued smoke; pleasantly drying and piney.

Summary: An initially reserved member of the Lagavulin family, which grows much more at ease and expressive with water. As you might expect, this is a wonderfully appetising, invigorating and cleansing malt; soaring pine and pungent smoke invite you to pair it with lean, intense foods.


Lagavulin 12

Lagavulin™ 37 year old
Refill American and European Oak

  1. Appearance: Rich amber with copper lights. Good beading.
  2. Nose: Modestly low key, setting the tone for a maestro’s ‘less is more’ performance. Yet still the aroma could only be that of Lagavulin: rich and complex, an artist’s oils wreathed in scented smoke. The top notes are elusive: is that menthol or beef consommé? Further in, though, there’s honeyed toffee with hints of lime zest, and a cigar-box made of resin-rich sandalwood. With water the aroma is joyously sweet and lightly oily.
  3. Body: Medium. Lightly coating.
  4. Palate: At natural strength, the taste is sensational, rounded and comforting. There’s a nice cooling mouthfeel, while the sweet-smoky start of charcoal and ripe tropical fruits is followed by gathering wood smoke leading to a palate-cleansing, black tea dryness. Along the way waves of honey, pine, treacle tart and roasting chestnuts interact. It’s really delicate with water, which pulls back the curtain of smoke to reveal a sweetly coating, softly warming and gingery character that is honeyed yet still refreshing.
  5. Finish: Initially sweet then drying, a little like a treacle tart made with burnt pastry, but it’s the lingering, all-pervading fragrant smoke that seeps into your very soul.

Summary: This outstanding mature Lagavulin is a perfectly balanced, calm and confident malt that is utterly wonderful and understated even at cask strength and becomes joyously delicate with water. Smoky flavours can fade with age, but they are undimmed in this elegant yet robust whisky.


Lagavulin 37

Oban 21

Oban™ 21 year old
Rejuvenated American Oak and second fill ex-bodega casks

  1. Appearance: Polished beech-wood; richer and deeper in sunlight. Moderate beading.
  2. Nose: Full, accessible and oily, with rich caramel notes embracing sweet, ripe apples set in burnt pastry yet also with fresh and cleansing maritime notes; fragrant dried seaweed, hot sand dunes. Then darker, linseed-oil-rich aromas like those found at a furniture restorer’s lead to a briefly salty, then spicy, aromatic conclusion. It’s more complex and sweetly rounded with water, with lighter caramel, more ripe autumn fruit, and a trace of smoke, delivering a pleasurable, moreish malt.
  3. Body: Rich.
  4. Palate: Warming overall, the dense, oily texture beautifully coating and liqueur-like. The taste is first sweet, with fruity vanilla toffee, then salty, with pistachio shells, and burnt pastry. Becomes sweeter and less salty: less the old sea-dog! Mouth-cleansing, cool and fresh, and drying. Water emphasises the cooling, sweet and salty notes; rich dark chocolate and minty smoke.
  5. Finish: Lengthy and drying, starting sweet and savoury with raspberry juice, dark smooth chocolate, ginger and clove, yet with an attractive salty, oily aftertaste, all brine and smooth olive oil.

Summary: Oban, and then some. A beautifully paced, confident and assured malt; complex and contradictory, yet always rewarding. Rich and sweet then briny and spicy, at once conveying the freshness of walks along the coast and through apple orchards early on a crisp, autumn morning.


Port Ellen 34

Port Ellen™ 34 year old
Refill American Oak and refill European Oak

  1. Appearance: A clear amber, like antique gold in sunlight.  Dense beading, suggesting rich texture.
  2. Nose: Cautious and clean at first, with hints of dark toffee wrapped in wood smoke, then cooling oil of eucalyptus and a trace of bruised apple fruit. The wood smoke parts to reveal a savoury, meaty scent, then sweet honey, toasted cereals and a whole artist’s studio of oils. With water, it starts smoky (like vegetables on a barbecue) the underlying oiliness now punctuated by hints of lime.
  3. Body: Light, oily, smooth.
  4. Palate: Stunning. Caution is thrown to the winds as sweet and intense smoke races across the palate chased by fresh lemons, lemon zest and butter. This rich, fruity smoky-sweetness becomes tongue-coating, smooth dark chocolate enveloped in exquisite wood smoke. It drinks very well straight and when the attack slows, there’s yetmore honey, lemon and a sprinkling of sea salt. If water is added it is smooth, lightly oily, much sweeter now and more accessible: still some salt, with a new spicy tingle.
  5. Finish: Long, coating, intense and sustained, all pervading scented smoke, hints of mint and bergamot, then finally dense and savoury, with an aftertaste suggesting cloves.

Summary: A phenomenal, mighty and utterly compelling Port Ellen with astonishing complexity and huge character. The refined nose gives no clue to the vivid, immediate onrush of astonishing flavours; a fine interplay of clean citrus, alluring smoke and salt with honeyed sweetness.
The Singleton of Dufftown™ 28 year old
Refill American Oak

  1. Appearance: Deep antique gold. Good beading
  2. Nose: Grand and mild; compact yet detailed, with ripe apple and pear fruit or perhaps beeswax and heather pollen, and scents of moorland herbs. Quite autumnal, with faint smoke and a savoury cereal note, and like an old dusty library carrying scents of wax and worn leather. Later, orange oil underscores the complex floral notes. In time some vanilla develops, becoming intense buttercream. Water lightens it considerably and brings out the malty, cereal character (like being in a grain loft), with leafy strawberries, more waxiness and the merest trace of smoke.
  3. Body: Oily, dense.
  4. Palate: At natural strength, this malt has a big, oily feel; sweet and reminiscent of a wholewheat breakfast cereal coated with honey. The initial effect is warming, with an instantly appetising astringency. Below this lie minty and faintly smoky notes and rich chewy liquorice with a digestive biscuit sweetness. It’s all sweeter and less oily with water; losing that piercing aromatic dryness and with the cereal note dimmed, it’s altogether gentler and more approachable.
  5. Finish: Invigorating, warming and gloriously astringent at the end, with notes of pine and cedar to leave the palate tingling over a lingering last wisp of smoke.

Summary: A wonderfully appetising, full flavoured and mature malt, made subtle by long ageing, yet retaining its malty/nutty distillery character. Beautifully structured and paced, it is at once fresh and alive on the palate, yet also evocative of the past; complex and exciting, intricate and intriguing.


The Singleton of Dufftown 28

Talisker™ 27 year old
Refill American Oak

  1. Appearance: Rich, clear amber with notes of antique gold.
  2. Nose: Absolutely classic Talisker. First soft and sweet, with shortcrust pastry and rich warm dark chocolate. Next, after the faintest mention of raspberry juice, comes waft upon waft of warming, homely smoke. Through this rises the buttery, oaty aroma of home-made chocolate chip cookies, offset by sharp mixed-berry jam and ripe red apples. There are late top notes of beeswax and polish on new shoes fresh from the box. Water makes it all sweetly smoky and liberates mysterious volcanic fumes.
  3. Body: Medium. Oily.
  4. Palate: Cool, salty and sweet; then warming and spicy, with notes of ginger and clove. Growing rich and malty, with helpings of plum pudding and fruitcake. Then resin-rich, dense, fragrant pine-wood smoke. Soft, smooth and bitter-sweet with water, with gently pervasive smoke.
  5. Finish: Long and silky-smooth, with more of that drying, unctuous and soft dark chocolate, and chewy, with ripe plums. Late warmth, cigar-box cedar and coal smoke.

Summary: A supreme Talisker; wonderfully classic in style and as sophisticated as its peers but with an extra ‘chilled’ self-assurance and even an edge of darkness. A malt that lives life to the full and doesn’t take itself too seriously: it’s also ever-so-slightly edgy, with suggestions of a volcanic heritage.


Talisker 1985

 

  Diageo dominates the IWSR’s World Class Brand rankings

Diageo’s Johnnie Walker just edged out Hennessy (owned by LVMH) to top the IWSR’s 2013 World Class Brands rankings. Jack Daniel’s (Brown-Forman), Jameson and Martell (both Pernod Ricard) round out the top five. The IWSR has ranked these brands using its 2012 volume and value data.

Johnnie Walker has seen strong growth in a number of markets across the world, rising by over 100,000 cases in 2012 in countries such as Mexico, Poland, the US, South Africa and Thailand, as well as the duty free/travel retail market. Overall, the brand grew by 1m cases over the year to reach 18m cases in total.

Hennessy’s second-ranking position is aided by its high price per case, but the brand also had a strong growth year in 2012. Thanks to a record year in China and a return to growth in the US, Hennessy added over 250,000 cases. These two countries now contribute a 63% share of brand sales.

Jack Daniel’s, the third-ranked brand in the list, also had a very positive year. Volume gains were driven by strong growth in the US and increasing interest in the brand’s flavour extensions brought total volumes to 12.2m cases in 2012. Jack Daniel’s has been experiencing strong sales in a number of its key global markets such as Germany (+13.9%), France (+11.8%) and Australia (+15.7), as well as in smaller markets such as Poland and Brazil.

Brown-Forman has also enjoyed remarkable success with its flavoured Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey extension. The flavoured variant has succeeded in recruiting non-traditional consumers such as women into the franchise.

Diageo also has the largest number of World Class Brands, with 28, including four in the top 10 (Johnnie Walker, Cîroc, Buchanan’s and Captain Morgan). That Diageo tally also includes four brands from the recently acquired USL India.

Paris-based Pernod Ricard follows with 18 entrants and three in the top 10 (Jameson, Martell and Absolut). Beam Inc. is well represented on the list with 11 brands, including its flagship Jim Beam at number nine. Bacardi follows with nine brands and Campari with seven.

In terms of categories, Scotch has the largest representation with 37 entrants. Vodka is next with 25 brands, followed by liqueurs at 18, rum with 13 and non-Cognac brandy with five.

The full list is published exclusively in the September issue of the IWSR Magazine.
01 Sep 13

BENRIACH LAUNCHES ITS FIRST GLENGLASSAUGH BOTTLING
THE BenRiach Distillery Company, which bought the Portsoy-based Glenglassaugh distillery in March, is today (29 August) releasing its first Glenglassaugh expression – a superb 30YO single malt.
Back in March, BenRiach’s MD and Master Blender Billy Walker said: “It’s our intention to bring this iconic distillery fully back to life by giving it the investment, commitment and care it deserves. I believe our whisky expertise, proven brand-building ability and strong routes to market will help take Glenglassaugh to the next level.”
The next level starts with this magnificent 30YO and Mr Walker’s tasting notes show how appropriate it is that this very special Highland single malt, at 44.8% vol, should be the very first Glenglassaugh to be released by BenRiach.
Colour: Amber.
Nose: Rich, complex and full with luxurious tropical fruits of peach, mango and banana, complemented with sultanas, sherry and gentle oak spice.
Palate: Sweet and soft with near perfect balance of fruit; mango, orange, figs and sweet sultana followed by a wave of sherry, toffee and ginger oak spice.
Finish: Warm, soft and gently spiced.
Sales Director Alistair Walker said: “We’re delighted to release our first Glenglassaugh expression five months after taking over the distillery. The 30YO is a great example of the unique Glenglassaugh character - complex fruit flavours, sherry overtones, spices and a lasting finish. It’s the first of a number of planned developments we have for our new brand which is in response to strong demand for Glenglassaugh in global markets.”

27 Aug 13

According to several sources the Diageo Special Releases for 2013 should be:

Caol Ila Unpeated 56.9% £70
Lagavulin 12 YO 55.1%
Oban 21 YO 58.5% £225
Cardhu 21 YO 1991 54.2% £160
Talisker 27 YO 1985 56.1% £475
Brora 35 YO 49.9% 3000 bottles £750
Port Ellen 34 YO 1978 3000 bottles £1500
Lagavulin 37 YO1976 1920 bottles £1950

19 Jul 13

GLEN GARIOCH RELEASES FULLY MATURED VIRGIN OAK MALT

Artisan distiller Glen Garioch has excelled with its latest limited offering, launching their first ever Virgin Oak Single Malt Whisky.

Glen Garioch is one of the few distillers to produce a fully-matured virgin oak single malt – a luxury for real connoisseurs.

Intrigued by the prospect of matching Glen Garioch’s rich hearty character with virgin American white oak, the distillery laid down a small number of specially created casks.

The result is a unique single malt packed with spiciness and vanilla.

Rachel Barrie, master blender for Morrison Bowmore Distillers, said: “Virgin Oak matured malts are not for the faint hearted and neither is Glen Garioch. It’s a malt for real aficionados and this exclusive small batch really makes its mark.

“Glen Garioch’s intense flavour means it holds up well in a new fill cask, allowing the liquid to be fully matured in virgin oak and not just finished in the barrel.

“We used the inner heartwood of 100-year-old oak trees grown in the North American mountains. Each oak barrel was heavily charred to activate the wood’s vanilla and oak spices in readiness for the maturing spirit, bringing its own unique woody tones to the malt.

“The final result is a fusion of vanilla, caramelised wood sugars and oak spices – a match made in heaven and a stand out for malt enthusiasts.”

Just 120 cases of the limited edition have been released for the UK market.

On the palate, Glen Garioch Virgin Oak offers a velvet explosion of rich buttery malt, chocolate and allspice.

Chocolate cake melds with treacle syrup and tangy orange marmalade leading to a long and warming finish of baked fruit marmalade, ginger and allspice.

Available from selected specialist retailers from the end of July, Glen Garioch Virgin Oak Single Malt Whisky is bottled at 48% ABV will retail circa £69.99.

17 Jul 13 BENRIACH RELEASES LATEST BATCH OF ITS SINGLE CASK BOTTLINGS
THE award-winning BenRiach Distillery has today, 17th of July, released Batch 10 of its eagerly-anticipated single cask bottlings.
Selected by Master Blender Billy Walker, the superlative twelve-expression batch from the Elgin distillery was bottled last month and all bottlings are available as of today.
Batch 10 comprises sublime Speyside vintages ranging from 1976 to 2005. Cask types vary from Moscatel and Virgin American Oak Hogsheads to Pedro Ximenez Sherry Puncheons and Barrels.
As always, they offer a mouth-watering range of classic BenRiach malt charm – zesty tropical fruits, dark roasted coffee beans, soft vanilla, banana, toffee, cinnamon…and even campfire-roasted apples with a touch of black pepper!
Unusually for BenRiach, one expression - the 1998 cask # 7633 - has been triple-distilled. The taste is sensational – lively crisp pineapple explodes and gradually softens into creamy toffee.
And also included in the new batch is an intriguing young 8 year old, an amazing 2005 cask # 3782 which is rich gold and, on the nose, bursts with sweet heather smoke, ripe soft fruits and a touch of citrus zest – ideal for summer drinking.
The cask details are:
1976 cask # 2013 / 37 years old / Classic Speyside / 49.6%vol
1977 cask # 1031 / 36 years old / Moscatel Finish / 54.9%vol
1978 cask # 1047 / 35 years old / Moscatel Finish / 51.1%vol
1983 cask # 296 / 30 years old / Classic Speyside / 43.9%vol
1984 cask # 1051/ 28 years old / Peated / Pedro Ximenez Sherry Finish / 49.9%vol
1985 cask # 7188 / 27 years old / Peated / Virgin American Oak Finish / 48.9%vol
1988 cask # 4000 / 24 years old / Tawny Port Finish / 52.6%vol
1992 cask # 986 / 21 years old / Pedro Ximenez Sherry Finish / 53.3%vol
1994 cask # 4385 / 18 years old / Virgin American Oak Finish / 55.5%vol
1996 cask # 10306 / 17 years old / Marsala Finish / 56.0%vol
1998 cask # 7633 / 15 years old / Triple Distilled / Pedro Ximenez Sherry Finish / 56.1%vol
2005 cask # 3782 / 8 years old / Peated / Virgin American Oak Finish / 58.1%vol
As before, keep an eye on our website and Facebook page over the coming weeks for more information on these new releases, tasting notes and exclusive product photography.
If you would like to receive more information regarding the new releases, please contact us on info@benriachdistillery.co.uk
10 Jul 13

LIQUID HISTORY: OLDEST BENRIACH AND GLENDRONACH SINGLE MALTS IN EXISTENCE RELEASED

DESCRIBED proudly by The BenRiach Distillery Company’s Managing Director Billy Walker as “an iconic moment in the history of BenRiach and GlenDronach”, the two award-winning distilleries today announced the release of their oldest whiskies.

BenRiach Distillery, located in Speyside, has released “Vestige”, a 46 year-old single malt Scotch whisky, which was distilled and filled to cask on the 21st of September, 1966.

When BenRiach became independent in 2004, the new owners inherited a handful of casks from 1966 – the oldest stock in the distillery’s warehouses. By the end of 2012, just two of those casks remained, and Billy Walker has selected one of those casks, BenRiach 1966 cask # 2381, to be bottled as “Vestige”.

This whisky is ‘classic Speyside’ in style, and was matured in a traditional hogshead. It is bottled at cask strength (44.1% vol). After 46 years of maturation, the cask generated just 62 bottles, which will be sold worldwide. The UK retail price is £3999.99.

“Vestige” has been so named because it represents a moment in time, a small trace of something very special that, once lost, can never be replaced. The BenRiach 1966 cask # 2381 truly is a piece of the distillery’s history.

GlenDronach Distillery, which was acquired by The BenRiach Distillery Company in 2008, is proud to release “Recherché”, a 44 year-old Highland single malt, which was distilled and filled to cask on September 24th , 1968.

The ’68 stock represents the oldest whisky in GlenDronach’s vast warehouses, and GlenDronach 1968 cask # 005, an Oloroso sherry butt, was hand-picked to be bottled as “Recherché”. The name “Recherché” has been chosen because it means “carefully sought-out”.

This expression is sublime; a full-bodied, richly-sherried single malt (bottled at a cask strength of 48.6% vol), with all the traditional characteristics you would expect of a GlenDronach...and indeed one of which enigmatic founder James “Cobbie” Allardice would heartily approve!

This is a limited release of just 632 bottles, which will be available worldwide. GlenDronach “Recherché” will retail in the UK at £2749.99.

Billy Walker added: “A combination of barley, water, excellent oak and the passage of time have combined to create liquid history. These special bottlings, which represent our oldest mature stock, are in impeccable condition, and are testament to the enormous attention to detail applied by the current and the previous custodians of our distilleries. Together, “Vestige” and “Recherché” are a celebration of the phenomenal craft of two distilleries over a period spanning more than four decades.”

For more information, go to…

www.benriachdistillery.co.uk or email info@benriachdistillery.co.uk

www.glendronachdistillery.co.uk or email info@glendronachdistillery.co.uk

10 May 13

What does your sight tell you about the flavour of Single Malt Whisky?

Master your senses and unlock the secret behind The Glenlivet’s new mystery expression, The Glenlivet Alpha.

The Glenlivet invites you to master your senses through a series of films and online sensory challenges to unlock the secrets of its new mystery whisky, The Glenlivet Alpha, released this week with no age statement, cask information or tasting notes.

The Glenlivet has teamed up with Greyworld – a pioneering group of artists based in London dedicated to creating public art – to recreate the sensory experience of taking your first sip of our mystery dram online.

The results are as exciting as they are unique – a set of interactive challenges that combine Greyworld’s trademark playfulness and artistry, the very latest technology and The Glenlivet’s whisky mastery.

Our sensory films and challenges will be released on a week-by-week basis during May and will give whisky enthusiasts, who might not get the chance to try this exclusive limited edition whisky, the opportunity to discover The Glenlivet Alpha’s flavour profile digitally and gain a better understanding of how to taste and appreciate single malt whisky.

The first sense to explore is sight, so check out The Glenlivet’s website or Facebook page today to watch the film and try the sight challenge, to help you to unlock the secrets of The Glenlivet Alpha. In the coming weeks, we will invite you to try three further challenges exploring the senses of smell, taste and feel, before Master Distiller Alan Winchester reveals the secrets of Alpha in a video broadcast at 12.30pm on 6th June.

‘Like’ us on Facebook, follow @The_Glenlivet and share your results on Twitter using #alpha – and don’t forget to visit the website or Facebook page next week to try the next challenge!

If you would like to share the sight film with your readers, you can find the video and embed link on YouTube: http://l.homeoftheglenlivet.com/rts/go2.aspx?h=3108&tp=l-59-4e-2y-2WcR-1p-2f-1c-G-1SIDuT

09 May 13

INDEPENDENT WHISKY BOTTLER MURRAY MCDAVID IS SOLD TO ACEO LTD

Murray McDavid, the independent bottler of single malt Scotch whisky has been sold to ‘UK based Scotch Whisky Suppliers’ Aceo Ltd. Murray McDavid was established in 1996 by Mark Reynier, Simon Coughlin, and Gordon Wright and the company was named after Reynier's grandparents, Harriet Murray and Jock McDavid.

The new venture soon became known for challenging whisky industry conventions, replacing the bland and rather stuffy industry style tasting notes with informative and irreverent label text together with its Gaelic logo ‘Clachan a Choin’ (which translates as ‘the dog’s bollocks’)… All its bottlings were unchillfiltered and colouring free and in particular only the very best casks were bottled. They later moved on to marrying great spirit with great wine casks from all over the world which they called ACEing (Additional cask evolution). It’s ‘Leapfrog’ bottlings are now legendary!

On December 19, 2000, Murray McDavid became part of the acquisition to purchase the then-dormant Bruichladdich distillery on the Hebridean island of Islay and returned it to production. After twelve years of successful independent operation, Bruichladdich was sold to French premium spirits company Remy Cointreau in 2012. Aceo Ltd supplies cask whisky and distillery services to the Scotch whisky industry offering a wide range of single malts, single grain and various blended products. Their distillery services include cask storage, bottling and labelling. The company logistics department also transports bulk and bottled products to UK and overseas destinations and processes Customs & Excise duty payments for export purposes.

Edward Odim, a director of Aceo says: “Aceo Limited is delighted to be the new owner of Murray McDavid. We have enjoyed excellent relations with Murray McDavid in the past and have always admired its pioneering and irreverent spirit as well as its position in the vanguard of independent bottling. Our intention is to continue the legacy of Murray McDavid by staying true to its founders' vision and principles such as bottling carefully selected single malts without chill-filtering or adding colour and continuing and developing the tradition of Ace-ing casks. Aceo Limited and Murray McDavid Limited will be run as separate companies. Murray McDavid will be independently managed by individuals previously involved in its running, who understand its roots and are committed to building on its achievements.”

09 May 13

THE GLENLIVET MAKES WHISKY HISTORY
WITH LAUNCH OF MYSTERY CAMPAIGN

The Glenlivet, the world’s No. 2 single malt Scotch whisky, is pioneering an innovative approach to flavour with the launch of The Glenlivet Alpha; a new, mystery expression released without cask information or tasting notes.

Presented in a black bottle to preserve the mystery, consumers are encouraged to let taste and smell lead their experience of The Glenlivet Alpha. Connoisseurs of the range will be able to identify its signature style but also discover a new flavour palate due to the inclusion of never-before-released spirits.

The Glenlivet Alpha launch will be supported by an integrated marketing campaign that will see consumers exploring The Glenlivet’s complex flavours through multi-sensory experiences both online, through www.theglenlivet.com and the brand’s Facebook page, and offline. The campaign will help to generate discussion and a deeper understanding of The Glenlivet, the single malt that started it all.

The campaign will bring The Glenlivet Alpha to life with a launch film, advertising, in-store activity and a global media launch event in London. Additional films, which explore the roles of sight, smell, taste and feel on flavour perception, will be hosted on The Glenlivet’s digital social media platforms and will link through to online sensory challenges that allow consumers to gradually unlock the secrets of The Glenlivet Alpha. Sensory experts including taste visualisation specialists, Greyworld, will also be working with the brand on the campaign.

In June, the mystery behind The Glenlivet Alpha will be revealed by Master Distiller Alan Winchester in a global broadcast to The Glenlivet fans on www.theglenlivet.com and on the brand’s Facebook page.

Nikki Burgess, International Brand Director for The Glenlivet, says: “The Glenlivet is famous for its smooth, full bodied flavour and with the launch of The Glenlivet Alpha we’re excited to be exploring this in an original way. This is the first time anyone has launched a ‘blind’ whisky in this way and we are confident that this innovative campaign will excite whisky drinkers and help them to truly appreciate single malt and understand the flavours they taste in The Glenlivet’s award-winning range.”

With only circa 3,500 bottles worldwide, The Glenlivet Alpha will be available in USA, UK, France, Netherlands, Italy, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland, Andorra, China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Taiwan, Japan, India and South Africa and will retail at $120.

The Glenlivet was the first licensed distillery in the Livet valley and offers a variety of expressions, all boasting its signature smoothness and floral, fruity profile.

The Glenlivet has been the biggest contributor to volume growth in the single malt category over the last five years, adding more than any other Single Malt brand*. The release of The Glenlivet Alpha continues the brand’s legacy of innovation and reinforces its position as ‘the single malt that started it all’.

05 May 13

Some of the press releases concerning the split of Douglas Laing & Co:

High Spirits at leading Scotch Whisky firm Douglas Laing as it welcomes third generation

Today (Wednesday 1st of May) Fred Laing realises his career-long ambition of taking total control of Douglas Laing & Co. the business his father Fred Douglas Laing established in 1948, which is now regarded as one of Scotland’s most successful independent Scotch Whisky blenders and bottlers. As Fred restructures for the future, it has also been announced that the company will maintain tradition with a senior appointment from the third generation of the family.

Cara Laing, Fred’s daughter, joins the company as Head of Brands Marketing, bringing with her impressive industry experience and proven marketing expertise. She leaves behind Morrison Bowmore Distillers where she led both Bowmore and Glen Garioch Single Malts as Marketing Manager, to take up this role. Specialising in brand strategy and innovation, Cara was previously Global Brand Manager of Jura and also worked on Dalmore Single Malt at Whyte and Mackay.

Fred and Cara now have an exciting opportunity to develop fresh, innovative, new brands for Douglas Laing. The first of these new brands – a premium Single Cask range – for the company is expected to be unveiled in September. Most recently Fred created and launched the Big Peat brand; a modern, quirky Islay malt with a big personality that continues to grow YOY, out-performing the Malt category. It has also won numerous awards, most recently stealing the show at the ISW International Spirits Awards 2013, to win ‘Grand Gold’.

Beyond innovation, Douglas Laing will continue to invest heavily in stocks appropriate to protect their malt, grain and blended core brands such as 'Directors' Cut' and ‘Provenance’ both of which are performing well and out-pacing the Malt category with strong double digit growth.

Douglas Laing brands include:

Single Malt: Provenance, Directors' Cut, Premier Barrel

Single Grain: Clan Denny Grain

Blended Malt: Big Peat, Double Barrel,

Blended Scotch: King of Scots, McGibbons, Epicurean

Fred Laing said: “This is the start of a fresh new chapter at Douglas Laing with our third generation and I’m delighted to have Cara join the company my father established over 60 years ago. I confess, she brings exceptional and arguably better experience in the industry than I do. She has a great head for business, and an energetic, creative take on what’s needed in the industry; a trait that’s particularly important given our determination to strengthen Douglas Laing’s niche as a progressive, innovative company. We look forward to developing our current whiskies as well as our new brands, which are already in the pipeline.”

Cara added: “Douglas Laing has a long and interesting history; one that I’m delighted to officially be part of now. The company’s reputation has been built on being individual, never following the crowd and always insisting upon the best quality. Dad has been a massive inspiration to me as the driving force behind Douglas Laing, so I’m looking forward to working with him, strengthening the characteristics and brands that he introduced and emphasising our progressive, original spirit through clever marketing and strategic development.”

As has always been the case, Fred will continue to hand-select all of Douglas Laing's casks as well as writing the tasting notes in conjunction with Malt Ambassador, Jan Beckers. Fred has also retained other key members of the original Douglas Laing team, including Finance Director Alick Bisset plus Head of Logistics Archie Hamilton and Head of Production Stephen Gardiner who cumulatively bring more than 50 years experience with the company. The 12 strong Douglas Laing team will be expanded on in the coming months with several senior new appointments.

.........................

Whisky firm Laing brothers part company

Fred Laing is now in sole control of Douglas Laing & Co

Two brothers who have run a whisky blending and bottling firm for the past 40 years have announced they are to go their separate ways in business.

Fred and Stewart Laing have divided up the assets of Douglas Laing & Co equally, with Stewart leaving to set up a new whisky firm, Hunter Laing & Co.

Brother Fred has taken total control of Douglas Laing.

The brothers said they wanted to build a secure future for the next generation of their families.

Under the arrangement, Stewart will retain a number of brands including Old Malt Cask, the Old & Rare Selection, House Of Peers and Sovereign Single Grain, as well as a bottling facility in East Kilbride.

Douglas Laing, under Fred's charge, will continue to offer their Single Cask Provenance range, as well as brands such as Director's Cut, Double Barrel, Premier Barrel, McGibbon's and Big Peat.

Fred's daughter Cara has joined his company as head of brands marketing, having worked at Morrison Bowmore Distillers as a marketing manager.

Hunter Laing & Co, which is based in Glasgow, plans to strengthen the position of brands now in its portfolio and develop new products.

Stewart Laing has been joined in the business by his two sons, Andrew and Scott, both of whom were directors of Edition Spirits Ltd, an independent bottler of single malt Scotch whisky.

'Perfect opportunity'
In a joint statement, Fred and Stewart said: "The Scotch whisky industry is in great shape at the moment and this presents each of us with the perfect opportunity to diversify and explore different projects with the next generation of our families.

"As drinkers around the world expand their whisky repertoire and seek out new flavours, the opportunities for niche players will flourish.

"Our commitment is to creating a solid business for the next generation of our families and the business structures now in place allow us to capitalise on the opportunities the market place provides for their long-term benefit."

20 Apr 13

The bottling for the Whisky Fair Limburg of next week have just been annouced:

Laphroaig 1998-2013, 14y.o., 53.9%, Matured in Sherry Wood, 226 bottles, Price: 85 EUR
Glen Ord 1996-2013, 16.yo., 58.8%, Refill Borboun, 231 bottles, Price: 69 EUR
Benriach 1976-2013, 36y,o., 49.3%, Sherry Cask, 195 bottles, Price:349 EUR
Caol Ila 1982-2013, 30y.o., 52%, Hogshead, 275 bottles, Coopers Choice for TWF, Price:195 EUR

19 Apr 13

Following the successful launch of TALISKER STORM™ in March, the famous Single Malt Scotch Whisky from the Isle of Skye is now acquiring another new family member, this time enriched by double maturation in port cask wood.

It has been named TALISKER PORT RUIGHE™, after the principal town and port on the Isle of Skye, and as a tribute to the great Scottish trading-houses such as the Cockburns, Grahams and Symingtons who braved the high seas and were instrumental in the creation and global growth of the port wine trade.

TALISKER PORT RUIGHE combines the powerful smoky maritime character of Talisker with succulent sweet notes of rich berry fruits for a superb contrasting taste experience. (Full tasting notes)

Like the recently released Talisker Storm, TALISKER PORT RUIGHE is a permanent addition to the current core range of Talisker single malt whiskies. It is being introduced to offer Talisker consumers a further intriguing flavour dimension of this celebrated and distinctive island single malt whisky.

It will be available from mid-April 2013 in whisky specialist retailers in Western European markets. Talisker Port Ruighe will have a Recommended Retail Price at a premium of 20/25% to the price of Talisker 10 year old. It is bottled at the traditional Talisker strength of 45.8% ABV, without an age statement.

Master Blender Maureen Robinson explained:

“Talisker Port Ruighe is a combination of spirit that has been matured in American Oak and European Oak refill casks in the traditional manner along with spirit that has been filled into specially conditioned deeply charred casks.  The spirit is then finished in casks that have previously held Port Wine which  endows it with spicy fruit notes. These bond elegantly with that clean, fresh smokiness that signals its essential Talisker character.”

Talisker Distiller Manager Mark Lochhead added:

“Talisker lovers are getting spoiled this spring! After Talisker Storm, which has been very well received, we’re now offering a contrasting taste experience that will intrigue whisky drinkers who enjoy a hint of aromatic fruit and richness with their Talisker smoke. It’s still very much a true Talisker, but from a different, memorable angle.”

18 Apr 13 Distell buys top Scotch whisky producer, Burn Stewart Distillers
The Distell Group, Africa's leading spirits, wines and ready-to-drinks business has acquired top-performing producer of Scotch whiskies, Burn Stewart Distillers Limited, for just over R2,2 billion (£160 million) from the Scottish based CL World Brands Limited and Trinidad and Tobago based Angostura Limited, owners of Hine Cognac and Angostura Bitters respectively amongst other global brands.
The strategic purchase of the fully integrated producer of both Blended and Single Malt Whiskies will allow Distell to capitalise on the continuing global growth in Whisky consumption and give it access to scarce blended and single malt stocks from prime whisky-producing regions in Scotland, while also enhancing its global footprint.
The deal follows an equal partner venture established in 2007 between Distell and Burn Stewart in which the two parties co-owned and marketed three Scotch Whiskies – Bunnahabhain, Black Bottle and Scottish Leader, in sub-Saharan Africa.
The agreement between Distell, CL World Brands Limited and Angostura Limited, announced today (15 April, 2013) involves the purchase of 100% of the equity in Burn Stewart whose portfolio includes: three single malt whisky distilleries; a blending and maturation facility; a bottling hall; and a dry and finished goods storage site, as well as its in-house marketing and distribution functions. All Scotch Whisky stocks currently in maturation also form part of the transaction.
Burn Stewart is based in East Kilbride, near Glasgow, Scotland. The company employs close to 270 staff.
It also operates a sales and marketing branch in Taiwan, the world's fourth biggest Scotch Whisky market by volume; and it holds a majority stake in a spirits distribution arm in the USA.
The biggest brand in its portfolio is Scottish Leader, the pre-eminent Blended Scotch Whisky in its category in Taiwan.
Others are the blended whisky Black Bottle as well as the single malts Bunnahabhain, Deanston, Tobermory and Ledaig. Some have long-established histories dating back to the 18th and 19th centuries.
All are recognised for quality excellence on leading competitive platforms. They are sold in over 60 countries and have been making impressive inroads into developing markets.
Commenting on the deal, Distell Group MD Jan Scannell said: “Our acquisition of Burn Stewart is a very significant development for Distell from a strategic perspective but also given the rich and proud history and heritage of the brands involved. This gives us an outstanding foundation from which to build, while cherishing their individual traditions.
"Bunnahabhain, the Burn Stewart Distillers’ flagship single malt, is made on Islay, considered one of the most prestigious whisky locations by connoisseurs. There are only eight distilleries on the Island, so we are extremely fortunate to acquire this very highly-ranked brand.
“Tobermory is the only distillery on the Isle of Mull, one of the most popular tourist spots in Scotland, while the home of Scottish Leader is the Deanston Distillery situated in the Scottish Highlands in Doune near Stirling, close to both Edinburgh and Glasgow, and another important destination for whisky enthusiasts."
Scannell confirmed that Scottish Leader, so well established in Taiwan, would give Distell a springboard into a country with a growing appetite for other speciality drinks the company offers.
The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) data shows that the global whisky market has been one of the fastest-growing drinks segments and after vodka, is the world's biggest spirit category by volume.
The most recent SWA figures show that for the ten years from 2002 to 2012, sales values rose by 87% to £4,3 billion (R59,9 billion).
Consumption has risen across both developed and emerging markets, notably the UK, the US, as well as Latin America, Eastern Europe, many parts of Asia and in key African markets.
Scannell added: "We have acquired a business with a portfolio of strong brands, backed by a sound production and marketing team. Their expertise is integral to the ongoing success of Burn Stewart.”
Marlon Holder, MD of CL Financial Limited, parent of CL World Brands Limited, said he was confident that Distell, a long-established company dating back to 1925 and with a reputation for successful brand building, would take Burn Stewart to the next level of its international development.
Burn Stewart MD, Fraser Thornton, said: “The close working relationship with Distell over the fourteen years has amply demonstrated the South African group's capacity, experience and expertise to strengthen and grow the company.
"We have developed solid synergies with a strong cultural fit between our two entities and are enthused by Distell's plans to recapitalise and advance the business."
The purchase marks the second time in recent years that Distell has invested in a major global spirits acquisition.
In 2009 the company acquired well-known heritage cognac brand Bisquit from Pernod Ricard.
In the four years since then, it has re-established the brand as a major cognac player in global markets, building volumes by double digits across a range of developing markets.
10 April 13

TALISKER OPENS DOORS TO VISITORS AFTER £1MILLION REVAMP

THE world-famous Talisker Distillery on the Isle of Skye has opened its doors to its spectacular new visitor centre following a £1million redevelopment.

Talisker’s new Visitors Centre

Distillery manager Mark Lochhead officially opened the new centre in time for the Easter tourist season following a major revamp and expansion of the distillery’s visitor facilities.

Talisker is the only distillery on Skye and is a leading tourist attraction on the island, welcoming almost 60,000 visitors last year. The major investment has significantly extended the visitor centre and dramatically enhanced the offering for visitors to the iconic distillery.

Mark Lochhead said:

“We are absolutely delighted with the investment we have made here at Talisker and with the new facilities we have created. Talisker is going from strength to strength as a brand and the distillery is growing in popularity with people coming from all over the world to visit the home of our iconic single malt.

“The new visitor centre gives us a wonderful stage to tell the story of Talisker with its rich history and heritage and also to give our visitors a really high quality experience which matches the unique whisky we make here.

“We are also delighted for the local economy here on Skye. This investment has seen a significant number of contractors staying in the area benefiting local businesses and the increasing tourism will also have a great knock-on effect for local businesses.”

The investment has seen the creation of a new welcome area for visitors and a spectacular enhanced viewing gallery in one of the distillery warehouses. New tasting rooms have also been created in which visitors can savour Talisker™ single malt Scotch whisky in surroundings which reflect the heritage and provenance of the whisky.

Diageo operates 28 malt whisky distilleries in Scotland, more than any other company, and with 12 of these having dedicated visitor centres it is also the leading provider of whisky tourism facilities, welcoming over 270,000 visitors last year. These include the homes of some of Diageo’s iconic Scotch whisky brands such as Glenkinchie, Oban, Lagavulin, Dalwhinnie, Royal Lochnagar and Cardhu.

Talisker is Diageo’s busiest distillery visitor centre welcoming 59,767 people in 2012- up by more than 10 per cent from 54,303 in 2011.

Talisker is also one of Diageo’s leading single malt Scotch whiskies in terms of sales performance, delivering net sales growth of 20% in the company’s recent half year results.

04 Avr 13

DIAGEO ANNOUNCES NEW DISTILLERY LOCATION IN HIGHLANDS, AND MAJOR INVESTMENT IN SPEYSIDE WHISKY PRODUCTION

Diageo has today (3 April 2013) announced Teaninich near Alness in the Highlands as the location for its plans to build a new malt whisky distillery.

The company also announced a major new phase of expansion to its Scotch whisky production in the Speyside area. All of this activity is a key milestone of the £1bn five-year investment plan which was launched last year.

Brand new distillery

The new distillery, which will create up to 20 new Diageo jobs, will be adjacent to the company’s existing Teaninich distillery but will have its own name and identity. It involves an investment in the region of £50 million and will have the capacity to produce around 13 million litres of spirit per annum (mla) from 16 copper stills. An on-site bio-energy plant will also be constructed to convert co-products into green energy to power the distillery.

Expansion of Teaninich

At the same time, Diageo also plans to invest £12 million in expanding the existing Teaninich distillery to almost double its capacity. The single malt whisky produced at the new distillery and at the expanded Teaninich distillery will be used in a range of Diageo’s world-leading blended Scotch whisky brands.

Expansion of Mortlach

Full planning applications will be submitted to Highland Council and the company hopes to be in a position to begin work on the new distillery in 2014. Diageo also announced plans to invest around £30million in new production facilities in Speyside, including a project to substantially increase the capacity of the Mortlach distillery at Dufftown. This will involve the building of a new stillhouse, which will replicate the unusual partial-triple distillation process which makes Mortlach unique.

Bio-energy plant at Glendullan

Another element of the investment will be the construction of a new plant at Glendullan to process co-products in an anaerobic digestion process, producing bio-gas which will be used to power the Glendullan distillery. This new plant is an important element of future distillery expansion plans on Speyside as it creates the capacity to process the extra co-products which will result from increased Scotch whisky production.

Other recent Diageo investments in Scotch whisky

These developments build on recent Diageo investments in Speyside totalling in excess of £40m, including distillery expansion and upgrade projects at Linkwood, Mannochmore, Glendullan, Dailuaine, Benrinnes, Inchgower, Cragganmore, Glen Elgin and new bio-energy plants at Dailuaine & Glenlossie.

Elsewhere in Scotland, as part of the £1bn investment programme, the company is progressing plans for a major expansion of Glen Ord Distillery, near Muir of Ord and is progressing with construction of new warehousing at Cluny near Kirkcaldy.

Diageo comments

Brian Higgs, Diageo Malt Distilling Director, said: “We are delighted to announce the next phase of investment in expanding our Scotch whisky production capacity in Scotland.

“All three sites we considered for the new malt distillery were excellent potential locations but after detailed investigations Teaninich came out just ahead in terms of the many complex logistics required when planning such a development.

“It is a significant investment for the local economy around Alness and we look forward to working positively with Highland Council and the local community as we progress our plans.”

In relation to the latest Speyside investment Brian Higgs added: “Mortlach is one of Diageo’s most important malt whisky distilleries, producing the finest quality single malt used in our world-leading blended Scotch whiskies. We are delighted to be able to develop and expand this distillery.

“Along with the plans for the new bio-plant, our financial investment in Speyside is the equivalent to building a new distillery and with other expansion work already underway, the Moray economy is benefiting significantly from Diageo’s investment in Scotch whisky distillation.”

Bryan Donaghey, Managing Director, Diageo Scotland, said: “This announcement is a significant milestone in our £1 billion investment programme in Scotland to support the global growth of our Scotch whisky brands. The plans also demonstrate Diageo’s commitment to building a sustainable business through investment in energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies.”

See Note on Diageo and Scotland

23 Mar 13

BENRIACH ACQUIRES GLENGLASSAUGH DISTILLERY

THE BENRIACH Distillery Company has today (22 March 2013) completed the acquisition of the Glenglassaugh whisky distillery in Banffshire.

Glenglassaugh, one of Scotland’s oldest distilleries dating back to 1875, has been purchased from its owners, the Amsterdam-based Lumiere Holdings, for an undisclosed sum. It produces a range of single malt whiskies and currently has the capacity to produce 1.1 million litres of whisky a year.

Edinburgh-headquartered BenRiach is led by industry veteran and master blender Billy Walker and his partners, South African whisky entrepreneurs Geoff Bell and Wayne Kieswetter.

An upbeat Mr Walker said: “Five years ago, our acquisition of GlenDronach surprised and delighted whisky connoisseurs around the world and today we are confident that our latest intriguing acquisition will have the same positive effect.

“We’re really delighted to buy Glenglassaugh, a renowned Highland single malt with a rich and distinguished heritage. It’s an excellent complementary fit with our existing BenRiach and GlenDronach brands. Part of its attraction to us is that it isn’t too large for our portfolio but its potential in contributing to the group certainly is.

“It’s our intention to bring this iconic distillery fully back to life by giving it the investment, commitment and care it deserves. I believe our whisky expertise, proven brand-building ability and strong routes to market will help take Glenglassaugh to the next level.”

Mr Walker added: “The timing is good as there is no doubt we are currently in a golden age for scotch whisky. There’s unprecedented demand for high-end brands like ours in places like Taiwan, Scandinavia, USA, China, India, Russia, the Middle East, South Africa and South America, and we now have the fantastic opportunity to re-introduce Glenglassaugh to these markets.”

Mr Walker continued: “I would like to thank the Royal Bank of Scotland who have seamlessly facilitated the deal.”

Glenglassaugh's Managing Director Stuart Nickerson said: "It's great to be back in Scottish hands. Glenglassaugh is a fantastic brand that was unheard of five years ago and today is exported to over twenty-five countries worldwide. It's highly regarded as a premium brand and has won numerous top awards. We've grown the business significantly and today's announcement means continued investment and will also allow the business to grow further and more rapidly."

Glenglassaugh is situated on the Banffshire coast close to the village of Portsoy. Operations stopped in 1986 and re-started in 2008.

23 Feb 13

TALISKER LAUNCHES ITS BOLDEST WHISKY TO DATE: TALISKER STORM

Talisker™, the famous Single Malt Scotch Whisky from the Isle of Skye, is to have a new family member.

TALISKER STORM™ is an exuberant new expression of Talisker, calculated to delight and intrigue the many adorers of this celebrated island whisky: more intense and smoky, with enhanced and vibrant maritime notes, smoothly balanced with Talisker’s signature hot sweetness.

It will be available early 2013 through domestic retail channels and whisky specialists in selected European markets.

Full gold in appearance, and assembled by Diageo’s master blenders from both rejuvenated and refill casks at different ages to deliver a perfect balance of vibrant distillery character and smoother woody richness, it is bottled at the traditional Talisker strength of 45.8% ABV, without an age statement.

The consensus among early tasters reads:

‘The sweet warmth and briny, peppery finish that are the symbol of the Talisker character have been carefully accentuated through a skilful blend of differing aged Talisker casks. The profound maritime character achieves a deeper intensity, like a warm welcome from a wild Hebridean sea.”

In price terms Talisker Storm sits between the Talisker 10 year old and the Talisker Distillers Edition expressions.

How the whisky makers developed this stormy new addition to an already celebrated family of highly distinctive single malt whiskies is explained by Master Blender Dr Jim Beveridge:

“We wanted to focus on distillery character - the bedrock of Talisker Storm. So we sought out some great mature Talisker, enriched and mellowed by time spent in carefully rejuvenated casks, and brought that together with some very fresh distillery character preserved by maturation in refill casks. The result is Talisker’s unique distillery character delivered by aged, mature whiskies, integrated in one vibrant dram.”

Talisker Distiller Manager Mark Lochhead added:

“Any new member of the Talisker family has a lot to live up to and I am proud to say that Talisker Storm does just that. The distinctive whisky we create with such passion and care here on Skye speaks very boldly of the dramatic island where it was born. Everyone here is delighted at the skill with which our malt masters have put together this vivacious new Talisker. Talisker Storm is indeed the right name for it!”

Further exciting new expressions of Talisker will be launched later in 2013.

31 Jan 13

DIAGEO’S SCOTTISH ARCHIVE TO EXPAND

Diageo has announced plans to invest £1.5 million in expanding and enhancing the company’s global brand archive in Clackmannanshire.

The Diageo Archive at Menstrie is the largest collection of its kind in the world, consisting of more than half a million items. The collection includes documents, advertising material, bottles, books and memorabilia relating to global brands such as Johnnie Walker, Bell’s, Smirnoff, Gordon’s and Tanqueray.

The expansion project will include a new storage facility and a new reception and library area for hosting visitors to the archive. Each year hundreds of Diageo employees from around the world visit Menstrie to learn about the history and heritage of the brands for which they work. The archive is also a key source of inspiration for innovation and the development of new products and marketing campaigns.

Christine McCafferty, who has managed the Diageo Archive for the past 15 years – and who oversaw the relocation of the archive to Menstrie in 2001 – said the plans marked an exciting new phase for the flourishing facility.

She said: “The Diageo Archive is has been carefully and lovingly built over many years and is a living record of the tradition and heritage of brands which are famous around the globe.

“Diageo has the world’s leading collection of premium drinks brands and with new marketing campaigns, new bottles and new packaging being developed all the time our collection is continually expanding. I am absolutely delighted that the company is prepared to invest in developing and expanding our home here in Menstrie, securing the future of this global facility in central Scotland.”

Over 400 years of history

Although the Diageo Archive is 23 years old it holds more than 405 years of history and heritage on Diageo brands, companies, people and sites – including Diageo’s 28 malt distilleries in Scotland.

It contains material on more than 1500 brands, 200 Production Sites and 150 markets and includes more than 10,000 bottles and 12,000 adverts, all of which record the evolution of the brands.

The Archive is currently served by a team of five professional Archivists who are recognised experts not just in the care of materials, but the history and heritage of the company’s brands and they remain committed to expanding their collection of material from around d the world.

“Diageo’s ongoing commitment to the history and heritage of our brands is hugely encouraging and further demonstrates the integral role we have in terms of increasing brand knowledge and passion within the business, to inspiring innovation and design,” added Christine.

“As the demand for our brands grows worldwide and there is an increasing requirement to protect brand identities and trade-marks, the work we do here in Menstrie remains as relevant and essential as it did when we started in 1990.”

The Diageo Archive facility in Menstrie opened in June 2001 and although it is not open to the general public, a selection of the archive material is always on display at the company’s distillery visitor centres around Scotland. The archive also contributes regularly to public displays, including a recent exhibition at the Scottish Parliament to mark the centenary of the Scotch Whisky Association.

Diageo has submitted a planning application to Clackmannanshire Council for permission to extend and re-develop the archive, which is part of the company’s Technical Centre complex at Menstrie.

28 Jan 13

2013 Festival Preview Programme Available to Download Now

Welcome to the 2013 Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival Preview Programme.

Whilst we have tried to ensure every single event appears in the preview there are some events that may come online after the launch tomorrow at 19.00 hrs GMT. We know that this year’s programme is the best yet with some amazing tours, tastings and events – well over 300 – so take your time, pour yourself a dram and settle down to decide which of these events are ‘must do’s’ for you.

We look forward to meeting whisky-loving friends, old and new, in Speyside in May,

Slainthe Mhor,

Mary & The Whisky Festival Team.

Download available at www.spiritofspeyside.com/index.php

21 Jan 13

Travellers offered unique Glen Garioch Single Cask bottlings at regional airports

Glen Garioch’s New Year is off to a flying start as a series of exclusive single malt whiskies hand-selected by the World Duty Free Group hit the shelves this January.

Aimed at passengers flying from regional airports across the UK, the 11 exclusive Glen Garioch Single Casks were specially selected by staff from World Duty Free store teams at key UK airports including Gatwick North, Gatwick South, Heathrow Terminals 1, 3, 4 and 5, Stansted and the three Scottish airports in Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow, as well as the Biza store teams in Manchester. .

Teams visited the Glen Garioch distillery in Oldmeldrum, Aberdeenshire, one of Scotland’s oldest distilleries, to personally hand-select their own individual Glen Garioch Single Cask which will be exclusively available to purchase from each respective airport’s World Duty Free store.

With some casks yielding just 58 bottles each, the World Duty Free range of Single Casks will be a must-have for whisky lovers, enthusiasts and travellers looking for a truly special spirit.

Paul Hunnisett, Head of Sales Europe said, “We are delighted to get off to a great start in 2013 by partnering with the World Duty Free Group, who are the industry’s leading travel retailer. Some of the airport teams from around the country sampled many casks during their time at the distillery and embraced the charm of the Highlands and the hand-crafted process peculiar to Glen Garioch.”

“Each cask represents the very essence of Glen Garioch and its artisan origins and air travellers will have the chance to enjoy what is considered the quintessential Highland malt. What makes these bottlings really special is that each World Duty Free store team has personally picked a cask that they believe will provide customers at their own regional airport with a unique taste of the Highlands.”

Nigel Sandals, Buying Manager Liquor, UK at World Duty Free Group said: “Glen Garioch is the epitome of Highland charisma and malt magic in a glass. The distillery produces a beautiful range of single malt whiskies that are enjoyed by our customers across the UK airports. World Duty Free store staff had an amazing experience when they visited the distillery to have the opportunity to try Glen Garioch’s fine selection of handcrafted Single Casks.

“Our customers will have the chance to purchase a Single Cask exclusive to each airport, so they can taste their own Highland experience.”

The Glen Garioch Single Casks come in a range of specially crafted cartons and each bottle is individually numbered and marked as a World Duty Free special edition.

Product Information for each WDF airport


World Duty Free Gatwick North
- Cask Number 2906 was filled in November 1999 at Glen Garioch Distillery, Oldmeldrum. It spent the following 12 years patiently maturing in North American Oak until it was individually chosen on 7th September 2012 by World Duty Free Gatwick North, World of Whiskies.

- Notes: Creamy and sweet. Smooth vanilla candy and barley sugar with a hint of rhubarb and custard with notes of chocolate, buttered toast and aniseed.

ABV 58.2%.


World Duty Free Gatwick South
- Cask Number 828 was filled in October 1997 at Glen Garioch Distillery, Oldmeldrum. It spent the following 15 years patiently maturing in North American Oak until it was individually chosen on 7th September 2012 by World Duty Free Gatwick South, World of Whiskies.

- Notes: Roast chestnut and baked apple with a gentle spice and a smooth coffee into the finish. ABV 53.8%.


World Duty Free Terminal 1
- Cask Number 989 was filled in March 1998 at Glen Garioch Distillery, Oldmeldrum. It spent the following 14 years patiently maturing in North American Oak until it was individually chosen on 7th September 2012 by World Duty Free Terminal 1, World of Whiskies.

- Wood spice with a pleasing apple crumble and yule spice. Then onto a Chocolate orange cream with lightly toasted hazelnuts and a brittle toffee finish. ABV 52.3%.


World Duty Free Terminal 3
- Cask Number 661 was filled in February 1998 at Glen Garioch Distillery, Oldmeldrum. It spent the following 14 years patiently maturing in North American Oak until it was individually chosen on 7th September 2012 by World Duty Free Terminal 3, World of Whiskies.

- Rich and roasted with chocolate, hazelnuts and warming all spice build on the palate and linger into the finish. ABV 57.9%.


World Duty Free Terminal 4
- Cask Number 2911 was filled in November 1999 at Glen Garioch Distillery, Oldmeldrum. It spent the following 12 years patiently maturing in North American Oak until it was individually chosen on 7th September 2012 by World Duty Free Terminal 4, World of Whiskies.

- Unexpectedly aromatic with Eastern spices. Sandalwood, musk and cedar with ginger and toasted nutmeg. ABV 57.9%.


World Duty Free Terminal 5
- Cask Number 668 was filled in February 1998 at Glen Garioch Distillery, Oldmeldrum. It spent the following 14 years patiently maturing in North American Oak until it was individually chosen on 7th September 2012 by World Duty Free Terminal 5, World of Whiskies.

- Sweet with a herbal twist. Cinnamon spiced berries, vanilla and lemon sherbet with just gathered bay-leaf linger into the finish. ABV 53.9%.


World Duty Free Stansted
- Cask Number 4633 was filled in November 1998 at Glen Garioch Distillery, Oldmeldrum. It spent the following 13 years patiently maturing in North American Oak until it was individually chosen on 7th September 2012 by World Duty Free Stansted, World of Whiskies.

- Vibrant and verdant. Bursting blackberry and elderflower softened by vanilla and brambly woods. Leave a long and lingering finish. ABV 61%.


Biza Manchester
- Cask Number 663 was filled in February 1998 at Glen Garioch Distillery, Oldmeldrum. It spent the following 14 years patiently maturing in North American Oak until it was individually chosen on 7th September 2012 by World Duty Free Manchester, World of Whiskies.

- Beautifully balanced. Chocolate praline and nougat interwoven with milky jasmine. Heather honey lingers to the end. ABV 56.3%.


World Duty Free Glasgow
- Cask Number 10997 was filled in November 1978 at Glen Garioch Distillery, Oldmeldrum. It spent the following 33 years patiently maturing in North American Oak until it was individually chosen on 16th August 2012 by World Duty Free Glasgow.

- Complex with an intriguing sweetness. A fruit medley of Damson plums and baked apples combine with crème-brulée and lashings of custard cream. Subtle peat smoke appears and lingers into the finish. ABV 54.8%.


World Duty Free Edinburgh
- Cask Number 670 was filled in February 1998 at Glen Garioch Distillery, Oldmeldrum. It spent the following 14 years patiently maturing in North American Oak until it was individually chosen on 26th September 2012 by World Duty Free Edinburgh.

- Deep and enticing. Rich velvety mocha with deep elderberry fruits and a warm spicy kick of cumin and cloves linger on the finish. ABV 58.9%.


World Duty Free Aberdeen
- Cask Number 1807 was filled in May 1986 at Glen Garioch Distillery, Oldmeldrum. It spent the following 26 years patiently maturing in North American Oak until it was individually chosen on 16th August 2012 by World Duty Free Aberdeen.

- A wave of butterscotch and rolling tobacco intertwine with Scottish heather and the seductive scent of wild gorse. Deeper blackcurrant, elderberry and herbal vine notes build up on the palate and linger into the finish. ABV 52.4%.

20 Dec 12

The Whisky School is beginning to fill up nicely, so if you are thinking of joining us please let me know as early as possible in the New Year to avoid disappointment. Terms one, four and five are already fully booked but there are spaces available in the other terms.

The Open Day is beginning to take shape, so more details on that early in the year too. The date has been set for Thursday 23rd May with the open golf competition on Friday 24th May, again more to follow on that.

There will be a Springbank 21 year old released in January along with a Longrow Rundlets and Kilderkins, so we will be busy, busy!!

This year we have had an excellent number of visitors to the distillery which included quite a few Society Members, it was nice to meet you. Our tour staff has been increased to include some of our newer young staff, Mairi Paterson and George MacIndeor, who are doing exceptionally well and have fitted in as if they have been here for years.

Our sales staff have also changed, to include Melanie Stanger and John McCallum, both of whom have been out and about at tastings and Whisky Fairs so I'm sure quite a lot of you have already met them. They are also fitting in and tonight is their biggest test of the year (we have our Christmas staff party) so we'll see what they are made of!!!!

All in all it has been a good year for us at Springbank, with lots of changes but now we are looking forward to two weeks of relaxation. We will come back refreshed, ready to take on the world again.

20 Dec 12

Springbank Distillers, the sales and marketing arm of Campbeltown-based J&A Mitchell & Co Ltd, has announced a major change of strategy for the Kilkerran Single Malt, distilled at Mitchell’s Glengyle Distillery.

Officially opened on March 25th 2004, Mitchell's Glengyle is the sister distillery to the world-famous Springbank and, at the time of opening, it was the first new distillery to have been built in the historic whisky region of Campbeltown in over 100 years.

The distillery, a modern, purpose-built facility, was built within the walls of the original Glengyle Distillery, which operated from 1872 until 1925.

Since the first release of Kilkerran Work In Progress back in 2009, as a five year old, the whisky has been part of Springbank Distillers’ portfolio but from January 2013 this will no longer be the case.

Ranald Watson, Sales Manager at Springbank Distillers, said: “In order to gain more focus and allow for a greater development of the brand we have formed a new company to take Kilkerran forward. The new company, Mitchell’s Glengyle Ltd, will assume responsibility for all matters relating to the selling and marketing of Kilkerran from January 7th onwards. We are excited to be making this change, which marks a real change in pace when it comes to Kilkerran, and we anticipate that it will lead to increased awareness of Mitchell’s Glengyle Distillery and its whisky. Kilkerran will be nine years old in 2013 and it is time for it to step out of the shadow of Springbank and make a name for itself in its own right.”

Jenny Karlsson, who previously worked for Springbank Distillers until summer 2012, will join Mitchell’s Glengyle Ltd to take over the role of Sales Manager and will be charged increasing the brand’s presence year on year as the whisky approaches its 12th birthday in 2016. She will be responsible for the day to day sales and marketing of the brand and the future development of the Kilkerran range.

Ranald Watson added: “2016 has always been the target for the full launch of Kilkerran and as we approach that milestone it is imperative that we begin to build momentum and spread the word further about the whisky. We have taken a deliberately low-key approach with Kilkerran since the first release in 2009 and now is the time to expand on that. The fourth release of Kilkerran Work In Progress, the 8yo, recently won the Malt Maniacs’ Award for Best Natural Cask matured whisky in the daily drams category and so it is a good time to be sharing the story of Kilkerran with more and more people.”

20 Dec 12

GlenDronach releases 7th batch of single cask bottlings

“FAULTLESS”, “brilliant” and “complete” are just three of the adjectives Jim Murray has used in his new 2013 Whisky Bible to describe the five expressions that comprise GlenDronach’s latest batch of single cask bottlings.

It’s the seventh batch to be released by the award-winning Aberdeenshire distillery.

The five, ranging from 18 to 40 yo, are now available in the UK and will be released in export markets from January 2013. Two have been matured in Pedro Ximenez sherry puncheons and three in Oloroso sherry butts.

All five have been specially hand-selected by The BenRiach Distillery Company’s Managing Director Billy Walker whose tasting notes speak lovingly of “an orchestra in full flow”, “an effusion of honeycomb” and even “teasing notes of toffee apples”.

The cask details are as follows:

1972 cask # 710 / 40 years old / Oloroso Sherry Butt / 49.0% vol. / 356 bottles

1989 cask # 5475 / 22 years old / Pedro Ximenez Sherry Puncheon / 51.6% vol. / 600 bottles

1991 cask # 3183 / 20 years old / Pedro Ximenez Sherry Puncheon / 51.3% vol. / 600 bottles

1992 cask # 1123 / 19 years old / Oloroso Sherry Butt / 57.8% vol. / 524 bottles

1994 cask # 98 / 18 years old / Oloroso Sherry Butt / 58.2% vol. / 628 bottles

In his 2013 Whisky Bible, Jim Murray was very complimentary about all five, but reserved special praise for the ’72, ’91 and ’94 vintages:

Of the 1972 cask # 710, he said: “The richness of the sherry is almost the stuff of make-believe...the delivery is of oak crashing in a forest - mighty and all-consuming...wow, this is like a big succulent bourbon matured in a top-class sherry butt. This is a malt which if you should ever chance upon, you give the guy your coat if you have not money enough; even your undergarments if it does the trick! For this is a whisky so complex, so complete, it is almost exhausting.” He gave it 96.

He commented re the 1991 cask # 3183: “Almost a coffee cake and Swiss roll marriage with grape jam for filling... mocha-flavoured Lubec marzipan notes sidle in delightfully...the light spices pulse. Tries to be syrupy and overbearing but fails miserably. Has to settle for being brilliant.” He gave it 95.

And summing up the 1994 cask # 98, he said: “Absolutely huge grape: a real Dundee cake dripping with Oloroso and Demerara...a faultless sherry butt. I had this sample in my hand as the Queen gave her address to round off her 60th anniversary celebrations: I could hardly have had a more fitting dram with which to toast her.” It also achieved a 96.

Keep an eye on our website and Facebook page over the coming weeks for more information on these new releases, tasting notes and exclusive product photography.

If you would like to receive more information regarding the Batch 7 releases, please contact us on

info@glendronachdistillery.co.uk

20 Dec 12 That Boutique-y Whisky Company's Bowmore – Batch 1 is now available from Master of Malt.

Bowmore – Batch 1 – 48.7% abv – 50cl – £52.95

Nose: Phenolic peat hits the nose first followed by waves of dried fruits – notably sultanas, cranberries, and dates – with a salty afterthought.

Palate: A velvety mouth-feel with drifting peat smoke and hints of iodine. Then there is a rush of candied citrus peels and masses of sherry-soaked dried fruit.

Finish: The finish is long and lingering with notes of pear, dried apricot, and beach bonfire smoke.
20 Dec 12 Glenfarclas appoints new Distillery Manager
J. & G. Grant are pleased to announce the appointment of Callum Fraser as the new Production Manager at the Glenfarclas Distillery.

Callum Fraser, originally from Stirlingshire, has twenty two years experience in whisky distilling, having joined Deanston Distillery when it reopened in 1990, and rising to the position of Distillery Manager in 2006. Callum commented, ‘I first tasted Glenfarclas at a whisky festival in Ayr a few years ago, and since then I have followed Glenfarclas with interest. I am thrilled to be moving to Speyside, the home of malt whisky, to work for an independent family owned distillery, with such a long history.’

John Grant, Chairman of J. & G. Grant, said, ‘It is my pleasure to welcome Callum Fraser to Glenfarclas. 2012 has been a record production year for us, and with plans to increase production still further in 2013, he joins us at a particularly busy and exciting time’.

Plans are also already underway for Callum to host a Manager’s Tour of Glenfarclas during the 2013 Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival, giving consumers the opportunity to meet the new Glenfarclas Distillery Manager.
12 Dec 12

The Glenlivet to host Whisky Festival Opening Dinner

With over 200 years of whisky making history behind it, The Glenlivet is unquestionably one of the most iconic distilleries in Speyside. This famous distillery has very kindly agreed to host the ‘Touch of Tartan’ opening dinner on Thursday, 2 May 2012 for the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival. This prestigious event will mark the start of the 14th festival and welcome visitors from around the globe to Speyside.

“This is an opportunity to showcase everything that makes Speyside special and in the year of Natural Scotland the Glen of Livet will provide a glorious backdrop for such a special event”, commented a delighted James Campbell, Festival Chairman. ‘We are extremely grateful to The Glenlivet for their generosity and know that our guests to the Opening dinner will be treated to the very best that Speyside and The Glenlivet has to offer”.

Alan Winchester, Master Distiller of The Glenlivet said “We look forward to welcoming festival goers from all over the world to The Glenlivet distillery which has been at the heart of Speyside whisky making since 1824. The festival is an amazing annual pilgrimage to this famous Scotch whisky homeland and there is no place better to start the experience than at The Glenlivet.”

Now in its 14th year the festival has gone from strength to strength, last year hosting over 28,500 visits to more than 320 events over the five days. In 2012 the festival generated over £1.3 million to the local economy.

The dates for the 2013 festival are 2 – 6th May inclusive. Tickets for there 2013 festival will go on sale on January 26th 2013.

For more information visit www.spiritofspeyside.com

Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival
“Inspiring, Scottish, Spirited”

22 Nov 12

Global distillers eye Africa as battle of the whiskies rages

By Mwaura Kimani, http://www.monitor.co.ug

The casks hold whiskies that may be consumed in Africa in the year 2030, upon maturity, at least if a dream of Diageo, which owns Cragganmore Distillery and nearly two-dozen others in Scotland, comes to pass.

At the Speyside Cooperage in rural northern Scotland, six coopers hammer away in the workshop, each crafting at least one whisky cask every half hour. The musical ringing of metal on metal echoes around the shop.

Several miles away at the Cragganmore Distillery, home to the famous single malt, Laura Vernon, the plant manager paces across the factory floor and on to the huge old workshop where thousands of whisky casks are stacked against the walls.

The casks hold whiskies that may be consumed in Africa in the year 2030, upon maturity, at least if a dream of Diageo, which owns Cragganmore Distillery and nearly two-dozen others in Scotland, comes to pass.

Diageo, which owns East Africa’s biggest brewer East African Breweries Ltd (EABL) has embarked on a drive to push Scotch whisky sales in Africa, historically a weak spirits market.

In their latest research note, analysts at Deutsche Bank said Diageo’s iconic Scotch whisky brand Johnnie Walker is poised to become the next big success story for the company’s Africa operations.

Diageo recently sought the services of Ethiopian athletics legend Haile Gebrselassie and Cameroonian saxophone maestro Manu Dibango as brand ambassadors in local advertising campaigns for Johnnie Walker, a drink positioned for mature, upwardly-mobile men (Its slogan is “Keep Walking”).

Strong competition

For Diageo, the strategy is to grow its African spirits business beyond South Africa — its largest African spirits market for scotch (42 per cent of SA sales) and vodka (37 per cent).

But Diageo’s push into Africa is facing strong competition from other global spirits leaders like Pernod Ricard.

Pernod is the world’s second largest spirits company behind Diageo and the maker of whiskies like Jameson and Chivas Regal. The firm has established businesses in Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Angola and Morocco in the past six months.

The two spirits giants are hoping to cash in on the growing middle-class in Africa to reduce their reliance on traditional markets like Europe and the US.

"We have barely scratched the surface of Africa’s Scotch whisky business,” said Benjamin Itty, the consumer planning director at Johnnie Walker during a media meeting in Aberdeen Scotland.

"Consumption growth is closely linked to gross domestic product growth, and enables consumers to trade up easily,” Mr Itty said.

Diageo and Pernod are the largest global players, with 3-4 per cent share each. According to analysts at Merrill Lynch, the wealth management division of Bank of America, the two companies are focusing on growing overall spirits consumption in emerging markets such as India, Africa and the Middle East — where per capita consumption remains low — and trading consumers up in China and Russia where international brands command less than 2 per cent share.

19 Nov 12

Independent Distillery Brings Back Bere Barley

Independent Scotch whisky producer, Isle of Arran Distillers, has teamed up with the Agronomy Institute at Orkney College UHI, part of the University of the Highlands and Islands, to produce a dramatic new single malt whisky made with Scotland’s oldest cultivated barley.

Thought to have been brought to the UK by the Vikings over 1,000 years ago, Bere barley is notoriously hard to grow, but for those willing to persevere it can produce a very fine quality of spirit.

Until the 19th century Bere was one of the most important Scottish crops and was widely grown by farmers and used by millers, brewers and distillers. Despite being a fundamental part of Scotland’s agricultural heritage, the crop is now only commercially grown on islands off Scotland’s North and West coasts as it has been replaced by higher yielding modern varieties.

To challenge this, the Agronomy Institute and Arran Distillers have worked together to revive the spirit of this barley which generates a unique taste of whisky as it used to be, a flavour which can be found in the new Arran Malt Orkney Bere.

Due to hit stores at the beginning of December, Orkney Bere has been matured for eight years in ex-bourbon barrels and the spirit developed quicker than anticipated. Just 5,800 bottles will be available for sale.

Euan Mitchell, managing director of Isle of Arran Distillers, said: “As an independent distillery we have the freedom to try different things and we’re constantly looking for new ways to interest and excite people who enjoy excellent malt whiskies.

“Due largely to lack of availability and difficulties with its cultivation, there are only a few distilleries which use Bere, but it can produce fantastic results and is part of Scotland’s heritage. We’ve worked with Orkney College to help raise the profile of this forgotten crop and offer our customers a taste of pure history with this limited edition malt.”

Peter Martin, Director of the Agronomy Institute at Orkney College UHI, commented: “Working with Arran Distillers on this Orkney Bere whisky has been very exciting and I hope its release will help to awaken interest in this historically important Scottish crop. Bere is an under-utilised Scottish food and drink resource – there are not many other ancient cereals still in cultivation which can be used for making whisky, beer and a wide range of bakery products!”

The Arran Malt Orkney Bere has a flavour of ripe apples, oak and rich spices. The spirit has an ABV of 46% and has developed in American oak barrels with no artificial colours and non-chill filtered. A true collector’s edition, you can buy the whisky online at http://www.arranwhisky.com and specialist whisky shops.

12 Nov 12 Whyte & Mackay is likely to be sold off in the wake of Diageo's United Spirits deal, with Gruppo Campari a potential buyer of the Glasgow-based business, according to an analyst. Source: http://www.just-drinks.com/
12 Nov 12

WHAT IS DIAGEO GETTING IN UNITED SPIRITS DEAL?
12th November, 2012 by Ron Emler, http://www.thedrinksbusiness.com


When Diageo announced the three-stage deal to take a 53.4% stake in India’s United Spirits, analysts gulped. Chief executive Paul Walsh has a track record of hard bargaining, so paying £1.29 billion to control even the company with the world’s biggest volume sales of spirits is heady.

Walsh reckons that such is the dynamism of the Indian spirits market that it will grow by about 15% a year and that his United Spirits stake will boost Diageo’s earnings per share in year two and provide a return on the cost of capital by year six. But in comparison with the purchase of Turkey’s Mey Icki last year, the numbers are big.

Diageo is paying just over 20 times last year’s earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (Ebitda) whereas it won Mey Icki for a multiple of 9.9 – and payback on the Turkish deal will be quicker.

What’s more, despite his protestations to the contrary, everyone knew that United’s chairman, Vijay Mallya, was effectively a forced seller because of the huge debts at his Kingfisher airline. He needed the cash. So why the £1.29 billion price tag?

Walsh argues that last year’s United Spirits’ earnings, on which the deal is based, were depressed by several factors, so the numbers look artificially high.

In, addition, there is a scarcity value to the deal; no-one else can get their hands on United Spirits, which will make India Diageo’s second largest market after the United States. The late Patrick Ricard deployed a similar argument when he was accused of overpaying for Absolut vodka in 2008, but already that is recognised as a transformational step in Pernod Ricard’s fortunes. Industry observers concede that controlling United Spirits offers Diageo at least the same potential.

So what is Diageo getting, assuming the relevant authorities approve the purchase?

United sells 122m cases of spirits a year, with 22 brands each selling more than a million cases. While it has flagship products such as Whyte and Mackay Scotch, much of the output from its 40-odd plants around the sub-continent is at the commodity level, where margins are comparatively low. It also exports to 37 countries. The United Spirits takeover will mean that 45% of Diageo’s sales will come from the developing world.

Most of United’s production is consumed by the burgeoning Indian middle class, which, Diageo says, will more than quadruple to 600 million people in just over a decade. By adding Diageo’s expertise in moving brands up market and widening margins (premiumisation), it expects to leverage its returns. That growth, Diageo predicts, will be led by whisky and vodka, which will more than triple their current sales value.

United holds 41% of the Indian market for spirits, its nearest rival, with about 10% being Pernod Ricard. That is a strong route to market, but while Diageo plans to use it in the long term to maximise throughput of its global premium brands such as Johnnie Walker and Smirnoff, the immediate task will be to move United Spirits’ own brands such as McDowell’s whiskey and Romanov vodka upmarket. For the time being, Diageo will retain its separate distribution network in India for its global brands (...).

Talks reportedly began between Diageo and the flamboyant Mallya back in 2008 but the Indian tycoon’s inflated estimate of his business’s value and a determination to sell only a minority stake meant they came to nothing. Crucially, although he remains chairman of United Spirits under the terms of takeover, Diageo will control the company, its finances and its direction (...)

Last year alone Diageo had free cash flow of £1.6bn and is funding the takeover of United Spirits from cash and its existing lending lines, so there should be no problem about it retaining its investment grade status as a borrower, a crucial factor in the US markets. The effective takeover of United Spirits will be completed in three stages by next spring, assuming it meets no regulatory hurdles from the Indian authorities.

Doubts linger as to whether Brussels will be keen on Diageo adding Whyte and Mackay to its already formidable portfolio of Scotch brands. Walsh says the deal will not unravel if he has to sell off the brand, but undoubtedly he would prefer to keep it – and the accompanying inventory of maturing spirit. Industry sources suggest that his biggest rival, Pernod Ricard, would be an eager buyer of Whyte and Mackay if a sale is forced. Both groups are investing heavily in new Scotch production facilities to meet demand from emerging nations...

For the full article, click here.

12 Nov 12

GLEN GARIOCH LAUNCH SINGLE CASK WITH MILROY’S OF SOHO

Rare 33-year-old malt hits shelves of boutique London stores

Glen Garioch, the hidden Highland gem of the whisky world, has teamed up with London’s oldest whisky specialist, Milroy’s of Soho to launch an exclusive single malt for whisky enthusiasts at Milroy’s of Soho and Jeroboams eight wine shops.

Staff from Milroy’s of Soho hand-picked a rare 33-year-old Glen Garioch after visiting Scotland’s most easterly distillery earlier in June this year, it will now be a select addition to the retailer’s extensive single cask malt collection.

The retailer launched the single cask collection at a very special tasting event at its flagship store in Soho earlier this month. Enthusiasts at the event were also treated to a tasting of “the rare pair” that is Glen Garioch accompanied by cheese.

Just 146 bottles of the Milroy’s of Soho Cask 10999, retailing at £300 will be exclusively available from Milroy’s of Soho London stores, making it undoubtedly a must-have inclusion for any malt enthusiast.

Filled in November 1978, the Glen Garioch vintage malt has been quietly maturing for 33 years in a North American oak cask at the Aberdeenshire distillery. The light fruity notes of pear eau de vie, melon candy and ripe banana proved a huge draw for Milroy’s staff, which fused with traces of wood-smoke, leaves a gentle heather honey finish.

Cara Laing, Glen Garioch’s marketing manager, said, “Milroy's of Soho is renowned for its discerning selection of whiskies, with an especially large range of scarce bottlings, so we're privileged that their team has picked such an elegant yet robust aged malt.

“The team at Milroy’s hand-picked a wonderful vintage which has been slowly maturing over 33 years to reveal the true essence of Glen Garioch’s couthie Highland spirit. Filled with fruity notes combined with sweet honey tones gives this dram a lovely clean finish, which I’m sure will be a joy to taste for any whisky aficionado.”

Isabel Graham-Yooll, Associate Director at Milroy’s of Soho said: “When we went to Glen Garioch in search of a very special bottling, we were looking for a whisky we could present to our very knowledgeable and discerning customers. We were there to find something remarkable and supremely elegant - something that would reveal new extraordinary flavours on each sip and reward lengthy contemplation. We found this in the Glen Garioch 1978 and we are delighted.”

The single cask has yielded just 146 bottles with an ABV of 58.8%.

The bottle is presented in an attractive buckram box, with each bottle individually numbered and a discreet message from the distillery manager who hand-crafted this prestigious malt within the box.

 

07 Nov 12

BENRIACH RE-STARTS ITS OWN MALTINGS

BenRiach started making its own malt again this week which means the Elgin distillery is now one of only a handful of distilleries in Scotland with its own maltings.

Malt whisky production begins when the barley is "malted" — by steeping the barley in water, and then allowing it to get to the point of germination. Malting releases enzymes that break down starches in the grain and help convert them into sugars. When the desired state of germination is reached, the barley is dried using the traditional kiln floor.

BenRiach's Stewart Buchanan explained: "For the last year we've been working hard to get the maltings back up and running. After being shut for the best part of thirteen years, the machinery is still in great condition.

"Earlier, we got some weight on the system to see how it would run under stress. Three tones of barley whirled round the floors and it was great to hear its blood pumping and the old place coming back to life.

"Re-starting the maltings has coincided with some strange events in the old distillery. As some of the boys worked late into the night painting around the steeps, footsteps and voices were heard over at the kiln area on the other side of the building. Thinking it was myself or Les, our engineer, they headed over for a blether…but found no-one! They thought we had left and went back to the job in hand. The second time they heard the noises they shouted over but no reply. And the third time, the paint brushes were dropped and a hasty exit was made! Perhaps it was the wind…or perhaps not!"

BenRiach MD Billy Walker said: "From a commercial point of view, it makes no sense because the costs of producing malted barley are significantly more. The reason we're doing it is because we had everything in place and in fantastic condition. Bolting the maltings onto BenRiach is a beautiful join-up."

29 Oct 12

Mark Rupert Millar, http://www.thedrinksbusiness.com

Reynier has officially stepped down from his post as CEO of Bruichladdich Distillery, naming Simon Coughlin as his successor.

Reynier purchased the distillery from Whyte & Mackay for £6 million in 2000, including one million litres of mature stock.

The distillery was sold to Rémy Cointreau in July of this year for £58m.

Reynier said: "It has been quite a ride since we set out to resurrect this abandoned distillery, a journey which raised many industry eyebrows at the time.

"Along the way I have met some wonderful people – customers, colleagues, Ileachs – whose support for this project has been equally passionate.

"It was a privilege to put Bruichladdich firmly on the map, and I am convinced the future prospects for this exceptional whisky are secure with Rémy.

"My long-standing friend Simon Coughlin will continue to run the company as CEO, while for me, it is time to find a new challenge, hopefully one as exciting and rewarding as this has been."

26 Oct 12

Pernod hit by whisky sales drop in China

Tim Sharp, http://www.heraldscotland.com/

CHIVAS Regal distiller Pernod Ricard saw whisky sales fall in China and weaken across Asia as a whole as it missed market sales expectations for the first quarter.
The company said China's leadership transition hit entertainment of officials, and worries about the economy have also weighed on sales.

The news comes after the publication of weaker export figures for the industry and is likely to heighten concerns about the sustainability of the whisky boom in emerging markets.

But insiders point to the presence of a Scotch Whisky Association delegation currently in China and plans to open at least another half a dozen distilleries in Scotland as positive signs.

Rising demand among Asia's growing moneyed classes has boosted whisky sales in recent years. But in the three months to the end of September sales of Chivas Regal blend were down 6% in volume and flat in value terms year-on-year. Meanwhile Ballantine's was down 10% by value.

Among its top brands only single malt Glenlivet prospered with a 24% sales rise.

Commenting on Asia, French-based Pernod told investors: "Scotch whiskies experienced a slowdown (particularly in Korea, China and Thailand)."

On China, it said: "Given a more difficult economic backdrop, the first quarter proved challenging for Scotch whiskies, the decline of which was in line with the market."

Pernod declined to give a figure for the sales fall in China, but a spokeswoman said whisky sales had been hit by the once-a-decade change in leadership.(...)

The world's second-biggest spirits group behind Diageo predicted a rise in underlying profit of close to 6% in the year to June 30, 2013, compared to 9% last year.

Pernod chief executive Pierre Pringuet said: "In a less favourable macro-economic environment we realised a good overall performance in the first quarter. We remain confident in our capacity to continue to grow." (..)

Whisky export figures for the first half of 2012 published earlier this month were down on 2011 although shipments to China were up 1.6%.

A Scotch Whisky Association spokeswoman said: "Scotch Whisky exports have experienced record growth in recent years. While there has been a levelling off, the industry is confident about the future."

One sign of this confidence is plans by Pernod and Diageo to build enormous new malt distilleries. There are also smaller distilleries being built in locations including Ardnamurchan, Barra and Fife.

Meanwhile, Andrew Macleod Smith, a Scot who oversees production at the fledgling London Distillery Company, is preparing to run off the first spirit from its stills in the coming weeks. Click here for the full article

23 Oct 12

New Glenfarclas 105 Aged 20 Years

The limited edition Glenfarclas 105 Aged 20 Years has now been released and is making its way to specialist whisky retailers worldwide. Matured for 20 years and bottled at natural cask strength of 60% volume, only 4000 bottles of this remarkable whisky will be available.

This is the second time J. & G. Grant have released an older expression of Glenfarclas 105. The first was in 2008 when the limited edition 40 year old version was launched to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the first bottling of 105.

In 1968 when George S. Grant, 4th generation of the owning family, bottled a single cask straight from the warehouse, and sent the bottles to family and friends as Christmas gifts. By chance the strength of the cask George S. Grant selected was '105' British Proof, and along with the name of the distillery, this was all the information he detailed on the hand written label. By the end of January the recipients of the gifts requested further bottles, hence Glenfarclas '105', the first commercially available cask strength whisky of the modern age was born. The name refers to the strength in the British Proof system, equivalent to 60% alcohol by volume.

Commenting on this new limited edition from Glenfarclas, George S Grant, Director of Sales and 6th generation of the owning family said, 'My family have been producing Glenfarclas 105 for 3 generations now and the 20 Year Old makes a great addition to the '105' family, along with the 105 and 105 40 Years Old. This is a 105 as it should be – big and powerful with all the classic Glenfarclas flavours coming through. Definitely a dram to savour as the finish just goes on and on.'

19 Oct 12

Ten years ago Ian Macleod distillers acquired the Glengoyne brand and since then global sales volumes in the whisky have increased by 250%.

In a bid to make the most of the increased popularity of Glengoyne the distillers have repackaged and added to the whiskies on offer.

In addition to the 10yo, 12yo and 21yo, Glengoyne has introduced three new malts to complete the line-up – a new premium Glengoyne 15 year old malt, a new formidable cask strength expression to replace the current 12 year old cask-strength and a stunning new world-class 18 year old replacing the 17yo.

Neil Boyd, UK Commercial Director for Ian Macleod Distillers said: "We've been working on the enhancement of the Glengoyne range over a long period of time. At a time when the industry is squeezing every last litre out of their distilleries, we hold true to our craft. By distilling slower than anyone else in Scotland, we can genuinely claim that Glengoyne is 'Worth the Wait'."

The whisky is finished in Oloroso sherry casks and also dries the malted barley using only warm air.

The new Glengoyne range, which launches in early November 2012, will be supported by a new advertising campaign and will be available from selected supermarkets including Waitrose, Sainsbury's and in Selfridges and leading specialists and independents. Source: http://www.thedrinksbusiness.com

18 Oct 12

Chivas Brothers reveal plans for new Speyside distillery

A major new distillery is being planned for Speyside by Chivas Brothers.

The French-owned firm, part of Pernod Ricard, wants to build on the site of the Imperial distillery near Carron, which has not been used for 14 years.

It would mean an increase of 10% in the company's malt whisky distilling capacity, meaning 5 million litres of additional spirit each year.

The plans are at an early stage of consulting the local community and council planners.

No value is being placed on the proposed investment, ahead of a market update by Pernod Ricard next week.

Visible from the Speyside Way walking trail, the new building is intended to blend in with the riverside and traditional architecture.

Christian Porta, chairman and chief executive of Chivas Brothers, said: "Our success in growing our brands across the world, in existing and new markets, to many historical highs means that creating new distillation capacity is a key next step for our business.

"This new distillery will supply high quality Speyside malt whisky for many of our blends in the years to come.

"This is another example of our sustained investment in our Scotch whisky operations which, combined with consistent innovation and marketing, will continue to drive the growth of our business."

Global sales
In May, the company announced plans to grow its malt whisky distillation capacity by 25% by April 2013. It is reopening the Glen Keith distillery and expanding four other Speyside distilleries and in 2010, it increased the capacity of its Glenlivet distillery by 75%.

Chivas is the second biggest company in Scotch whisky, with 21% of the market.

It produces Chivas Regal, Ballantine's Beefeater Gin, The Glenlivet, Royal Salute, Aberlour, Scapa, and 100 Pipers.

The expansion plans are in line with industry expectations that global sales of whisky will continue to grow strongly. The dominant player, Diageo, is spending £1bn in new investments, announcing earlier this week that it is expanding a distillery at Muir of Ord on the Black Isle. Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk

16 Oct 12

Diageo, the world's leading premium drinks business, will this week submit a planning application for the expansion of the Glen Ord distillery near Muir of Ord.

The planning application, which will be submitted to Highland Council, is the latest step in Diageo's £1billion investment plan to expand Scotch whisky production capacity over the next five years, which was announced by Diageo in June.

As part of the investment programme Diageo plans to expand around half of its existing 28 malt whisky distilleries in Scotland, as well as building at least one new single malt distillery.

Glen Ord is a key distillery for Diageo, producing spirit for its world-leading portfolio of blended Scotch whiskies, as well as for The Singleton of Glen Ord single malt Scotch whisky.

Under the plans being submitted this week, the distillery will see the installation of 10 new washbacks (vessels for the fermentation process) and six new copper stills. This adds to the 10 washbacks and six stills which the distillery currently has and will add to the production capacity by around 5million litres of alcohol per annum. This will take the overall capacity of the distillery to over 10mla. The new washbacks and stills will be housed in existing buildings at the distillery.

An additional mash-tun will be installed as part of the investment.

Brian Higgs, Diageo's Director of Malt Distilling, said: "Earlier this year Diageo announced plans to invest £1bn in expanding its whisky production business in Scotland in order to meet growing global demand for our brands.

"Over the next few months we will be bringing forward a number of planning applications to increase capacity at our existing distilleries and the Glen Ord expansion is an important part of that programme."

Kirsty Dagnan, Senior Site Manager of Glen Ord Distillery, also welcomed the investment plan for the distillery.

She said: "I'm delighted that Glen Ord distillery will benefit as part of Diageo's plan to invest in Scotland and I'm particularly pleased that the local economy will also have the opportunity to benefit from the work we plan to carry out here.

"We will be working closely with the local authority and consulting carefully with the local community in the weeks ahead as we follow the planning application process."

Glen Ord Distillery has already benefited from significant investment by Diageo in recent years. In 2011 Diageo invested over £3million to increase the capacity of the distillery by around a million litres by installing additional washbacks.

Last month Diageo submitted Proposal of Application Notices (PANs) in relation to three possible sites for a new distillery, although no final decision has been taken on the location. The sites identified for possible development are Teaninich, Ross-shire, and Glendullan and Inchgower, both on Speyside. All three locations are adjacent to existing Diageo distilleries.

02 Oct 12

Exports Remain at Record Levels

Growth was seen in the USA, Venezuela, Germany and in exports to Russia through the Baltic states in the first six months of this year. Asia remained steady with good growth in Taiwan. This helped Scotch Whisky exports maintain their value in the first half of 2012 at £1.8 billion, despite continuing pressure in some Eurozone countries and the after-effect of an increase of shipments to France last year ahead of a substantial tax rise.

In the first half of 2012, exports to the USA jumped by 13% to £303 million and it remains the biggest market by value for Scotch Whisky.

Venezuela, the ninth biggest market for Scotch, recorded significant growth - leaping 31% to £42m. In Europe, Germany saw exports increase 4% to £65m in the first six months of the year. Latvia and Estonia now appear in the top 20 markets, reflecting a surge in demand in Russia.

India saw an increase of 28% to £28m and the SWA remains hopeful that a conclusion can be reached on the European Union/India Free Trade Agreement (FTA) by the end of the year. The FTA would see a gradual reduction of the onerous 150% tariff on imported spirits. Reduction in that tariff would allow India to fulfil its potential to be one of the biggest markets for Scotch.

Scotch Whisky continues to attract younger, affluent consumers in newly emerging markets and this trend is expected to continue.

Gavin Hewitt, chief executive of the Scotch Whisky Association, said:

"Over the past year the value of Scotch Whisky exports has continued to increase and we're delighted to build on our outstanding success in 2011 with 12% growth in the last 12 months. While there has been a levelling off in the first half of this year, the industry remains confident about the future.

"Recent announcements of investments in new distilleries and the expansion of existing facilities demonstrate the level of confidence producers have in future growth opportunities." Source: http://www.scotch-whisky.org.uk

25 Sep 12

Diageo bids for a stake in India's £2bn United Spirits

Nick Goodway, http://www.standard.co.uk

Guinness-to-Johnnie Walker drinks giant Diageo today confirmed that it is in talks to buy a stake in India's United Spirits from one of the country's most colourful entrepreneurs, Vijay Mallya.

If the deal comes off — and Diageo warned today there was no certainty it would — it would give the British company a major position in one of the fastest-growing drinks markets in the world.

Diageo would not say how much of Mallya's 28% stake in United Spirits it wants to buy. Local reports say he is keen to retain at least a small shareholding. If Diageo were to buy more than 25% it would be forced to bid for the whole of the company, valued at almost £2 billion on the stock market.

Such a move could be seen as Diageo chief executive Paul Walsh's swansong since he is due to step down in 2014. The drinks group has always made it clear when making overseas acquisitions that it looks for ultimate total control of companies in which it buys stakes.

Mallya inherited United Breweries, the producer of Kingfisher beer, from his father and consolidated its operations, spinning off the spirits division separately on the Mumbai stock market.

But his Kingfisher airline, started as India's first low-cost carrier in 2003, has flown into deep financial trouble, teetering on the brink of bankruptcy. Staff went unpaid for several months and some aircraft were grounded. Industry analysts recently said it needed a $600 million cash injection within the next couple of months. Diageo's own Indian sales increased by 24% in the last full year with a fast-growing middle class demanding ever more international brands. Locally, Diageo distills Rowson's Reserve while United's top whisky is McDowell.

A key part of any deal would be Diageo's access to United's distribution network which handles Isle of Jura, Whyte & Mackay and Dalmore scotches as well as local spirits like White Mischief vodka.

United Spirits and Diageo originally held talks towards a deal that ultimately collapsed in 2009 when Mallya said its offer undervaled the company.

United Spirits handled 122 million cases of liquor last year while Diageo, which is the world's biggest drinks company, sold 156 million. Now, with Mallya under pressure to raise funds for his airline, analysts think there are much better odds on a deal happening.

Diageo may offer 1200 rupees to 1300 rupees a share, valuing a 25% stake at 42.5 billion rupees (£490 million), sources said. United Spirits shares jumped almost 5% to 1099.7 rupees.

25 Sep 12

A small Scottish whisky maker is aiming to turn its by-products into biofuel and become the world's first whisky distillery to fuel car and trucks in a move which could see Scotland's 100-plus distilleries feed a new 60-million-pound industry.

Independent whisky maker Tullibardine has linked up with Edinburgh Napier University to produce biobutanol, and a spin-out company from the university, Celtic Renewables, is looking at two sites to build a processing plant in central Scotland.

The distillery is supplying by-products to a plant at Redcar in northeast England to refine the process, which could help met the Scottish government's targets on carbon emissions and the European Union's on the use of biofuels.

Tullibardine, some 50 km north west of Edinburgh, supplies sugar-rich ground barley, known as draff, and yeasty liquid, or pot ale, both of which are by products from the fermentation and distillation processes in whisky making.

Distillery managing director Douglas Ross currently spends 250,000 pounds a year to dispose of these by products spreading them on fields or making them into animal feed, so for him it replaces a cost with environmental and commercial benefit.

The project hopes to identify the site of its new processing plant by the middle of next year with a capacity to take by-products from the many malt whisky distillery across the highlands and islands of Scotland and a handful of large grain distilleries largely in the nation's central belt.

The industry is dominated by big drinks groups such as Johnnie Walker maker Diageo and Chivas Regal distiller Pernod Ricard, but also includes a string of smaller groups and individual distilleries.

Professor Martin Tangney, director at the university's Biofuel Research Centre, has helped develop the process from the in the laboratory using three litres of pot ale before scaling up to 10,000 litres at the Redcar plant.

"This project demonstrates that innovative use of existing technologies can utilise resources on our doorstep to benefit both the environment and the economy," he said on Tuesday in a statement.

Source: http://www.reuters.com/
21 Sep 12

UK: Diageo's Fife extension gets council green light
Author: James Wilmore | http://www.just-drinks.com/

Plans by Diageo for a GBP150m (US$244.3m) extended warehouse facility in Fife, Scotland, have been given the green light by the local council.

The development, at Begg Farm in Kirkcaldy, consists of 276,000 sqm of "bonded" warehouses and will complement the group's increase in capacity at its Cameronbridge and Leven distilleries. Fife Council approved plans this week for the site, between the A92 dual carriageway and east Cluny village.

The group first announced details of the extension in June, as part of plans to spend GBP1bn (US1.55bn) on Scotch production over the next five years. It is also planning a "major" new distillery and earlier this month said it is considering three potential locations.

Councillor Kay Carrington, Fife Council's executive member for business, enterprise, economy, said: "This large scale year storage facility complements the recent increase in capacity at Diageo's Cameronbridge and Leven facilities and reinforces the real commitment that Diageo is making to Fife."

She added: "We are really pleased that Diageo has chosen Fife as they looked at numerous other sites across Scotland before making their decision."

20 Sep 12

Whisky fungus campaign maturing
HUNDREDS of residents packed a school hall to hear how they can sue the whisky industry for hundreds of millions of pounds.

The meeting in Bonnybridge, near Falkirk, was set up by a US lawyer who is set to mount a legal fight against whisky bosses over claims a black fungus is blighting Scots homes.

Kentucky-based William McMurry is already battling bourbon distillers in America and is targeting a number of Scots towns in the next stage of his battle to win £450 million compensation for damage to property values allegedly caused by the spread of the harmless but unsightly fungus, which can cover the exterior of houses as well as gutters, patio decking, paving slabs and fences.

Bonnybridge, which has whisky warehouses owned by drinks giant Diageo, was chosen as the legal team's first stop because local man Tom Chalmers contacted Mr McMurry for help.

The lawyers also want to force distillers to fit equipment to eliminate the ethanol escapes, claiming that will stop the fungus. Known as baudoinia, it is thought to thrive on ethanol released from whisky premises.

The legal team say a number of communities are affected by the mould, including Tullibody and Menstrie in Clackmannanshire, Leven in Fife, Kilmarnock, Shieldhall in Glasgow and Dumbarton.

The industry has previously said it does not accept responsibility for the mould and highlighted a similar blackening in Cornwall, where there are no distilleries. Source: http://www.heraldscotland.com

17 Sep 12

Bowmore Islay Single Malt Whisky Announces Release Of
Bowmore 1957 – 54 Years Old
~ The Oldest Bowmore and Oldest Islay Single Malt Ever Released ~

A Whisky Collector's Dream Come True:
Bottles No. 1 and No. 2 to be Auctioned at Bonhams in Edinburgh and New York City this October with net Proceeds Donated to Charity

Islay, Scotland (September 17, 2012) – Bowmore®, the first Islay Single Malt whisky, will release its oldest ever expression this October: the exceptionally rare Bowmore 1957, 54 Years Old. Not only is this the oldest whisky the distillery has ever released, it is also the oldest Islay Single Malt ever released. Distilled in 1957 and bottled in 2011, this marvel has been lying in wait in the finest oak for over half a century in Bowmore's legendary No. 1 Vaults, the oldest maturation warehouse in Scotland. With only 12 bottles in existence worldwide, this is the rarest Bowmore and will no doubt become one of the most sought-after and collectible Single Malt Scotch Whiskies in the world.

Bottles No. 1 and No. 2 will be offered at a public auction at esteemed international auction house Bonhams in Edinburgh on Oct 10 and in New York City on Oct 28 with a minimum reserve set at £100,000 per bottle (approx. $155,000). All net proceeds from both saleswill be donated to five Scottish charities.

Many generations have been the custodians of Bowmore 1957's long journey from cask to bottle. Beginning in 1779 when Bowmore was established through to the present day, the distillery team has served as guardians of Bowmore'swhisky-making traditions and its inventory, safeguarding them so that future generations can continue to experience the unique spirit that is Bowmore. Bowmore 1957 was as much nurtured by the people as it was by its cask and the ancient distillery walls.

A collection of 1957 casks were bottled in 1995 but one in particular was held back from the outset as it was clear that it was more special and exceptional than the rest. Since 1995, the whisky in that cask has been examined every six months to check the quality, taste, developments and changes; closely watched to see how long the whisky could mature without losing Bowmore's signature trait of a sweet/smoky balance.

Andrew Rankin, Morrison Bowmore's Chief Blender, comments: "Upon checking the whisky in early 2011, we knew it had reached perfection at 54 years of age. Bowmore 1957 has withstood the test of time astoundingly well and is nothing short of brilliance in a glass."

The Auction
Widely considered as one of the leading collectible Single Malts in the world, the Bonhams' auctions for the Bowmore1957 are certain to quicken the heartbeats of whisky collectors around the world. Auctions are slated for Edinburgh on October 10 (http://www.bonhams.com/auctions/19871/) and in New York City on October 28 (http://www.bonhams.com/auctions/20459/) with bids accepted live in each location as well as live internet bidding. Enquiries regarding bidding can be directed to bids@bonhams.com. The minimum reserve set by Bonhams is £100,000 per bottle, the highest reserve ever set for a Single Malt Whisky. Says Martin Green, Bonhams' Whisky Specialist, "We, at Bonhams, are very excited to offer at auction the rarest and oldest expression of Bowmore. This iconic bottling, the most mature spirit ever to come from Islay, has been watched over for 54 years and is in impeccable condition."

The Charitable Donation
Morrison Bowmore Distillers, producers of Bowmore, have chosen to donate all the net proceeds of both auctions to five Scottish charities that encompass a variety of worthy causes: ALZHEIMER SCOTLAND (care for people with dementia, their caregivers and families); THE BEATSON ONCOLOGY CENTRE (care for cancer patients receiving treatment in the west of Scotland); CHAS (children's hospice services); ERSKINE (medical care for Armed Forces); and MARIE CURIE CANCER CARE (cancer care and research). Mike Keiller, Morrison Bowmore Distillers ChiefExecutive Officer, says: "The notion of having a cask from 1957 that can still produce something so glorious shows the acute attention to detail and care that we pride ourselves on at Morrison Bowmore. The fact that we can take some of the precious cargo from this cask to help the lives of so many across many different communities through our charitable contribution, we thought we should help Scottish charities with this rare piece of Scotch whisky history."

The Unique Presentation
Bowmore has been distilling and perfecting its celebrated Single Malt on Islay since 1779, using time-honored traditions that have not changed since. Bowmore is one of the few distilleries that still turns its floor-malted barley by hand, checks the germinating barley by rolling it between finger and thumb and judges the "middle cut" of new made spirit by eye to determine the best liquid to fill the casks that will mature into well-aged Bowmore.

No attention to detail has been missed in making this precious spirit, and thesame hand-crafted thoughtfulness has been applied to the vessel and presentation box that carries the Bowmore 1957. Each of the 12 bottles has been hand-blown and sculpted by two of the world's foremost glass artists Brodie Nairn and Nichola Burns, into the shape ofwaves reminiscent of those that constantly crash against the No. 1 Vaults' sea-facing walls, whilst the glass is inlaid with shimmering flecks of platinum.

Adorning each bottle is a platinum neck collar, hand-engraved with the bottle number and spirit strength, and platinum stopper hand-crafted by Hamilton & Inches, Warrant Holder to the Queen. The bottle and accompanying glasses and water pitcher, also hand-blown by Nairn and Burns, are nestled in a presentation box created by acclaimed woodworker Peter Toaig, using hand-selected pieces of Scottish Oak. View artisans' videos here: http://www.bowmore.com/news/something-magical/

The Allocation Of 12 Bottles
Only 12 bottles of the rarest Bowmore 1957 have been created. Two of these will be auctioned, two have been retained for the Morrison Bowmore archives and the remaining eight will be available for purchase by the public solely at the Bowmore Distillery on Islay. The retail price for Bowmore 1957 will be £100,000 (approx. $155,000). Islay is the whisky-making mecca for many aficionados and those people who make the special journey to purchase Bowmore 1957 will be captivated by this magical island's craggy coasts, windswept moors and friendly inhabitants.

16 Sep 12

Market forces, demographics drive price of Scotch whisky skyward

By Bob Strauss Staff Writer

Mitch Bechard enjoys a single malt 36-year-old Glenfiddich Scotch. Bechard is Brand Ambassador for William Grant & Sons, the distiller that makes Glenfiddich Scotch. (John McCoy / Staff Photographer)
Mastro's Ocean Club in Newport Beach recently purchased an ultra rare bottle of 50-year-old Glenfiddich single-malt Scotch whisky.

The upscale restaurant will be happy to share a taste of it with you - at just $1,300 for a one-and-a-half ounce dram.

That, of course, is an extreme example. But it's indicative of what's going on with single-malt scotch, considered by many to be the finest spirit on the planet.

By too many these days, some grumble.

America's so-called whiskey boom, which started around the middle of the last decade, introduced hordes of younger drinkers to small-batch bourbons and new, quality ryes - and those with the most discerning palates inevitably graduated to single-malt whisky (which, to make their elixir even more distinguishable, the Scots have always insisted on spelling without the "e" practically every other whiskey on earth employs - except some Canadians, which don't taste at all like scotch).

At roughly the same time, the highly populated BRIC nations (Brazil, Russia, India and China) exploded economically, creating huge new, wealthy classes thirsty for luxury liquor.

Throw in some aggressive new promotional efforts by the biggest Scottish distilleries Glenfiddich, The Glenlivet and Macallan, and market forces did the rest.

"Since we started the club, we've noticed prices spiraling up," said Andy Smith, president of the 6 1/2-year-old Los Angeles Scotch Club. "It's cyclical, but whiskey is really popular now. And the Asian markets have really taken off. When something becomes popular in a country with 1.2 billion people, and the supply is coming from a little corner of the world with 5 million people, the love of scotch drives the price up."
"The demand for Scotch whisky is getting so much that we have to push the prices up," acknowledged Mitch Bechard, the charming Edinburgh lad who serves as Glenfiddich's brand ambassador for the western United States. "We're
running distilleries 24/7, but the trouble is those numbers on the label."
Those would be the age statements of the liquids in the bottles. Though taste and quality vary due to a number of factors, with single-malt scotch a general rule of thumb is the older the better.

Ergo, that 50-year-old bottle at Mastro's, which "if you or I were lucky enough to see it in the shops, we wouldn't get much change from $20,000," according to Bechard. (But we wouldn't see it in the shops; only 50 are released worldwide each year until the supply runs out in 2018).

Yet a bottle of the Highland distillery's 12-year-old, entry-level expression shouldn't set you back too much more than $30. Trouble is, even that had to mature in casks for a dozen years, and although they evidently made enough to go around, the Scots didn't necessarily know back at the turn of the century that there would be so much demand for whisky now.

In general, that math increasingly applies as the age of the scotch rises to, say, 18 years and into the 20s, 30s and 40s. Which, also in general, are the malts most prized by connoisseurs. Click here for the full article

13 Sep 12

The prices of the Diageo Special Releases 2012 for the Swiss Market have been fixed as follows (in CHF):

Brora 35y, 560.-
Caol Ila 14y: 89.-
Dalwhinnie 25y, : 260.-
Lagavulin 12y: 95.-
Lagavulin 21y: 500.-
Port Ellen 32y, 850.-
Talisker 35y, 750.-
Auchroisk 30y: 320.-

 

13 Sep 12 Master of Malt announces a new range of no age-statement Single Malt Scotch Whiskies

UK-based fine spirits producer and retailer Master of Malt have announced the launch of a new range of Single Malt Scotch Whiskies.

'That Boutique-y Whisky Company' Single Malt Scotch Whiskies represent the latest independent bottling by Master of Malt and are produced from hand-selected parcels of whisky from single distilleries. This new series is produced in small batches and are released in limited quantities. The first four distilleries represented in the range are Ardbeg, Macallan, Caperdonich, and Port Ellen.

Each distillery label has been whimsically hand-illustrated and individually numbered. The labels contain comic book style representations of scenes inspired by tall tales, inside jokes, and well-renowned collectors of the whisky industry. Each bottle is 50cl and hand-dipped in black wax. The rarity of the whisky itself and the unique design of the packaging make this series highly collectible.

These whiskies are released with no age statement as the age of the whisky within each bottling will vary from batch to batch, and new batches are not created until the best quality stock becomes available. By releasing a no-age-statement whisky, That Boutique-y Whisky Company aims to focus whisky enthusiasts on the flavour of each bottling rather than the age.

Tasting notes for the four initial Whiskies are:

Ardbeg – Batch 1
Smooth with salty peat smoke, oranges, lemons, and a dollop of vanilla.

Macallan – Batch 1
Rich and sherried with notes of Christmas cake, calvados, and warm spice.

Caperdonich – Batch 1
Rhubarb with stewed grapes, pear drops, and slathering of double cream.

Port Ellen – Batch 1
Strong notes of lemon sherbet, chamois leather, and a wisp delicate peat smoke.

More batches of each of these initial distilleries as well as selections from additional distilleries will be added to the range over the coming months and years.

That Boutique-y Whisky Company's range of Single Malt Scotch Whiskies is available now from Master of Malt.
29 Aug 12

New releases for this fall:

September:

Elements of Islay BN4
Elements of Islay BR3
Elements of Islay BW1
Elements of Islay CI4

Glenfarclas The Family Casks 1966
Glenfarclas The Family Casks 1973
Glenfarclas The Family Casks 1984
Glenfarclas The Family Casks 1985

Karuizawa 1969 single cask #8183
Karuizawa 1970 single cask #6177
Karuizawa 1981 single cask #162
Karuizawa 1983 single cask #8597

Port Charlotte PC10 Tro Na Linntean

October:

From Jean Boyer

LINKWOOD 1991 Sherry 46 One Shot
MACALLAN 1991 43 Best Casks of Scotland
MORTLACH 1991 Sherry 46 One Shot
LITTLEMILL 1992 46 One Shot
BEN NEVIS 1995 Sherry 46 One Shot
BEN NEVIS 1996 Sherry 43 Best Casks of Scotland
BEN NEVIS 1997 Sherry 46 One Shot
MORTLACH 1999 Sherry 43 Best Casks of Scotland
PULTENEY 2000 Barrels 43 Best Casks of Scotland
GLENDULLAN 2002 Barrels 43 Best Casks of Scotland

Puits à Whisky : Ben Nevis 1998, 43%.

28 Aug 12

DIAGEO ANNOUNCE 2012 COLLECTION OF LIMITED-EDITION SINGLE MALT SCOTCH WHISKIES IN THE 'SPECIAL RELEASES' SERIES

Diageo has announced its Single Malt Scotch Whiskies to be released in limited edition this autumn in the Special Releases series. All are at natural cask strength.

As usual, the series embraces some exceedingly rare and therefore increasingly sought after single malts from the dwindling stocks of long-silent distilleries alongside expressions from familiar and less familiar working distilleries, but at unusual ages.

The eight single malt releases this year are:

Auchroisk™ 30 year

Brora™ 35 year old

Caol Ila™ 14 year old

Dalwhinnie™ 25 year old

Lagavulin™ 12 year old

Lagavulin™ 21 year old

Port Ellen™ 32 year old

Talisker™ 35 year old

All are at natural cask strength.

'Treasures for all'

"Once again I hope we have released whiskies here to interest very many single malt drinkers and connoisseurs" said Nick Morgan, Diageo's Head of Whisky Outreach.

"The iconic 21 year old Lagavulin will, I'm sure, not disappoint those who have bought the previous highly-regarded bottling, and will be a delight for those who haven't tried it before. An 'unpeated' Caol Ila from ex-bodega European Oak will be fascinating. We are particularly excited about the Talisker 35 year old – the oldest we have ever released from this celebrated distillery.

"And our ever-diminishing stocks of Brora and Port Ellen have once again been successfully explored for hidden treasures, which will no doubt further increase the huge over-demand for these rare products . It is amazing to think that those distilleries closed nearly 30 years ago."

Details

DISTILLERY

NO. OF BOTTLES

UK RRP

COMMENTS

Auchroisk™ 30 year old

2,976

£230

The oldest Auchroisk ever released by the distillers. From a mix of American & European Oak refill casks filled in 1982.

Brora™ 35 year old

1,566

£400

Eleventh of a very limited series of annual releases. Vatted from whiskies at least 35 years old distilled in 1976 & 1977 and aged in refill American Oak casks

Caol Ila™ 14 year old

limited numbers

£66

From a batch made only once a year,: the 7th limited release of unpeated Caol Ila, the first at fourteen years old, also the first ‘sherried’ Caol Ila released in this series. From 1st  fill ex-bodega European Oak casks filled in 1997.

Dalwhinnie™ 25 year old

5,358

£185

Latest of four limited releases to be offered by the distillery, and the first of these to come from rejuvenated American Oak hogsheads.

Lagavulin™ 12 year old

limited numbers

£71

Eleventh in a series of special 12 year old releases from the original distiller’s stocks. Vatted from refill American Oak casks, each at least 12 years old.

Lagavulin™ 21 year old

2,772

£350

Only the second 21 year old ever bottled by the original distillers. Vatted from first fill ex-sherry European Oak casks each at least 21 years old, filled in 1991.

Port Ellen™ 32 year old

2,964

£600

Twelfth of a very limited series of annual releases. From refill American Oak and refill European Oak casks filled in 1979.

Talisker™ 35 year old

3,090

£525

The oldest limited release ever offered by the distillery. Sixteenth in this series. From American & European Oak refill casks filled in 1977.


Note: Brora Distillery and Port Ellen Distillery both closed in 1983.

Availability

From specialist retailers in Northern Europe, in selected Asian markets and in the USA.

17 Aug 12

Ardbeg will release next month their new expression, the Ardbeg Galileo 1999, bottled at 49% with a RRP of £69.99

A few new other releaseses have been annouced, including the Bowmore 1964 Fino, 42.9% limited to 72 bottles with a RRP of £8000, as well a slightly cheaper Auchtentoshan 1966 40.9% priced at £4500 (263 bottles) and Bowmore 1985 52.3% at £325

04 Aug

Excess rains may turn Scotch whisky less Scottish
Scotch whisky may prove a little less Scottish thanks to poor weather which has cut hopes for the domestic malting barley harvest, leaving distillers to turn, unusually, to foreign supplies.

Prospects for the UK spring barley harvest look "anything but promising" thanks to rains which in July came in at more than double typical levels, following unusually wet weather in May and June too, RMI Analytics said.

"The conditions in the UK are really not good," the malting barley consultancy said.

"The almost permanent rain showers of the previous weeks or almost months put significant decease pressure on the plants.

"The problems are visible for everyone and we have to assume that the kernels will be affected by various types of fungal infestations."

Shrunken surplus

The setback has left the UK, which typically has an exportable surplus of 150,000-200,000 tonnes, looking at excess supplies seen at best at 80,000 tonnes, and potentially with insufficient domestic supplies to cover the needs of distillers and brewers, RMI said.

More will be known after the start of harvesting, expected begin in a week or so by consultancy Adas.

"Some companies are buying back export commitments because they believe there will not be as much material for exports as they had thought," RMI's Matthias Wree told Agrimoney.com.

Nonetheless, with exports from the south of England still expected at 50,000 tonnes or more, "the north of England and Scotland will rely on imports of Scandinavia of at least 30,000 tonnes".

Danish Scotch?

Mr Wree said: "The UK usually finds a solution to its malting barley supplies internally, even if it means pulling supplies to Scotland from East Anglia.

"But this time is looks like there may not be enough, meaning Scotland may have to turn to Danish origin.

"At least by the time it comes to drink the whisky in 12 years' time, people will have forgotten where the raw material came from."

A spokesperson for the Scottish Whisky Association said that distillers "wherever possible" use Scottish malting barley, occasionally taking supplies from northern England.

"I could not say we have never importers, but it would certainly be very rare," the spokesperson said. Source: http://www.agrimoney.com

 

 

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