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06 Sep 09


The New Bowmore tempest has been officially released.

Bowmore, the original single malt whisky from the beautiful island of Islay is proud to offer a new limited edition expression for release in Sept 2009

Bowmore Tempest is a small batch release of only 2000 cases which embodies the spirit of our beautiful rugged Islay and our weather beaten distillery. Bowmore tempest is made from first fill bourbon and bottled at cask strength at 55.3%. The RRP is £39.99

First fill Bourbon casks deliver bursts of citrus followed by sea salt tang and a underlying smokiness make this an extremely complex expression whilst adhering to the  Bowmore signature style – balance.

Balanced by nature through careful maturation in the No.1 vaults, the cellars below sea level beaten by the wild waves of Loch Indaal

Crafted by people with a passion so raw that nothing stands in the way of producing anything short of perfection.

Tasting notesColour: Bright summer gold
Nose: Earthy smoke and brine water, notes of crème brulee with orange blossom with butter cream
Palate: Bursts of citrus, lemons and orange with the distinct peaty Islay character and a sea salt tang. Finish: Long, lingering yet clean and fresh

05 Sep 09

The world's biggest bottle of whisky will be unveiled today - and turned miniature.
Dru McPherson and Mike Drury made the monster malt to put the village of Tomintoul, Banffshire, on the map.

The giant 1½metre bottle holds 105.3 litres of 14-year-old Tomintoul single malt.

A German glassmaker created the 7mm thick pyrex bottle, and a massive cork was specially made to fit.

Dru will display it in his Clockhouse Restaurant, while whisky shop boss Mike will sell normal-size replicas.

Dru, 47, said: "They will look like miniatures by comparison." He added: "The hardest part was watching the giant cork hammered in - we were dreading the noise of smashing glass."

Local MP Angus Robertson will unveil the record-breaker in the village today.

03 Sep 09

Manager's choice: Officially released and price unfortunately confirmed:

Oban 2000/2009 58,7%, 450 CHF, European Sherry, 534 bottles, cask 1186
Glen Elgin 1998/2009 61,1%, 370 CHF, Refill European Oak 535 bottles, cask 3678
Linkwood 1996/2009 58,2% 290 CHF Refill European oak 480 bottles, cask 10552
Teaninich 1996/2009 55,3%, 290 CHF, Refill american oak, 246 bottles, cask 9802
Cardhu 1997/2009 57,3%, 370 CHF, Bourbon 252 bottles, cask 3363
Mortlach 1997/2009 57,1% 290 CHF Bourbon 240 bottles, cask 6802

Souce: Diageo Switzerland (

03 Sep 09

Bowmore has release a new and well made video:

02 Sep 09

Diageo closures could cost local economy millions - Swinney

THE closure of an iconic Scotch whisky's bottling plant may cause its local economy to lose £15.5 million a year, it was revealed today.
Finance Secretary John Swinney told MSPs a study was carried out on the impact of Diageo's plan to close its Johnnie Walker bottling plant in Kilmarnock and the Port Dundas grain distillery in Glasgow.

Drinks giant Diageo announced at the start of July that it wants to shut the bottling plant, threatening the jobs of 700 workers.

A further 200 workers may lose their job at the Glasgow distillery.

Mr Swinney said the as-yet unpublished study, which was carried out for East Ayrshire Council and Scottish Enterprise, also estimated that the cost to the public sector for every job lost may be as much as £20,000 a year.

"These are very telling figures and demonstrate the scale of Diageo's contribution to these communities and the devastating effects their actions would have on them," he told MSPs.

"Nine hundred job losses in the west of Scotland, particularly in the current economic climate, represent a body blow, not only to the individuals likely to be affected but to the wider community and local economies."

The Scottish Government is considering holding a whisky industry summit, Mr Swinney added.

The GMB trade union had contacted ministers in the wake of Diageo's proposals and the subsequent announcement from Whyte and Mackay that it plans to shed 83 jobs in Scotland.

The Finance Secretary said ministers are considering how a solution "can most successfully and usefully be taken forward with a range of interested parties".

Diageo announced its plan to shut the two sites in July, after MSPs at the Scottish Parliament started their summer recess.

Today, as some workers from the company looked on from the public gallery, Mr Swinney updated Holyrood on the campaign to try to save the jobs.

He said the fact that Diageo had not approached either the Scottish Government or Scottish Enterprise before it made its announcement is a "matter of real regret".

Mr Swinney added: "Nobody from Government or the unions or the elected representatives at the council or Parliament level had any prior warning of changes in employment."

Alternative proposals were agreed last week by a task force, which has brought together trade unions, local authorities, Scottish Enterprise and politicians.

If adopted, the proposals may see production continue in the Glasgow distillery, together with a new plant created in Kilmarnock.

Mr Swinney said the task force was established to "develop a single response which is in the best interests of Scotland".

And he said: "I will be meeting Diageo tomorrow to consider how we take these proposals forward.

"Our work in trying to reverse Diageo's decisions has nothing to do with trying to tell a successful, global company how to run its business.

"The issue has been, and will continue to be, about safeguarding those economically fragile communities at risk in the west of Scotland.

"The 900 jobs in the west of Scotland are real, existing jobs which matter not only to the individuals and their families but also to the wider community."

Diageo has claimed it will "offset" the redundancies by creating 400 jobs at its packaging plant in Fife.

But Mr Swinney said: "The issue is not playing one part of the country off against the other.

"I believe Diageo has a responsibility to those communities who have contributed so much to the company profits over generations – communities who have fully supported the success of the world-renowned Johnnie Walker brand."

Labour MSP John Park said Diageo workers had endured an "avoidable summer of uncertainty" because of the company's actions.

Diageo has "damaged that reputation and the relationship with the unions with the decision that it took at the beginning of the summer, and the way that decision was handled", he said.

Mr Park called on the Finance Secretary to "actively encourage" all businesses to engage with unions before similarly big decisions are taken.

For the Tories, Derek Brownlee MSP asked if public funds will be made available, and on what criteria any funding would be assessed.

Mr Swinney told him that clear rules exist to govern public spending and added: "Public funds will have to be used to pick up the pieces.

"What I'm trying to do in this instance is to encourage a private company to work with the Government to avoid a situation where public funds will have to be used extensively to pick up the pieces of industrial change, which in the words of Mr Park has been entirely avoidable."

Liberal Democrat MSP Robert Brown called for an assurance that Port Dundas and Kilmarnock will be given equal importance in talks.

Parliament also heard from Fife MSPs who said they are worried Diageo may cut back investment there if its closure plans change in the west of Scotland.

Mr Swinney said: "I've heard that point made and it's not a point I accept or agree with."

He told MSPs he will push for a full debate on Diageo's proposals in Holyrood.

Afterwards a spokesman for Diageo said: "Given the importance of our proposed restructuring to the people involved and to our business in Scotland, we understand the need for our proposals and the issues which surround them being debated at the highest possible levels within the Scottish Government and Scottish Parliament.

"However while the debate contributes to the ongoing discussion on our proposals, the key element for Diageo remains the receipt of a detailed response from the Scottish Government task force on their alternative proposals for Kilmarnock and Port Dundas and the resulting implications for Leven.

"We understand this will be available this week.

"Our overall priority remains the ongoing consultation with our employees and supporting them during this difficult time." Source:

01 Sep 09

Morrison Bowmore Distillers has today launched its Glen Garioch Single Malt Whisky, with packaging and designs by Edinburgh-based Nevis.

The unveiling marks a new chapter of whisky making at one of Scotland’s oldest distilleries.

The launch celebrates the distillery's long standing tradition of craftsmanship – taking the skills and experience cultured over the last 200 years to create a boutique range of whiskies.

The new packaging designed by the agency is a reflection of the tradition and boutique nature of Glen Garioch and the distillery. Tactile, highly crafted elements have been used throughout, resulting
in a hand-made, quality look and feel.

Featuring Highland and distillery imagery from the founding year, the packaging aims to be informative and true to its heritage. The side of the outer package also features an iconic tartan design – a respectful nod to the tartans that have historically been created in this Aberdeenshire area.

The team at Nevis has been working on this project for the last 18 months. David Huckell, design director at Nevis, said: "Each and every element of the design has been crafted by skilled individuals, Charles Stuart world renowned typographer who has worked on Brands from The BBC to Sainsbury’s, worked with us to create a hand-made bespoke font. Coupled with the slick brush marks from Iain McIntosh the result really does rejuvenate the look and strengthens the hand-made tactile nature of the Glen Garioch brand."

Nevis has held a relationship with Morrison Bowmore Distillers for three years.

The Glen Garioch brand is the "crowing glory" of Morrison Bowmore's portfolio.

Leading with the 1797 Founders Reserve at the heart of the range, Glen Garioch will periodically release hand select individual casks at the peak of their perfection, aiming to demonstrate the quality and breadth of the Glen Garioch spirit. Launched as ‘Single Batch Releases’, this year will see Glen Garioch 1990 Vintage and the Glen Garioch 1978 Vintage will join the 1797 Founders Reserve.

02 Sep 09

New releases:

After the success of the Ardbeg Corryvreckan committee bottling, Ardbeg will now relase an official bottling of the Ardbeg Corryvreckan bottled at 57.1% with a RRP of £70/$85

The new Hazelburn 12 YO and the Springbank 2001 have just been released. I only discovered today that on the Springbank website , that Springbank will release in the months to come a 3x 20 cl including a Hazelburn CV, Springbank CV and Longrow CV

01 Sep 09

Some update on the Manager's choice bottling to be released this week:

Oban 2000/2009 58,7% £300 Sherry, 534 bottles
Glen Elgin 1998/2009 61,1% £250 Sherry 534 bottles
Linkwood 1996/2009 58,2% £200 Refill American oak 480 bottles
Teaninich 1996/2009 55,3% £200 Bourbon 246 bottles
Cardhu 1997/2009 57,3% £250 Bourbon 252 bottles
Mortlach 1997/2009 57,1% £250 Bourbon 240 bottles

Of note, no comma is missing betweeen the second and third digit.

28 Aug 09

Available for tasting since October 2009 in Switzerland for the member of the Classic Malts , the first 6 malts from the new Diageo serie „The Managers’ Choice Single Cask Selection“. According to the website "For this new serie of very exclusive malts, our experts have selected amongst the stocks of 27 distilleries a single cask for each distillery. The tasting notes of these 6 malts will be available starting December 2009 on The Manger's choice website will be live on September 04 at A short clip can be viewed at

According to two different sources, as part of their Special Release 2009, Diageo will release the following products (under reserve of modification) .

Mannochmore 18yo
Caol Ila unpeated 10yo
Talisker 25yo
Talisker 30yo
Port Ellen 30yo
Brora 30yo
Lagavulin 12yo

According to one source, the price of the Port Ellen should be higher than the previous bottling and with limited availability.

28 Aug 09

Organic Developments for Islay Distiller

The first ever organic Islay single malt whisky has been released to coincide with the opening of a new island barley facility for farmers and Bruichladdich distillery.

Bruichladdich has released the world’s first organic Islay single malt whisky on the day the Hebridean island’s first grain facility opened - in time for this year’s barley harvest.

This is the ultimate “single”, single malt (single farm, harvest, variety and vintage) distilled from Chalice barley grown by William Rose at Culblair in summer of 2003.

This first organic bottling represents the direction Bruichladdich has been going since it was reopened in 2001. Unparalleled Scottish provenance, quality, variety and traceability.

Duncan McGillivray, manager of the privately-owned distillery, said: “it’s the way is used to be - ultimate authenticity - real people, real places, real character. That’s what we’re about”

All Bruichladdich whisky is naturally bottled at the distillery in the island’s only bottling hall at 46% alc/vol with Islay spring water – chill-filtration and colouring-free.

The Octofad facility (weighbridge, unloading area, drying house and storage) means each of the 15 Islay farm’s harvests can be kept separate until ready for malting later in the year.

“Being able to dry our barley “off the field” makes harvesting logistics less frantic, less risky and more efficient. With the current poor weather it is not a moment too soon”

“Environmentally too, by trucking one load of ‘green’ barley to the maltings at Bairds, and returning with one load of ‘malted’ barley means less of a footprint.”

“We’re very proud; it’s the culmination of a great team effort. People thought we were mad, perhaps we are, but the taste makes it all worth while; the proof is in the pudding.”

15,000 bottles of the Bruichladdich 2003 “Culblair Farm” edition have been released. UK Retail price £39

“Anns an t-seann doigh” is Gaelic for ‘the way it used to be’

Uniquely, 100% of Bruichladdich’s barley is Scottish grown, with 50% produced on the island at 15 farms and 50% organically grown on another 8 farms

Naturally bottled at Bruichladdich distillery, colouring-free, with out chill-filtration, with Islay spring water at 46% alc/vol

Certified by the BioDynamic Agricultural Association

27 Aug 09

Diageo Posts Higher Profit but Cuts Profit Target

LONDON (AP) -- Diageo PLC, the world's biggest spirits maker, posted a 7 percent rise in full-year net profit on Thursday, benefiting from favorable currency exchange rates and cost-cutting amid weaker demand for many of its key products.

The maker of Johnnie Walker whisky, Smirnoff vodka and Guinness stout cut its profit target for the current year because of concerns about the strength of an economic recovery -- but also stressed that it believed the worst was over.

Net profit for the 12 months to June 30 was 1.62 billion pounds ($2.62 billion), up from 1.52 billion pounds a year ago.

Revenue rose 15 percent to 9.31 billion pounds, but sales were flat when the exchange rate gains were stripped out.

The rise in earnings angered union leaders who are protesting the company's decision to close a 199 year-old distillery in Glasgow and a bottling plant in Kilmarnock as part of cost-cutting in Scotland. The closure will mean the loss of 900 jobs.

Protestors gathered outside Diageo's headquarters in central London, before moving on to Prime Minister Gordon Brown's residence at No. 10 Downing Street and then the embassies of key importers of Diageo's products. Unite union spokesman Len McCluskey said cutting the jobs was about short-term greed.

''Even in a global recession, Diageo can pull in billions of pounds in pure profit,'' McCluskey said. ''For 185 years, generations of Scotland's workers have delivered for this company. Their hard work has made this company extraordinarily wealthy and its products loved around the world.''

Diageo has said the job cuts will be partly offset by the creation of 400 new jobs at its packaging plant in Fife.

Scotland is one of Diageo's largest spirit supply centres, currently employing about 4,500 people and producing nearly 50 million cases of Scotch whisky and white spirits, but Chief Executive Paul Walsh said that the company needed to refocus and cut costs as consumer trends change.

''The reality is that Scotch whisky's future lies beyond these shores, we have to penetrate new markets,'' Walsh told BBC Scotland. ''The cost of entry is high and therefore we have to have a competitive offering.''

Diageo has been hit by recent destocking -- stores and distributors keeping fewer of its products -- in the United States and weak demand in Europe.

Organic operating profit growth -- the figure closely watched by analysts -- was 4 percent. That was at the lower end of the 4 to 6 percent range the company forecast in February, a prediction that was itself a lowered target from an earlier forecast of 7 to 9 percent growth.

The company dropped the target further for the current financial year, pegging ''low single digit'' growth.

Diageo shares were 3 percent lower at 966 pence in morning trade on the London Stock Exchange.

Chief Financial Officer Nick Rose said that he was confident that the company's core premium brands would not suffer long-term from the economic downturn, saying that the recent tendency of consumers to seek out value brands had been overstated.

''The question that we are often being asked is: Is the basic business model of premiumisation over? We feel very strongly that it isn't,'' Rose told reporters on a conference call.

''Although we are not shouting about the green shoots as aggressively as some people are, we would say that the worst is over.''

The so-called premium sector includes brands that retail for around $10 a bottle in the United States, such as Diageo's Smirnoff and Ketel One vodkas and Captain Morgan rum. Super-premium brands start at $20, with the ultra-premium sector ranging from $50-100.

Rose also said that he did not expect to see further significant destocking, which had a heavy effect in the first few months of 2009.

Diageo, which also makes Baileys liqueur and Gordon's gin, said that growth in spirits offset a weakness in wine and beer sales in its key U.S. market over the year. While volumes were flat, U.S. sales rose 1 percent and Rose said he expects North America to remain ''very resilient.''

The international division was a major contributor to the company's earnings report, with continued growth in Africa and increases in Latin America driving net sales growth of 7 percent, despite a 4 percent drop in volumes. Guinness stout was a star performer, with sales up 15 percent.

In Europe, volumes fell 6 percent and net sales were down 5 percent. Spain and Ireland were particularly impacted by the worsening economic environment.

The company's Asia Pacific region was the worst performer. Volumes were down 11 percent and sales down 4 percent due to trade de-stocking and a decline in sales of ready-to-drink products in Australia after an increase in alcohol tax.

27 Aug 09 Diageo GB's 2% sales increase
Written by Eamonn Houston

Diageo's chief in Great Britain has said that the global drinks company has performed well recording a 2% net sales growth despite grueling trade conditions.
Managing Director of Diageo GB, Simon Litherland was speaking after the company released details of its world-wide performance today.
He said that the company's "strong brands" including Smirnoff and Guinness and its ability to adapt to economic conditions had helped it weather the storm.
A strong off-trade performance had helped increase Diageo GB's Total Beverage Alcohol (TBA) share by 1% to 11.2%, according to Litherland.
Diageo's spirits category had delivered over £200 million of growth year-on-year.
Litherland added that, despite further decline in beer in the on-trade, Guinness Draught, continued to outperform with its highest ever value share of the beer category at 7.2% and has enjoyed 30 consecutive months of volume share growth, strengthening its position as the number three beer brand in the on-trade by value.
Litherland said: "We continued to look at opportunities to engage with our consumers as they trended towards purchases in the off-trade for home consumption. Our innovation agenda focused on the promotion of ready-to-serve working with partners such as Schweppes and Ocean Spray, and within customer marketing, working with customers to promote categories, a good example of which is the ‘Raise Your Spirits' campaign in the grocery channel."
26 Aug 09

To Infinity and Beyond
Infinity was created to showcase the great length of palate associated with Bruichladdich. This bottling, the third in the series, makes the ideal digestif.
Jim McEwan, Bruichladdich’s head distiller, started his whisky career 45 years ago as a cooper rising to be master of that trade; he knows all there is to know about casks.

That knowledge, together with his renown distilling experience, has led to the creation of Infinity 3, from casks specifically chosen out of over 35,000 maturing in our warehouses.

Quercus Alba, better known as American oak, is the standard for Bourbon production then whisky aging. But unusually, in this case, the association is not US but entirely with Spain.

Only Spanish grown Quercus Alba - refill Sherry and Ribero (tempranillo) casks - were used for this multi-vintage Bruichladdich, drawn from several ages, styles and peat levels.

The peatiness has been upped slightly over the two original bottlings, stocks of which are now exhausted. This is a general release, stocks are expected to last until 2011/12.

The brief for this decidedly personal cuvée was to produce a complex, multi-layered malt with a provocatively infinite finish: the ideal digestif dram - mellow, rich, spice and fruit.

22 Aug 09

Council leaders disappointed by an independent consultants' report into Diageo's plans in Scotland are vowing to fight on for 700 jobs in Kilmarnock.
The analysis by BDO Stoy Hayward has "discrepancies and serious omissions", according to East Ayrshire Council.
The study apparently says it could cost Diageo millions to stay in Kilmarnock, rather than close the plant and open a new one in Leven, Fife.
A report detailing alternatives to closure is to be presented to Diageo.
Campaigners say closing the Kilmarnock plant will devastate the local economy, and also that because Johnnie Walker has been bottled in the town since 1820 it will have a negative impact on sales.
'Badly flawed'
The BDO report was commissioned by Scottish Enterprise at a cost of £75,000 - it has not been made public because of commercially sensitive information contained within it, but it is believed it said the rationale behind the drinks conglomerate's plans appeared "sensible".
Scottish Enterprise, the government's enterprise agency, is co-ordinating efforts to draw up a plan for an alternative to closure and a taskforce has been studying the consultants' report.

The company is due to announce its results later in the week
The report, which evaluated Diageo's original plans, also considered a number of alternatives.
But campaigners said it failed to recognise the potential of the Barleith plant in Hurlford.
East Ayrshire Council is now working to produce its own report to be presented to Finance Secretary John Swinney on Tuesday - ahead of Diageo publishing its latest financial results on Thursday.
Councillor Jim Buchanan told BBC Scotland: "The report was badly flawed, there was no question of that."
He said: "The first one being that consumers were not aware of the local connection with Kilmarnock and Johnnie Walker. When questioned about this, BDO couldn't answer this and quite clearly it's an absolute nonsense.
Newspaper ads
"The second point was that in one of the alternatives put forward they said there would be an on-cost of £72m to Diageo. Again when questioned this figure dropped from £72m to £49m. A £23m loss in just a matter of seconds."
The council has called this a "new action phase" of the campaign in advertisements taken out in The Herald and The Scotsman newspapers on Saturday.
The advert attacks the study, saying: "Disappointingly there are a number of discrepancies and serious omissions in the report and on more than one occasion the consultants were unable to answer our questions.
"When pressed, the consultants admitted that across a number of key issues, they were simply expressing their own views, including their statement that location will not affect whisky sales."
A BDO Stoy Hayward spokesman said criticism of the report was a matter for Scottish Enterprise.

22 Aug 09 Indiana Jones fights for Bruichladdich
Although Harrison Ford is no stranger to deadly combat in his Indiana Jones films, Mandrake still admires his courage for throwing himself into the fray between two of Scotland's proudest whisky makers. He has taken Bruichladdich's side against its old foe Ardbeg and its half dozen other rivals on the Isle of Islay.

Tim Walker

He insisted, while making Morning Glory, a film about a heavy-drinking television news anchorman, on having a bottle of Bruichladdich's finest on his desk in the newsroom scenes.
"He has a line in which he points to the bottle and says 'I only drink it on special occasions,'" says my man with the clapperboard. "It's not product placement, but Harrison wanted it in because he knows his malts." The producers emailed Mark Reynier, the boss of Bruichladdich, to ask if he could furnish them with some bottles as props – plus a vintage one for Ford's own use, and one of a "more modest age" for Roger Michel, the film's director, "so he doesn't feel left out".

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Reynier dispatched bottles of his prized Octomore which could not have been more provocative as far as Ardbeg, their French-owned rivals, were concerned. The two distilleries are involved in a battle to produce the whisky with the highest amount of peat (which is measured in parts per millions). Reynier is claiming an easy lead over Ardbeg with an Octomore with a daunting ppm of 140.
Ford sent Reynier a signed photo on which he had written "For the laddies at Bruichladdich, I like your work." No doubt Reggie Bosanquet, the late, great and frequently inebriated ITN newcaster, would have approved.
Jeremy Bowen is in bad odour
Mandrake is beginning to wonder if there is anyone in the country who hasn't been invited to appear on Strictly Come Dancing. Days after Ann Widdecombe claimed that she had been asked, Jeremy Bowen, the lugubrious former BBC Breakfast News anchorman, who is best known for his smelly socks, says he has also received an approach. Oh dear.
21 Aug 09 Several New products have been annouced for the Whisky-Live Paris (September 2009): Amrut Two Continents, Ardbeg Corryvrekan, Balblair 1991, Balvenie 17 YO Madeira, Benromach Organic Peated, Bowmore Tempes, Glenglassaugh New Spirits, Glenmorangie Sonnalta, Glenffidich 15 YO Distillery Edition, Lambertus 18 YO, Glendronach 1993, Lochside 1981, Macallan 1970 Speymalt, Myagikyo 1990, Yoichi 1991, ... Source:
21 Aug 09

PC8 wins the 'Spirit of Whisky Fringe' award.   

The annual Whisky Fringe tasting, organised by Royal Mile Whiskies, took place last weekend at the old church of Mansfield Traquair during the Edinburgh Festival. 

Around 200 whiskies were available for tasting by members of the public and all visitors were given the chance to vote for their favourite spirit tasted over the weekend.  

PC8, heavily peated Bruichladdich to the tune of 40 ppm's worth, was voted by the general public as the Spirit of Whisky Fringe 2009, and awarded the trophy.

Bruichladdich has been well received by Edinburgh’s whisky fans. In the last three years it has won this trophy twice and came second once.

This achievement was all the more impressive as this 8 year old whisky was up against contenders that were considerably older, in some cases four times the age.

PC8 is the fourth and final release in the dramatic 6 tin image series. The picture tins, having featured the distiller, his team, Islay people, now showcase Islay’s heritage.

Ar Duthchas”, land of our fathers, portrays landmarks from Islay’s remote Rhinns peninsula, celebrating Mans’ long presence, the tangible heritage, of this special isle.

PC8, bottled on islay at 60.5%  should be compared to previous bottlings PC5, PC6 and PC7 that were rated at 95, 96 and 96.5 in the 2009 Whisky Bible by Jim Murray.

18 Aug 09





The 11th Stena Line Wigtown Book Festival will take place from 25 September – 4 October 2009 and is a key event in the Homecoming Scotland celebrations.  Last year’s festival was an unprecedented success with ticket sales more than doubling and the festival won the Thistle Award for Best Regional Event and Festival 2008.  This year’s programme extends beyond books to encompass music, film, poetry, theatre and the first ever artist residency (...)

New this year is a unique festival-within-a-festival called “Whisky & Words” with a programme featuring events about the relationship between whisky and writing.

Most of the programme for Whisky & Words will take place at Bladnoch Distillery – Scotland’s southernmost distillery which is a couple of miles outside Wigtown.  The Whisky & Words festival, which reflects the Homecoming themes of whisky and Robert Burns, will be launched with a Burns Supper on Wednesday 30 September and run until Saturday 3 October.  Amongst the events lined up are Roger Hutchinson on the real Whisky Galore, Tom Morton’s ‘Drinking For Scotland’, Ian Buxton on the wonderful Aeneas MacDonald (who wrote probably the greatest literary book ever written about Scotch), the poetry of drink and a whisky-themed creative writing course. Scotland’s top whisky writers such as Charles MacLean, Dave Broom and Gavin Smith will be hosting events. There will be nips and tastings with most events to combine the “practical” whisky information with the more literary angles.   On Saturday 3rd October there will be a special event to celebrate the launch of the Bladnoch 8 year-old malt, the first since the distillery re-opened. For more details, please consult

16 Aug 09


CONSERVATIVES in Perthshire have called for a Scottish Parliament committee inquiry into the whisky industry.

It comes as whisky firms are threatening to lay off staff and the Scottish Government plans to introduce a minimum price for each unit of alcohol.

The call was made as a major summit was held in Glasgow yesterday to discuss Diageo’s threat, announced last month, to cut 900 jobs.

This month Glasgow-based Whyte and MacKay revealed it wants to shed 100 jobs – with its distillery at Invergordon likely to be affected – prompting fears that other firms may follow suit.

Alex Salmond’s government is also under pressure to ditch its plans for minimum pricing.

Ministers believe it will help tackle drunkenness and health problems, but the industry claims it will push up the price of cheaper brands, such as own-label whiskies that represent 25%-30% of the market.

Mid Scotland and Fife Conservative MSP Murdo Fraser wants to see a Holyrood inquiry in order to see a full debate on one of Scotland’s “national icons”.

He said any inquiry by the economy, energy and tourism committee must examine minimum pricing.

“The whisky industry has been hit hard in recent months and I want to see a committee inquiry undertaken to examine the issues that currently face the whisky industry here in Perthshire and across Scotland,” he said.

Campaigners fighting to save the 900 Diageo jobs yesterday buried their political differences to map out the next stage of their battle.

The summit brought together figures from the Labour, SNP, Lib Dem and Tory parties.

Labour MSP Patricia Ferguson, who hosted the meeting with Glasgow council leader Steve Purcell, said later: “We leave more united than ever.”

SNP Glasgow MSP Bob Doris said: “The employees are determined to protect their livelihoods and I am committed to fight alongside them for every Diageo job.” Source:

04 Aug 09

Whisky firm to axe 100 jobs
Whisky firm Whyte & Mackay said it was to cut up to 100 jobs to help it weather the economic storm.
Bosses at the distillers, which employs 574 people, said "a major review" of the organisation will be conducted, which will include redundancies.

As well as 85 jobs at risk in Scotland, a further 15 sales jobs outside Scotland may also be lost in the restructuring.

News of the cuts follows drinks giant Diageo's announcement that it wants to close its Johnnie Walker bottling plant in Kilmarnock and the Port Dundas distillery in Glasgow, with 900 workers at risk of losing their job.

Whyte & Mackay said it was in "formal consultation" with staff about the planned job cuts.

The firm said it wanted to reduce the number of workers at all seven of its Scottish sites, including Invergordon distillery near Inverness, its Glasgow head office and at a bottling plant in Grangemouth - but none of the sites will be closed.

Whyte & Mackay chief executive John Beard said the redundancy plan was "a painful decision" for the company.

"It will come as no surprise to anybody that a combination of the worldwide economic situation and the punitive UK legislative climate means that only the fittest alcoholic drink companies will survive," he said.

"My priority over the coming days and weeks is to help and assist our staff.

"We are hopeful that this difficult decision will ensure Whyte & Mackay has a sustainable future going forward, leaving us in a strong position to grow when the UK and global economy improves."

29 Jul 09

BRUSSELS - The European Union asked on Wednesday for talks with the Philippines at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) over that country's taxes on spirits, which the EU regards as discriminatory.

European distillers complain that the Philippines, one of the Asia-Pacific region's biggest spirits markets, granted advantageous taxes in 1996 and again in 2004 for spirits made locally from sugar cane or the sap of palms such as coconut.

Imports of Spanish brandy and Scotch whisky have been hit particularly hard, with taxes 10 to 50 times higher than for locally produced spirits, they say.

"This long-running problem has prevented EU exporters from competing fairly in the Philippine market, and has led to a sharp decrease in imports of European spirits," EU Trade Commissioner Catherine Ashton said in a statement.

"I hope that we can still find an amicable solution to this issue through the consultation process," she added.

The value of EU spirits exports to the Philippines fell about 60% over four years to 18 million euros ($25.5 million) in 2007, the European Spirits Organisation said.

"EU spirits producers are unable to compete in the Philippine market due to the high taxes imposed on their products," the group said in a statement. "This is a clear violation of WTO rules."

The Philippines consumed about 47 million nine-litre cases of spirits in 2007, the executive European Commission said, citing figures from the International Wine and Spirits Record. Of that, just 1 million cases were imported, it added.

29 Jul 09

The John Walker Launched In Singapore
by Deidre Woollard

Last Friday Diageo showed off the first bottle of The John Walker, the new whisky blend in the Johnnie Walker portfolio. The whisky will sell for $3,000 duty free making it the highest priced line in Diageo's entire drinks portfolio. The new blend was created from a small number of rare and exclusive whiskies taken from distilleries that operated in the 1800s during John Walker's lifetime. Singapore received five bottles ahead of the blend's official launch in September 2009.

The first bottle is signed by Master Blender Jim Beveridge and is being auctioned in partnership with travel retailer DFS at Changi Airport to raise money for The Smile Train, the non-profit charity of choice for DFS. The retailer plans to match the amount raised. The Moodie Report has pictures and video of the unveiling.

27 Jul 09

By Tristan Stewart-Robertson
THE First Minister has laid down new battle lines in the fight with drinks giant Diageo by claiming the entire population is against its restructuring plans.
After 20,000 people marched through Kilmarnock yesterday, Alex Salmond ratcheted up the tension between the company and the Scottish public, saying: "5.1 million people want Diageo to change their minds."

In an impressive display, Diageo workers joined union chiefs, former employees and the people of Kilmarnock to voice their support for keeping the town's Johnnie Walker bottling plant and the Port Dundas grain distillery in Glasgow.

Earlier this month, Diageo announced plans to cut 900 jobs from the two sites, 700 of them in Kilmarnock, where the whisky brand has had a presence since 1820. Opponents say unemployment in Kilmarnock could rise by 70 per cent as a result of the proposed cuts.

The march and boisterous rally sent a powerful message to the multinational drinks firm to change its mind. A petition against the plans has been signed by 10,000 people.

A Diageo spokesman said the company was aware of the strength of feeling surrounding the restructuring proposals and could "understand the reaction of our employees".

Mr Salmond said: "Today's march and rally demonstrated that the people of Scotland stand behind Kilmarnock and the campaign to keep Diageo in the town.

"This rally marks another step forward in the joint campaign to persuade Diageo of the substantial economic advantages in retaining their long-established and hugely beneficial links with the communities of Scotland."

Scottish Tory leader Annabel Goldie said the event had sent "a very powerful message to Diageo that there is anger and bewilderment at this decision".

She added that there was throughout Scotland a "passionate determination to require Diageo to reconsider".

Footballers from Kilmarnock FC joined the march, dubbed "Keep Striding Forward", which ended with a rally in the town's Kay Park. Mr Salmond said it was the first time he could remember an entire football club squad demonstrating in such a local campaign.

The march started from Howard Park in Kilmarnock at 1pm and finished in Kay Park with a rally and speeches. Strathclyde Police confirmed about 20,000 people attended.

Kilmarnock and Loudoun MP and former Scottish secretary Des Browne hailed the turnout. He said: "We have a message for Diageo today – you have got this wrong. You have underestimated the relationship between this community and wider Scotland and your industry. You have to think again."

He said he did not underestimate how difficult it would be to get Diageo to reverse its plans, but added: "There is a determination among all of us that we will come up with an alternative."

Diageo has insisted it will "offset" the cuts with 400 new jobs at its Fife packaging plant and the creation of a coopering centre in Clackmannanshire. It has also said there would be no compulsory redundancies for one year.

But Len McCluskey, assistant general secretary of the Unite trade union, insisted it was possible to force Diageo to rethink its plans.

He said: "People power and organised labour can change it, and we intend to change it.

"Let's be absolutely crystal clear right from the outset – this decision is borne out of greed, nothing else. Greed is their creed and we need to expose that.

"This is a company that made £2.2 billion profit last year and has already declared half-yearly profits of £1.6bn.

"This is company that does not need to take the drastic decisions that they have that will damage and destroy families and blight communities."

But Zander Wedderburn, a business expert and professor emeritus at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, said simply claiming the nation was against the plans would not be enough. "Unless something hits their commercial interest, (Diageo] will not turn. It would take something like a boycott of Diageo products to make them think again," he said.

A spokesman for the First Minister said Diageo had assured them it would consider an alternative business plan being drawn up by Scottish Enterprise to be presented next month.

A Diageo spokesman said: "We are aware of the strength of feeling surrounding the restructuring proposals and can understand the reaction of our employees. The march was a further opportunity to air those views.

"We continue to be in a formal consultation with employee representatives, and are working with the consultants appointed by Scottish Enterprise."


PLANS to axe 900 whisky jobs will be discussed in the Scottish Parliament, Labour has revealed.

Michael McMahon, the party's business manager, has written to the Scottish Government calling on First Minister Alex Salmond to make a statement on Diageo's proposals when MSPs return to Holyrood in September.

Labour vowed if ministers did not make a statement on the matter, they would raise it in a members' debate.

The party has called on Mr Salmond to make a statement in Holyrood on 2 September. If that does not happen, Patricia Ferguson, the MSP for Glasgow Maryhill, will raise the issue in a members' debate the following day.

Ms Ferguson claimed Diageo's plans were a "potentially devastating decision which will ruin the lives of almost 1,000 families in Glasgow and Kilmarnock".

She stated: "It is right the issue is debated so we can be satisfied the Scottish Government and Scottish Enterprise are doing all they can to save the jobs." Source:

25 Jul 09

Drinks company Diageo is 'drunk on greed', says union boss
A UNION boss is accusing drinks firm Diageo of being "drunk on greed" over their plans to axe 900 whisky jobs.
Earlier this month the firm said they were closing their Johnnie Walker bottling plant at Kilmarnock and the Port Dundas grain distillery in Glasgow.
With up to 700 jobs at risk in Kilmarnock, a protest march and rally will take place in the town tomorrow.
In a speech at the demonstration, Unite assistant general secretary Len McCluskey will say: "These are job cuts driven by one thing only - greed. This is a company drunk on greed.
"They are making megaprofits - more than s2billion last year - and want still more.
"We have news for Diageo and their boardroom - the days of 'greed is good' are over.
"Unite are not going to accept these jobs are going.
"If this company think they can throw hundreds of decent working men and women on the dole without a fight, they have been partaking of too much of their merchandise."
Supporters First Minister Alex Salmond, Tory leader Annabel Goldie and Kilmarnock MP Des Browne will also speak at the rally, which is expected to attract thousands of supporters.
Goldie has written to Bryan Donaghey, Diageo MD for Scotland, urging him to rethink the closure plans.
But Andrew Morgan, president of Diageo Europe, said: "For the long-term health of the business, I'm convinced it's the right thing for us to be doing and we need to work with the people of Kilmarnock to have this come about in the best possible way for them."
Diageo have said they will "offset" the cuts with 400 new jobs at their Fife packaging plant.
The drinks firm are also planning to open a coopering centre in Clackmannanshire.
They said there will be no compulsory redundancies at their sites for a year. Source:

23 Jul 09

Whisky Week, part of Homecoming Scotland 2009, is an exciting series of whisky events throughout Scotland culminating in Whisky Live Glasgow on Saturday 12th September.

If you ever needed a reason to visit Scotland, then this is it. Whether the Highlands or Lowlands, Speyside or the Borders, Whisky Week combines whisky tastings, food and whisky matched dinners and the opportunity to visit distilleries in the finest whisky celebration imaginable – in a series of dinners called the Whisky Experiences.

You can attend one event or all seven, and Whisky Week is designed to open up Scotland to those who love whisky and want to experience it first-hand.

Venues and dates
Whisky Experience Edinburgh
Sunday 6th September
Caledonian Hotel

Whisky Experience Perth
Monday 7th September
Crieff Hydro

Whisky Experience Speyside
Tuesday 8th September
Glenfiddich Distillery

Whisky Experience Inverness
Wednesday 9th September
Drumossie Hotel

Whisky Experience Oban
Thursday 10th September
Oban Distillery

Whisky Experience Glasgow
Friday 11th September
Auchentoshan Distillery

Whisky Live Glasgow
Saturday 12th September
Thistle Hotel

Ticket options
Ticket prices are £85 for each of the Edinburgh and Glasgow Whisky Experiences and £65 for each of the Inverness, Oban, Perth and Speyside Whisky Experiences, with special offers for those who want to attend a number of Experiences. To find out more just visit

21 Jul 09

BenRiach Issues Limited Release Batch Six

The BenRiach Distillery Company has selected nine vintages for its sixth limited release batch.

They range from a 38-year-old from 1970 to a 14-year-old from 1994 and will be bottled towards the end of July.

Regional Sales Director Alistair Walker said: This is the sixth batch of BenRiach limited release single cask bottlings. Batch 1 was released in 2004 shortly after we took over the distillery and we have released a batch every year since. As a result, over the last five years these have built up quite a following.

Batch Six includes classic Speyside styles and heavily peated BenRiachs, various wood finishes (Pedro Ximinez, Tawny Port, Gaja Barolo), and a very unusual 1977 (cask 3798) that has been matured exclusively in Virgin American Oak for thirty-one years.

Alistair added: In terms of age and style, the range reflects the breadth and depth of whiskies maturing in our five dunnage warehouse in the Heart of Speyside. Each will be bottled at cask strength, with natural colour and non chill filtered. Bottles will be individually numbered by hand, and will be housed in a gift tube.?

Batch Six is being marketed in fifteen countries worldwide, with shipments scheduled to the UK, Europe, South Africa, Asia and New Zealand.

The full cask list is as follows:

1970 cask # 1035 / 38YO / Pedro Ximinez Sherry Finish
1975 cask # 4450 / 33YO / Peated / Tawny Port Finish
1977 cask # 3798 / 31YO / Full maturation in Virgin Oak
1978 cask # 4414 / 31YO / Gaja Barolo Finish
1978 cask # 7772 # 30YO / Classic Speyside
1984 cask # 1048 / 24YO / Peated / Pedro Ximinez Sherry Finish
1988 cask # 4424 / 20YO / Gaja Barolo Finish
1990 cask # 970 / 19YO / Classic Speyside
1994 cask # 105100 / 14YO / Classic Speyside
All our experience, distilled into one collection
The Macallan 1824 Collection is a new family of single malts from The Macallan. Developed exclusively for the brand’s third largest market - Global Travel Retail -where it has been the fastest growing major Single Malt in the last five years and is currently ranked number two by volume.
The Collection is available in all key Travel Retail outlets in the Americas and Europe and has just been launched in Asia at Singapore airport. The Select Oak expression has secured listings onboard a number of airlines including Air Canada, Delta, American Airlines and Continental.
The 1824 Collection of four expressions – Select Oak, Whisky Maker’s Edition, Estate Reserve and 1824 Limited Release – offers the ultimate flavour journey for whisky lovers. Recommended retail prices range from 46 to 1,450 euros.
The 1824 Collection has been created by John Ramsay, Master Whisky Maker for parent company The Edrington Group, and Bob Dalgarno, The Macallan’s Whisky Maker; who between them have over 50 years of experience of making whisky. They have been inspired by the distillery’s long history and rich traditions to create a very special range of Single Malts, selecting the best casks at the peak of their maturity in order to achieve the fullest and most complex whisky.
Each expression illustrates a particular story about The Macallan’s long and distinguished history and showcases the spectrum of flavours and aromas associated with The Macallan, the world’s most iconic whisky.
William Ovens, The Edrington Group’s Area Director, Global Travel Retail, comments: “The Macallan has enjoyed the most dynamic growth of any Single Malt in Travel Retail in recent years. In this period we have experienced significant success with some very innovative new products. The 1824 Collection opens a new chapter in the illustrious history of The Macallan and we are confident that consumers will react positively to this exclusive and eye catching new range.
“The four expressions in the Collection have been positively embraced by whisky experts and connoisseurs. In fact the Collection is the highest scoring new product range ever released by The Macallan. Whisky Expert and author of The Whisky Bible, Jim Murray has given Select Oak a score of 94.5% and the 1824 Limited Release Decanter a score of 97.5%, describing it as ‘a lifetime great whisky’.”
The range is on shelf now with the 1824 Limited Release decanter on sale from October 2009.
Kilchoman Distillery, the first built on Islay for nearly 100 years, will release its eagerly anticipated inaugural single malt whisky on the 9th September 2009. Initially bottles will be allocated to 14 key malt markets worldwide as well being available from the distillery shop and via the on-line shop.
Production started in late 2005 and annual production is between 90,000 and 100,000 litres of alcohol; 30% of the spirit is distilled from barley grown and malted at the distillery and the balance comes from the Port Ellen Maltings on the island. The two malts are kept separate during distilling and Kilchoman will release two different expressions of single malt. The majority of maturation (80%) is in fresh bourbon barrels from Buffalo Trace and the remaining 20% in fresh Oloroso sherry butts.
Anticipation of the release has been growing since a bottle from the first cask filled at the distillery was auctioned during Kilchoman’s open day during Feis Ile, the whisky festival in May 2009. A number of collectors and whisky enthusiasts were present for the auction and the bottle eventually sold for £5,400.
The malt has been matured in fresh bourbon barrels and finished for six months in Oloroso sherry butts. In order to maximise flavour and texture, the single malt whisky will be bottled at 46% ABV at natural colour and non chill-filtered.
Tasting notes from Kilchoman Single Malt, 46% from Dr Jim Swan:
“Peat smoke and caramel toffee drizzled with rich fruits.
On the nose Kilchoman begins with strong peaty aromas. While many Islay malts are either wood smoke or medicinal or many variations on the theme, Kilchoman has them all. Initial peat smoke reveals an underlying clean medicinal character but rich dark fruits and light citrus lemon and orange follow on. Finally hints of creamy caramel toffees and sultanas fight their way through this complex whisky.
In the mouth this single malt is remarkably viscous and the peat smoke has to share its flavour with dark fruits, sultanas and creamy toffee in the mid palate. Kilchoman has a long finish, eventually the peat recovers, leaving a clean lingering aftertaste long after swallowing.”
The recommended retail price is £37.00 per bottle.
Anthony Wills, the founder and managing director began the project in the summer of 2001. The company is privately owned with 30 private investors. Wills has worked in the drinks industry for 32 years, firstly in the wine trade, and since moving to Scotland in 1995 he has been involved in the sales and marketing of malt whisky.
Wills commented: “the release of our first single malt is the culmination of a huge amount of hard work and we have strived to produce top quality spirit and fill into top quality wood. The reaction to the various releases of our spirit has been very encouraging and everyone connected with Kilchoman is looking forward to sharing our malt with whisky enthusiasts around the world.”
Kilchoman Distillery will celebrate the launch of the single malt by holding a party at the distillery.
Hazelburn 12 Y/O Springbank 2001 Vintage
We have an upcoming release of Hazelburn 12 Y/O and Springbank 2001 vintage 2001 - waiting on the final details before we send out an e mail to all those who have expressed and interest. If you are interested, and have not asked for details, please let me know.

Peter Currie will be in the London shop at 26 Chiltern Street on Wednesday, 22nd July with some of the Hazelburn 12 and Springbank 2001 vintage from 11.00 am until 7.00 pm, so if you can manage to come along for a taste, you will be very welcome.


Nose: Malty, summer fruits. Hints of citrus; lemon meringue pie. Buttery toffee, confectionary and just a hint of spice.
Palate: Wow! What an excellent burst of flavour. Rich and creamy. Honey, vanilla, butterscotch sauce and tropical fruits.
Finish: Smooth with slight hints of smoke and salt. Is this whisky really only eight years old? The small cask maturation has given the whisky a maturity and wisdom well beyond its years.

Availability: Beginning of August, Worldwide but limited

Cost: £38.00 plus p&p


Nose: Incredibly rich, the influence of the sherry casks is immediately apparent. Sweet and chocolatey, there are also notes of apricot, orange marmalade, almonds and marzipan.
Palate: Malty, fruity and elegant. A very well-balanced and rounded dram with hints of oak, figs and nuts.
Finish: A long, lingering fruity sweetness.

AVAILABILITY: Beginning of August: Worldwide but Limited

COST: £42.50 plus p&p

To see Frank McHardy and hear him speaking about Kilkerran, Longrow, Springbank, Longrow CV go to:

The 146th Perth Show – one of the highlights of the agricultural calendar - takes place on Friday 31st July and Saturday 1st August at South Inch, with organisers expecting a record number of entries. The show’s longest running sponsor, The Famous Grouse, Scotland’s number one whisky, is once again proud to support the event alongside Binn Skips, Bank of Scotland, Radio Tay, Clark Thomson, Insurance Brokers and Kilmac Construction.
The Famous Grouse Experience will host an exhibitor’s stand at the show, which this year will be promoting The Black Grouse whisky and its important partnership with the RSPB (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds) helping to save the black grouse, one of the UK’s rarest birds.
The Famous Grouse will also provide a bottle of The Black Grouse to each of the Saturday section champion winners. The Black Grouse is a blend of The Famous Grouse with Islay whiskies to create a smoky, peaty whisky and for every bottle sold 50p is donated to the RSPB to help save its namesake.
Neil Forbes, secretary, Perth Show, said: “Perth Show is an unmissable day out, attracting record numbers of visitors each year. It is one of the biggest outdoor events in the Fair City and will feature a whole host of entertainment, trade stands and crafts from across Scotland, as well as a top class agriculture show on both days in the main ring.”
Beth McMillan, marketing manager, The Famous Grouse Experience, said: “As a local business, The Famous Grouse is proud to renew our sponsorship again this year and believe it is important we continue to support local events.”

19 Jul 09

The value of the whisky industry to Scotland is being questioned

By William Lyons
ON the banks of the Forth-Clyde canal just outside the small town of Falkirk lies the empty shell of Rosebank distillery. Closed for more than 15 years it is still affectionally referred to among Scotch whisky enthusiasts as the "Queen of the Lowlands".
Despite its unique character, Rosebank was one of four distilleries closed in 1993 by United Distillers, now Diageo, as part of a review of its Lowland operations. It failed to make it into Diageo's Classic Malt range and was moth-balled after it was decided to retain the more picturesque distillery Glenkinchie

A few summers ago as part of an "open doors" weekend a handful of visitors were allowed inside.

"Part of me wishes they had kept the doors closed as it was a sad sight," says one. "Any hope of a resurrection in its present form has long gone I fear ... it was very sad to see the place like that."

In whisky circles there is still talk of reopening the 169-year-old distillery and reviving "the spirit of Rosebank", but it seems unlikely. This week, as the row over Diageo's decision to close its Kilmarnock plant and shut its Port Dundas distillery in Glasgow rumbles on, the recent history of Rosebank becomes ever more pertinent.

Alex Salmond, the First Minister, has already signed a petition against the closures and has pledged to join a protest march being organised by the local council for later this month. As Diageo prepares to mount its defence, industry insiders are beginning to ask whether the relationship between the Scotch whisky industry and the country in which it is produced in is reaching breaking point.

"The bad publicity surrounding Diageo isn't helping," says Mark Reynier, owner of Bruichladdich distillery on Islay. "We keep hearing about efficiencies and cost savings and I can understand these decisions, but it is a legitimate question to ask where are we going with this? Are we (the Scotch whisky industry] going to follow the model of the beer industry and refocus the business around a tiny number of mega breweries? If that is the case then look what happened to regional brewers – they have all but disappeared. It's not too far-fetched to imagine Scotland ending up like Ireland with just a handful of whisky distilleries.

"We keep hearing from the Scotch Whisky Association about the number of jobs the industry supports and the amount of revenue it generates, but nobody asks the question, what does Scotland get out of the whisky industry? The reality is, not a lot."

It is this very question that senior sources have told Scotland on Sunday is vexing economists and policy makers. Figures from the Scotch Whisky Association show that the industry supports 10,000 jobs in Scotland with a further 30,000 relying on it as farmers, suppliers and distributors. In the UK it is one of the top five manufacturing earners with annual export revenues in excess of £2.8 billion. The SWA points to the fact that more than £800 million a year is generated for the government in excise and duty and VAT while tax accounts for more than 70 per cent of the retail price of a typical bottle of Scotch whisky.

But sources close to the industry argue that most of the tax is passed on to the consumer and not paid by the distillers.

One source says: "Nearly 90 per cent of Scotch is exported overseas so the tax is raised overseas. I keep hearing about how high the duty is on a bottle of Scotch but that cost is passed on to the consumer. The industry is very happy to exploit the Scottish-ness of their product but when it suits them they are also happy to move the value added part of the industry, packaging and bottling, out of the country."

Already between 15 per cent and 20 per cent of Scotch whisky is bottled overseas. Whyte & Mackay has recently commenced bottling for domestic Indian consumption at its plant in Maharashtra, western India, and analysts say there could be more.

Brian Donaghey, the managing director of Diageo Scotland, has insisted the company is committed to keeping jobs north of the Border but he has also argued that bottling could be moved outside of the country.

"Scotch has to be distilled and matured in Scotland, but it doesn't have to be bottled in Scotland," he says, arguing that Diageo faces pressures to export in bulk and package somewhere near the local market.

And Des Browne, the former defence secretary and Labour MP for Kilmarnock and Loudoun, has also warned that he believes the industry may be seeking to loosen its ties with Scotland and to transfer packaging and bottling overseas.

"If the industry is allowed, by this decision, to break the link between Johnnie Walker, the biggest volume seller and best-known Scotch whisky in the world, and its roots in Kilmarnock, I predict we will see, within my lifetime, the breakage of the link between the packaging and the marketing of Scotch whisky wholesale and Scotland itself," he said.

One area that might be a possible source of revenue is water. The Scotch whisky industry is reliant on water. It uses water for both the production of whisky, around a third of a bottle is made up of water, and cooling its stills.

The Scottish Environment Protection agency (Sepa) has already started the process of charging for water but in June it opened a consultation with the industry to amend its fees and charges.

According to Sepa, the focus of the consultation is to "further develop the risk-based approach to charging and to ensure that efficiencies in the way Sepa undertakes its work are passed on to stakeholders."

While nobody is suggesting that the cost of water could rise dramatically, there are rumours of a "water tax" designed specifically to extract more revenue from the Scotch whisky industry.

Sepa has denied this, but if it was implemented, one distillery owner says, its impact would be "catastrophic". He says: "This is just another example of the nonsense that is swimming about within the whisky industry just now. Here is an industry that is integral not just to the Scottish economy but to the UK economy as a whole and people in this country just don't get it.

"It's an absolute absurdity. How we can go around the world asking other markets to reduce the level of taxation when our own politicians are looking at increasing the tax, it is absolutely crazy."

Leonard Russell, the owner of Glengoyne distillery, says any future tax rises would have to be passed on to the consumer to safeguard the viability of the industry.

He says: "The industry would simply pass on the extra cost to the consumer. The reality is that the more tax you levy on the Scotch whisky industry the result will be that the larger companies will look to move their profits offshore.

"This is a centuries old industry that is very reliant on water. We create huge amounts of export revenue which helps keep the UK's balance of payments in check. Why tax the goose that lays the golden egg? I find it very upsetting."

The move would also come at a time when the industry is beginning to feel the pressure from the economic downturn. Exports of Scotch have grown from £2.37bn in 2005 to £3.2bn last year but since the credit crisis, Scotch has started to feel the chill winds of the global downturn.

The Spanish and Russian markets have been particularly hard hit, as have duty-free sales. There are also signs of big drops in demand for high-value Scotch favoured in Asia, and there is evidence that other markets, including America, are trading down.

As a spokesman for the SWA says: "This industry has invested more than £500m in Scotland in the last five years. Where that investment has involved the construction or upgrade of distilleries where possible we have used local businesses. The industry generates £800m of salaries in Scotland and £1.3bn in the UK.

"We spend almost £700m on local goods and services in Scotland and more than £1bn in the UK. More than £100m is spent on purchasing cereals in Scotland while distillery visitor centres attract 1.2 million visitors a year. It's about time people started realising just how much the industry does for this country."

17 Jul 09

The new owners of GlenDronach Distillery have selected five vintages for their first series of single cask bottlings since taking over the distillery last year.


In Batch One they have singled out malts from 1971, 1972, 1992, 1993 and 1996 in ages ranging from 38 to 13 years old.


All five are in the traditional GlenDronach style  richly sherried, from Oloroso Sherry Butts - and are being bottled this month.


Regional Sales Director Alistair Walker said: Dating back to 1826, there have been few if any single cask bottlings from GlenDronach, so the launch of Single Cask Batch One is particularly significant and will be welcomed by our customers.


We will repeat this exercise each year, hand-selecting a small number of the very best casks from the distillery warehouses to release as Single Cask bottlings.


Alistair added: Each will be bottled at cask strength, at natural colour and non chill filtered. Bottles will be individually numbered by hand and will be housed in a deluxe gift box.


Batch One is being marketed in fifteen countries worldwide, with shipments to the UK, Europe, South Africa, Asia and New Zealand scheduled for the first week of August.


The full cask list is:


1971 cask 483, 38 years old, 49.4%

1972 cask 719, 37 years old, 54.8%

1992 cask 1140, 16 years old, 57.2%

1993 cask 523, 16 years old, 60.4%

1996 cask 193, 13 years old, 59.4%



17 Jul 09 Johnnie Walker's: Old whisky wagon to head up parade
Jul 17 2009 by Ian Russell, Kilmarnock Standard
A VINTAGE Johnnie Walker lorry will take pride of place at the head of thousands of marchers in the protest parade through Kilmarnock on Sunday, July 26.
The Keep Striding Forward march will feature Frank MacDougall’s classic 1959 Albion Victor flatbed lorry at the front of the huge procession through the town.
Frank, 70, from Moscow, bought the old lorry – by then a wreck – from the drinks company for £10 (plus VAT!) in 1981 and then spent 20 years lovingly restoring it to its present gleaming green machine status, with full Johnnie Walker livery.
Formerly used to transport whisky from Hill Street to Barleith, its load next week will be huge advertising boards pledging support for the workers.
The former lorry driver, who also worked for Massey Ferguson, in its time another of the town’s biggest employers, was only too willing when asked to lead off the march in his vintage Victor, which he now takes to shows around the country.
The march itself will start from the Howard Park at 1pm with musical entertainment in the park from noon. The marchers will then head up John Finnie Street and under the arches at the railway station to Hill Street where they will march past the closure-threatened Johnnie Walker factory.
Next the throng will go along Witch Road, and down Dean Lane onto Strawberrybank Road finishing at the Kay Park at around 2.30pm with the mass rally.
The rally in the park will feature more entertainment for all the family including music, face-painting, and bouncy castles, with refreshments available.
East Ayrshire Council will provide small handheld flags, badges, stickers and placards for the march. But if you want to make your own placard before the big day the council will have available two colour posters per person from offices and libraries.
Parking for the rally will be inside the grounds of Rugby Park, at the former Safeway site and at St Joseph’s Academy.
The council is asking people not to park in the vicinity of Kay Park and, with various roads not available to vehicles during the parade, including Fowlds Street, St Marnock Street, John Finnie Street and West George Street, to seek alternative routes and to park responsibly wherever they leave their ca
17 Jul 09


THE LARBERT-BASED Benriach Distillery Company is celebrating after winning an impressive ten top awards in the prestigious 2009 International Wine and Spirits Competition.

Founded in 1969, The International Wine and Spirit Competition is the premier competition of its kind in the world. Its aim is to promote the quality and excellence of the world's finest wines, spirits and liqueurs.

IWSC medals and trophies are the most highly regarded in the trade, representing the best of the best in the world of wine and spirits.

The Competition received more than 7000 entries from over 80 countries.

In results published today (July 16), the company entered 10 whiskies from both its BenRiach and GlenDronach brands, and won 10 medals:  1 Gold, 8 Silver and 1 Bronze.

GlenDronach has four expressions and all four won medals including a Gold and Best in Class for its 15 year-old Revival while B enRiach won a further six awards including two Silver and Best in Class.

The companys awards were:

GlenDronach Medals

Gold   Best in Class                GlenDronach 15YO Revival

Silver  Best in Class                GlenDronach 33YO

Silver                                      GlenDronach 12YO Original (new 2009 version)

Silver                                      GlenDronach 18YO Allardice

BenRiach Medals

Silver  Best in Class                 BenRiach Maderensis Fumosus 13YO Peated / Madeira Finish

Silver  Best in Class                 BenRiach 16YO

Silver                                      BenRiach 12YO

Silver                                      BenRiach Curiositas 10YO Peated

Silver                                      BenRiach Authenticus 21YO Peated

Bronze                                   BenRiach 15YO Dark Rum Finish          

The judges Tasting Notes for the GlenDronach 15 year old Revival commented: Great concentration of complex aromas on the nose including treacle toffee, chocolate, orange, toasted nuts and vanilla. Great depth in the mouth, with all the nose promised, plus some Demerara sugar, sweet malt and lots of toast. Great balance with firm tightness which is offset to a degree by lots of mellow notes. Long finish has distinct gingery note.

09 Jul 09

Salmond 'snubs' Diageo chief to go on TV show

Alex Salmond: 'outrageous behaviour'.
THE First Minister has been accused of turning his back on Scottish workers after he cancelled a crisis meeting over the loss of 900 Johnnie Walker jobs to appear on a political chat show.
Alex Salmond missed the chance to hold his first face-to-face meeting with Diageo chief executive Paul Walsh by appearing on the Daily Politics show on BBC2 yesterday. During the 90-minute lunchtime programme, in which he was the "guest of the day", he commented on Prime Minister's Questions and selected the winner of a raffle competition.

Mr Walsh had agreed to find a space in his diary before flying to China after a request from the First Minister's office yesterday morning. It is understood he learned the meeting would not take place only 15 minutes before it was due to start.

Diageo last week announced controversial proposals that could mean 900 workers losing their jobs at the Johnnie Walker packaging plant in Kilmarnock and the Port Dundas grain distillery in Glasgow.

Unite Scottish regional secretary John Quigley said: "Alex Salmond has snubbed Scotland. Nine hundred jobs are on the line and a Scottish community faces devastation. Alex Salmond, the self-professed Scottish Nationalist, has turned his back on Scottish workers, Scottish communities and the company to take part in a television raffle.

"This is outrageous behaviour. Diageo's site in Kilmarnock has been in existence since 1820, it has a proud history, and these workers deserve a real First Minister who is prepared to fight their corner."

Scottish Labour leader Iain Gray accused Mr Salmond of "political grandstanding", while others claimed he could have undermined a cross-party campaign – launched only a day earlier – to save 700 jobs at the bottling plant in Kilmarnock and 200 in Glasgow, mostly at Port Dundas.

Campaigners have warned that the future of Scotland's entire whisky industry is at stake if such a major player as Diageo begins moves to carry out bottling outwith Scotland.

The controversy over the First Minister deflected attention from Diageo, which Harriet Harman, standing in for Gordon Brown at Prime Minister's Questions, criticised for delivering a "body blow" to Kilmarnock by seeking to sever links with the Ayrshire town that date to 1820.

It also overshadowed Mr Salmond's insistence that he was prepared to use public money to incentivise Diageo to maintain a base in Kilmarnock, and a suggestion from Scottish Secretary Jim Murphy of building Diageo a state-of-the-art bottling plant on a greenfield site in the town.

Seven parliamentary question have been tabled at Holyrood, asking Mr Salmond to account for his actions.

His aides embarked on a damage-limitation exercise, claiming Mr Salmond found out about the opportunity to meet Mr Walsh as he was about to go on air. After initial questions about the incident were raised by The Scotsman, Mr Salmond's aides took three hours to provide an explanation. They claimed his private office had called Diageo after learning Mr Walsh was meeting Mr Murphy – having mistakenly believed the Diageo boss was already in China – to arrange an impromptu meeting. This was said to have been done without Mr Salmond's knowledge. Mr Walsh instead met the SNP's Westminster leader, Angus Robertson.

A meeting has now been set for 22 July, at which Mr Salmond is expected to present options to entice Diageo to stay in Kilmarnock.

The incident has fuelled long-standing criticisms of Mr Salmond – that he is fond of the media limelight, is less enthusiastic about the hard graft of solving complicated issues and finds it easier to provide a soundbite or attend a picture opportunity than answer tough questions.

Mr Gray said: "There are 900 jobs at stake and there is just no place for political grandstanding by Alex Salmond. If he was so keen to meet the Diageo chief executive, he should have fulfilled the appointment instead of sending along someone else.

"It would seem Alex Salmond thought he had got a better offer to appear on television and took that, instead of lobbying on behalf of Diageo workers in Kilmarnock and Glasgow. It is obvious what his priorities are, and not the choice a First Minister should make."

At a Westminster press conference yesterday morning, Mr Salmond accepted that the possible loss of 700 jobs at Kilmarnock would be "cataclysmic" to Ayrshire's economy and Scotland as a whole.

The First Minister, who had spoken to Mr Walsh by phone when Diageo announced its restructuring plans a week ago, said: "Diageo have agreed to consider alternatives being put forward by the joint campaign. We are confident we can present an extremely strong case."

In a statement yesterday, Diageo said: "We can confirm that this morning there was a possibility that we could co-ordinate the diaries of both the First Minister and Paul Walsh to schedule a face-to-face meeting in London. Unfortunately, we were unable to make this happen and instead had a productive meeting with Angus Robertson, MP.

"When Paul Walsh returns from Asia, there will be a meeting with the First Minister to discuss the business rationale behind Diageo's proposed restructuring of its operations in Scotland, by which time the First Minister will have had an opportunity to consider constructive alternatives to the proposals."

Petition to save historic whisky plant signed by 8,000

MORE than 8,000 people have signed petitions demanding that Diageo maintains its historic links with Kilmarnock.

They have demanded that the firm rethinks plans to close its bottling plant.

John Walker first began selling whisky in the town in 1820. Plans are being made to lose one of three bottling plants in Scotland, with Leven in Fife the favourite to survive.

The petition has been led by Kilmarnock Football Club and the town's SNP MSP, Willie Coffey, while campaign posters illustrated by local a cartoonist have been put in shop and house windows across the town.

A paper petition has gathered more than 2,000 signatures while an e-petition has gathered more than 6,000, including some from Australia, Dubai, Canada and the US.

Meanwhile, a Facebook group has attracted more than 2,200 members.

Mr Coffey said: "The whole community has got behind the campaign – no wonder when 700 jobs are at risk and whole families could see their livelihoods devastated. People are shocked at Diageo's disregard for this world-renowned whisky." Source:

08 Jul 09

AIRDRIE, SCOTLAND/NEW YORK, N.Y., June 16, 2009 -- In a move to strengthen its commitment to the U.S. marketplace, International
Beverage (InterBev), a wholly owned subsidiary of the $2.6 billion publicly traded leading alcohol beverage producer Thai Bev, today announced it has assigned its Speyburn and Old Pulteney brands to
International Beverage USA (InterBev USA), its New York City subsidiary.
InterBev USA takes the reins of the Scotland-based Inver House Distillers portfolio in the U.S. effective Aug. 1, 2009.

After investigating various options, the company’s U.S. subsidiary emerged as the most logical choice to manage growth of Inver House Distillers brands in the USA. InterBev USA, which imports and markets
Chang Beer and Mekhong -- The Spirit of Thailand, is well positioned to grow the Inver House Distillers portfolio and take on additional products produced by Thai Bev.

“Having the Inver House Distillers portfolio under InterBev USA will allow us to manage our brands more effectively in the states and provides us with more focus and commitment to building our relationships with our trade partners and consumers,” said International Beverage president Barrie Jackson. “We established the regional headquarters in 2006 as a long-term investment in the U.S. market, and that has begun to pay dividends with the success of our Chang Beer brand and more recently
Mekhong. Placing Inver House Distillers brands with our U.S. subsidiary underscores the commitment to strengthening our position in this important marketplace.

“InterBev USA is now well established with a highly skilled team of spirits professionals and we expect to take full advantage of its strong relationships in core markets to grow our Speyburn and Old Pulteney
business as well as introduce other Inver House Distillers and InterBev brands that will be exported to the U.S. in due course,” said Jackson.

John Lennon, president of InterBev USA, said he is delighted to have Inver House Distillers brands in the company’s portfolio and has already begun working on a seamless transition with Constellation Wines US, which currently imports the Inver House Distillers brands.

“We are excited and honored to be stewards of the multi-award winning Inver House Distillers portfolio and to be working with the ‘International Distiller of the Year,” said Lennon. “There is a tremendous opportunity to build on the success of Speyburn and Old Pulteney here in the U.S. and introduce other Inver House Distillers brands into the marketplace. We will be making a sizeable investment in resources to ensure our success with these brands and will work closely with our trade partners to make the transition as smooth as possible.”

07 Jul 09

GLANN AR MOR Single Malt whisky released by unique seaside artisan distillery

It shares with its Scottish and Irish cousins its Celtic identity, as well as its time proven skill tradition of making pot still whisky. Yet, the similarities stop here for GLANN AR MOR, a seaside artisan distillery situated on the Northern coast of Brittany.

The combination of direct-fire for the two small onion shaped pot stills, worm tubs condensers, wooden washbacks, long fermentation and the ultra slow distillation makes it unique amongst whisky distilleries.

In traditional Breton language, the name "GLANN AR MOR" means literally "By the Sea". The maturation directly benefits from the mild maritime climate, making life not too easy for the local Angels. Hard at work 365 days a year with no rest in winter, they take an unusually high "Angel Share" of the maturing spirit. The price to pay is costly with a well above average volume of whisky evaporating in the Breton sky every year, but this allows in return a particularly efficient and qualitative maturation of the Single Malt.

GLANN AR MOR already received several promising reviews, in particular a Silver "Whisky Magazine Recommended" award by the famous eponym magazine. Something quite unusual for a 3 YO Single Malt, the famous journalist Dave Broom concluding his tasting notes by "Amazingly good for its age. Great Spirit. This is one to watch".

The distillery uses first fill Bourbon barrels and ex Sauternes casks for maturing its Single Malt whiskies. The first 305 bottles of the un-peated expression, bottled from a single Bourbon barrel at 46% without chill filtration nor caramel coloring, made their way to a few European countries and sold out within a fortnight.

November 2009 will see the release of the second bottling of GLANN AR MOR from a dozen of casks, with the launching of the new peated expression distilled from 35 PPM malt complementing the first un-peated expression. Beside France, Germany, Netherlands, United Kingdom, Sweden and Switzerland, availability will on this occasion be extended to Japan and Canada.

Currently working at partial capacity, GLANN AR MOR will progressively reach its nominal potential equivalent to 50.000 bottles per year. Created and owned by Martine and Jean Donnay, it is very much a family and artisan distillery keen on its very traditional process. It comes as no surprise to find that each bottle is signed as being "Made with a live flame and passion".

07 Jul 09

The planned restructuring follows a major review looking at how Diageo can best ensure the long-term sustainability of its operations in Scotland in the current economic conditions. The resulting plans – backed by a £100 million investment – will mean an overall reduction of up to 500 jobs in Scotland. The closure of Diageo sites in Kilmarnock and at Port Dundas in Glasgow will lead to the loss of up to 900 jobs over the next two years while around 400 new jobs will be created through the expansion of a packaging plant in Fife. A new coopering centre will be created in Clackmannanshire. There would be no compulsory redundancies at impacted sites for 12 months. These plans – for implementation over the next two years – will be an important part of securing the long-term competitiveness of Diageo’s Scottish business and, by retaining all existing production activities in Scotland, underpin the company’s continuing commitment to Scotland. The detailed outcome of the review proposes the following: • Consolidation of packaging operations from three sites to two. This would result in the closure of the Kilmarnock Packaging Plant in Ayrshire over a two-year period with the loss of approximately 700 jobs by the end of 2011. To maintain its competitiveness Diageo would concentrate investment on two locations in Glasgow and Fife. The Kilmarnock plant faces infrastructure limitations and Diageo believes that investing in the two other sites will ensure a sustainable future for its Scottish packaging operations. · An £86 million investment to expand the Leven Packaging Plant in Fife. This would include the construction – subject to planning approval — of a new packaging hall to open in mid-2011 and the creation of approximately 400 new jobs. The company hopes that a number of these jobs would be taken by employees transferring from Kilmarnock. • The Shieldhall Packaging Plant in Glasgow would receive a further £3 million investment on top of the £15 million invested in the plant over recent years. This investment, along with some changes in working practices, would result in the loss of 30 jobs at the site. • The closure of Port Dundas Distillery in Glasgow and the adjacent Dundashill Cooperage. These plans would result in a loss of up to 140 jobs although it is hoped that some employees would relocate to a new cooperage in Central Scotland. Diageo believes its long-term grain whisky requirements can be best met through continued expansion of the Cameronbridge Distillery in Fife. Cameronbridge has already received £40 million investment in the last two years. In addition, a £65 million investment announced last year – believed to be the largest ever by a private company outwith the utilities industry – will create a bioenergy facility that will ensure Cameronbridge meets the highest environmental standards. • Relocation of approximately 80 office-based employees from Dundas House in Glasgow to another location in Central Scotland over the next two years. • A new £9 million cooperage to be built at Diageo’s existing site at Cambus near Alloa by summer 2011. Diageo’s nearby Carsebridge Cooperage would be closed. The relocation of around 40 roles from Carsebridge Cooperage to Cambus, together with some roles relocating from Dundashill Cooperage, would bring the total number of jobs at the new Cambus Cooperage to about 70.

Source: The whisky channel

07 Jul 09


The Edrington Group's results for the 12 months ended 31st March, 2009 are:


* Group turnover UP 44.0% at £419.9m (2008: £291.5m)
* Profit before tax (excluding exceptional items) UP 30.5% to £94.8m (2008: £72.6m)
* Shareholders' earnings (excluding exceptional items) UP 12.5% to £41.4m (2008: £36.8m)
* Dividend UP 6.3% to 18.6p (2008: 17.5p)

Premium Authentic Brands
Our premium international spirits comprising The Famous Grouse, The Macallan, Brugal, Highland Park and Cutty Sark continue to show positive trends with the focus on growing value ahead of volume through premiumisation and innovation. The growth of our brands has been supported by strong operational delivery, prudent financial management and favourable currency movements.

The Famous Grouse continued its impressive track record by continuing to grow value faster than volume during the year. It is now the No. 1 blended whisky in the UK (after 29 years as the clear market leader in Scotland) and continues to enjoy leading positions in a number of international markets targeted for growth. The premiumisation of the brand has been further enhanced by the successful development of The Black Grouse, a slightly peatier and smokier version of our flagship whisky expression, and the introduction of Snow Grouse, the first Scotch whisky specially created to be served straight from the freezer, into global travel retail.

The Macallan confirmed its position as the leading premium malt Scotch whisky with a further significant increase in contribution. The growth is driven by the success of its premium offerings and its strong market position. Fine Oak now represents over 25% of total brand sales and the new

1824 range was successfully introduced to global travel retail during the year. Our investment behind the long term future of the brand continues with the reopening of the second stillhouse and completion of two new maturation warehouses at a total investment of £17.7 million.

Brugal golden rum has added a new and exciting dimension to our portfolio of premium authentic brands. It broadens the appeal of our portfolio to new consumers, markets and drinking occasions. It is the leading spirits brand in the Dominican Republic with a dominant market share of over 80%. It continues to grow in Spain, its largest international market, where the golden rum category remains in growth, despite a significant slow down in the Spanish economy. Our sales in the past year were disrupted by the actions of the previous distributor, however, we are now confident that Maxxium Espana is well placed to optimise the long term potential of Brugal and overcome the present market challenges.

During the year we have introduced Brugal to a number of international markets, including the UK and Nordics, and our priority is to premiumise the brand in this exciting growth category.

Highland Park has recorded another successful year and grown contribution and volume across a range of markets. We have extended the portfolio to include a 40-year-old offering and the brand continues to receive many accolades and awards within the spirits industry.

Cutty Sark has faced a difficult trading environment as many of its key markets reach maturity and are caught in the middle of the economic slow down. Together with our partners, Berry Bros & Rudd, we continue to invest in the brand equity as we seek to maintain market share and identify growth opportunities in new markets. The Glenrothes continues to show potential and we are working with our partners to identify new opportunities for development across a broader range of markets (...).

** 2009 figures include Brugal & Co. trading results for the first time. Source: Edrington group

17 Jun 09

Inver House Distillers buck economic downturn
By Gordon Robertson, Airdrie & Coatbridge Advertiser

AN AIRDRIE firm showed they had plenty of bottle by expanding their business despite the tough economic times.
Inver House Distillers recently announced another successful year of sales for their top whisky brands such as a Balblair and Old Pulteney.
Now the company has opened a new £1million bottling hall at their headquarters in Towers Road.
Ten full-time jobs were set up with a regional selective assistance grant from the Scottish Government.
The investment in the bottling hall continues parent company International Beverage’s commitment to having their Scottish base as its hub of “operating and marketing excellence”.
International Beverage which acts as the international arm of Asian firm ThaiBev, opened the bottling hall to “ensure continuity of supply, cost competitiveness and flexibility for their core brands”.
The bottling plant was opened by ThaiBev’s CEO, Thapana Sirivadhanabhakdi.
He said: “I am delighted to open the new bottling plant at our Scotch whisky headquarters here in Airdrie.
“The plant ensures that we can continue to provide our customers with quality, cost competitiveness and flexibility with core brands such as Balblair, anCnoc, Old Pulteney, Speyburn and Hankey Bannister.”
Lena Wilson, chief executive of Scottish Development International, which has worked closely with the company, said: “The opening of Inver House’s new facility in Airdrie and Thai Beverage’s confidence in Scotland is excellent news, particularly during this time of economic uncertainty.
“It is also a significant development for our growing food and drink industry, which has been identified as offering a real opportunity for Scotland’s economic growth.”

12 Jun 09

TAIWAN: Bros & Rudd targets Far East with Glenrothes
Source: editorial team

Bros & Rudd Spirits has launched two new Scotch whisky 'vintages' for the Far East market.

The Glenrothes Scotch 1988 Vintage is being introduced specifically for the Taiwan market and the Glenrothes 1998 Vintage for the Far East market, the company said today (12 June).

The 1988 Vintage will be distributed in other markets as the 1985 and 1987 Vintages sell out, Bros & Rudd Spirits said.

Ronnie Cox, brands heritage director, said: "With the passing of time, vintages from the 1970s and 1980s are inevitably becoming more and more endangered."

Following an initial launch in Taiwan at TWD$5,500 (US$167), The Glenrothes 1988 Vintage will become available globally in "limited quantities at similarly super-premium price points".

The Glenrothes 1998 Vintage will be distributed in domestic markets such as Taiwan, Singapore and China at NT$1500.

12 Jun 09

THE CANADIAN PRESS HALIFAX — A small Nova Scotia distillery has won a big battle against the Scotch Whisky Association.
Cape Breton’s Glenora Distilleries can now register its trademark Glen Breton whisky under the Trade Marks Act.
The Supreme Court of Canada has dismissed an application by the association to proceed with a third appeal of the registration of the name Glen Breton.
For nine years the fiercely protective SWA has argued that use of the name Glen would lead consumers to believe the product was made or bottled in Scotland.
Company president Lauchie MacLean says he has always believed that Glenora competed honourably for success in the very challenging marketplace of single malt whisky.
He says he hopes the Scotch Whisky Association, and its members, will accept the ruling and that there will be open communication going forward.

11 Jun 09 Diageo has released a new Clynelish, a 12-yo Clynelish matured in European cask and bottled at 46% for the Friends of Classic Malt. The price is 75 CHF (app. 50 euros).
09 Jun 09

Battle of the Glen continues, over drinks
By The Canadian Press

It appears the Scotch Whisky Association is not prepared to give up its fight over the labelling of a small Nova Scotia distillery’s single malt whisky.

It is now asking the Supreme Court of Canada for permission to appeal a lower court ruling that allows Cape Breton’s Glenora Distillers to call its product Glen Breton.

Glenora vice-president Bob Scott said it was disappointing to think that a trade mark battle that began nine years ago will continue.

"Glenora has by its perseverance in craft distilling and the quality of its single malt, now earned a respected position in the world," he said in a release.

"We believe that the decision of the Federal Court of Appeal was correct in approving the registration of Glen Breton as our trade mark, and it must be defended."

The association is fiercely protective of its product arguing that use of the word Glen might lead consumers to believe that Glenora’s whisky is distilled and matured in Scotland.

"On our part, we have openly offered co-operation as a better way to sustain fair competition in our marketplace," said Scott.

"However regrettable and wasteful this action of the Scotch Whisky Association may be, Glenora acknowledges that the Scotch Whisky Association does have the legal right to apply to the Supreme Court of Canada."

Glenora’s lawyer has been instructed to oppose the application and a formal response has already been filed with the Supreme Court of Canada. Glenora Distillers International Ltd., Canada’s only single malt whisky distillery, is based in Glenville, Inverness County.

’Glenora has by its perseverance in craft distilling and the quality of its single malt, now earned a respected position in the world.

03 Jun 09 Whisky firms to cut fossil fuel use

Scottish whisky companies have pledged to cut their use of fossil fuels by 80% over the next 40 years, under the first industry-wide environmental strategy.
The industry said it would mean an annual saving of over 750,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide by 2050. This would be the equivalent of taking 235,000 cars off Scotland's roads.
The Scotch Whisky Association said that cutting the reliance on fossil fuels is only one of a number of tough industry-wide targets.
31 May 09

Whyte & Mackay builds 13% share of Indian whisky market in five months

Published Date: 31 May 2009
By William Lyons
THE new chief executive of Whyte & Mackay has revealed that the Scotch firm has secured a significant slice of the world's largest whisky market in less than five months.
John Beard, who joined the company in March, said the distiller's range of whiskies had already notched up a 13 per cent share in India's single malt whisky sector since they were introduced at the start of the year.

Beard replaced Ashwin Malik, who has returned to India after helping to build Whyte & Mackay (W&M) following its £595 million acquisition in 2007 by Indian entrepreneur Vijay Mallya and his United Spirits group.

Speaking in his first major interview since taking the helm, Beard said the strategy was to reduce the firm's dependency on the UK market while growing market share in India and the US. Central to this is a rebranding of its Glayva liqueur in a move that will see it go head to head with rival Drambuie in America. Other W&M products include Whyte and Mackay blended whisky, The Dalmore and Jura malts and vodka brands Vladivar and Pinky.

He said: "The UK has some quite significant issues related to taxation and everyone seems determined to tax the category continuously and therefore we need to look internationally. To date we have been quite dependent on the UK but that dependency is reducing year by year.

"India is a hugely attractive whisky market for the future and we have a route to market through United Spirits which really is quite remarkable. It has 60 per cent of the market, so six out of ten bottles of spirits sold in India come out of our parent company.

"Already we have gained a 13% share of the malt whisky category which in time will be a very, very significant profit opportunity.

"If you compare India to China the interesting comparison is that China is not only about whisky but cognac whereas in India whisky is what consumers drink."

W&M made pre-tax profits of £25.58m during the 18 months to March 31, 2008, compared with losses of £2.19m in the previous year, according to its last reported results.

31 May 09

Scotch whisky industry criticised for not having enough ‘green’ bottle
Some renewable and recycling targets seen as ‘unnecessarily vague’By Steven Vass
THE SCOTTISH whisky industry will this week impose environmental targets on itself in an effort to improve its green credentials, but campaigners have criticised it for not going far enough.

The 11 targets to be set by industry body the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) include obtaining 20% of distillation boiler fuels, by far the biggest energy cost, from renewable sources by 2020, and 80% by 2050. Other targets for 2020 include reducing packaging by 10% and making 40% of it recycled, and sending no packaging waste to landfill.

The SWA also intends to ensure that all casks are made from sustainable oak, and will set out more general aims such as managing water usage, continuing to make the industry more energy efficient and encouraging distributors and other companies in the supply chain to adopt higher environmental standards.

Julie Hesketh-Laird, SWA director of operational and technical affairs, called the targets a "step change" for the industry. She said that it already had a good environmental record, having cut energy use per whisky litre by 14% in 10 years, for example. However, she said the industry intended to go further to help the Scottish government achieve its own aim of making all energy 20% renewable by 2020.

She said: "Because the industry is so closely tied to using cereals and water and manufacturing in Scotland, its environmental credentials are very much built in. But people don't just want us to comply. They want us to be exemplary."

Patrick Harvie, joint convener of the Scottish Green Party, welcomed the moves but said that they could have been "more ambitious" and were in some cases "unnecessarily vague". He said: "For example, the industry could move relatively easily to 100% recycled glass and cardboard for packaging, perhaps even by 2020, rather than merely aiming for a 40% target.

"With good use of local biomass and other renewables, we believe they could also replace at least 50% of their current fuel usage by 2020.

"On water usage, energy efficiency and shifting to sustainably-sourced oak casks, it would be a start just to set some practical targets, rather than the current vague aspirations."

Julie Hesketh-Laird said that targets such as 20% renewable fuel usage and 40% recycled packaging were intended to be "deliverable but stretching".

She said that some targets, such as those for water, were vague because the industry already had a good record in them but wanted to acknowledge their importance.

In response to concerns that the environmental records of other companies in the supply chain would be difficult to police, SWA government and public affairs director Campbell Adams said that the industry's Scottish manufacturing base meant that it was much more tied to working with local partners than other sectors such as food and clothing production.

28 May 09

First Bottle of Kilchoman Whisky from Cask No.1 Auctions for over £5000

A limited edition bottle of Kilchoman Distillery’s first ever single malt from cask number one, filled in December 2005, was sold at auction for a staggering £5,400. The winning bid was made by Niels Ladefoged, originally from Denmark and who lives in the UK. The bottle of the three year old single malt has a unique design and is the only one of its kind. All proceeds of the auction will go to Islay charities.

The bottle and its presentation was exclusively designed for the distillery. The bottle is contained in an attractive box that was hand made by Howard Proctor, who is also a member of Kilchoman’s production team, and features a watercolour on the label, painted by Nicola Wilks, an artist from Otter Ferry Argyll with three generations of family connections with Islay.

The auction took place at Kilchoman Distillery’s Open Day on Thursday 28th May at 12.30pm, during Feis Ile, the Islay Festival of Malt & Music. The week long island festival has helped raise further awareness of Kilchoman’s very first single malt that will be launched on 9th September this year.

Anthony Wills, Founder & Managing Director of Kilchoman Distillery said: “We are delighted with the winning bid and a huge congratulations to Niels Ladefoged. Our thanks go to all those, both local and international, who made their bids for such a wonderful piece of whisky history. The money raised from the auction will go to Islay charities. The response from our auction has been encouraging and we look forward to an exciting year ahead and the launch of our very first single malt.”

Niels Ladefoged said:”I am delighted to have secured the very first bottle of Kilchoman Whisky and even more so that the proceeds are going to local charities. I have been fortunate enough to come to the island for many years, and I think it is one of the most welcoming places in the world. I know how hard people work with the charities and it is an absolute honour to be able to help in a small way. I feel the first bottle exemplifies the enterpreneurial spirit of the island in general, and Anthony Wills and the Kilchoman project in particular.”

The much anticipated single malt has been getting seals of approval from a very young age. The one month old Kilchoman spirit has received a remarkable score of 94 out of 100 in Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible 2008, rating it as a “superstar whisky that gives us all a reason to live!” In April 2009, the two year old spirit sold out on the first day of the Limburg Whisky Fair in Germany.

Kilchoman Distillery prides itself in taking whisky back to its roots and is the first distillery to be built on Islay for 124 years. A visit to Kilchoman Distillery gives everyone the opportunity to see all that is best in the grass-roots traditions of malt whisky distilling – from barley to bottle. The distillery location, Rockside Farm is said to grow the best malting barley on the island.

25 May 09

Feis Ile 2009 Festival bottlings:
- Isle of Jura: Paps of Jura Whisky Collection: 3x 15 YO Isle of Jura whisky, £100 each
- Ardbeg: 2 Single casks: Ardbeg 1998/2009 from Toasted Cask 1189 54.0%, 252 b., and from cask 1190 54.7%, 282 bottles. £130 each
- Bowmore: Bowmore 9 YO, 900 bottles
- Bunnhabhain Moine Cask Strength
- Bruichladdich: Bruichladdich Oirthir Gaidheal 1993-2009, 16 YO, Sherry, 53.6%, cask 013, 50 cl
- Caol Ila 1996, Single Cask 12 YO Sherry. £69.99, 654 bottles
- Lagavulin 1995 Sherry Single Cask 54.4%,: £69.98, 660 bottles
- Laphroaig 12 YO Cairdeas 57.5%

24 May 09

o prevent Indian alcoholic beverage makers from labelling their products as 'Scotch Whisky', a UK trade association has applied for intellectual property rights in India for the premium product.

The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) has filed an application before the Indian authorities seeking to register Scotch Whisky as a 'geographical indication of origin' (GI) under the Indian GI Act.

GI denotes that a product is endemic to a particular area, where a given quality, reputation or other characteristic of the product is essentially attributable to its geographical origin.

"The SWA's application to register Scotch Whisky under the Indian GI Act was made in January 2009 and we would like to obtain the registration as soon as possible," SWA's Public Affairs Manager (Govt and Consumer Affairs) David Williamson said in an e-mail query.

The members of SWA account for more than 95 per cent of production and sales of Scotch Whisky.
According to the association, it has been "taking action for years to prevent the sale of many locally made products being 'passed off' as Scotch Whisky in India".

"It is hoped GI registration will support our efforts to protect Indian consumers from such imitations, as well as the integrity of Scotch Whisky from fake products," Williamson said.

In India, Scotch Whisky currently represents less than one per cent of the spirits market in the country.

Scotch Whisky is protected in UK law as a product that can only be made in Scotland. Further, it is also protected at European Union (EU) and World Trade Organisation (WTO) level as a recognised 'geographical indication'.

"These provisions are extremely important for the protection of the GI Scotch Whisky around the world," Williamson said.

India is a member of WTO's rules on intellectual property (Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property, or TRIPS) and as of its obligations, the country has passed its own GI Act, which contains a registration system, and the SWA is seeking registration of Scotch Whisky under the Act.

Apart from India, the SWA is also seeking GI tag in other countries, including Thailand and Vietnam.
"We are also currently seeking to register Scotch Whisky as a GI in a number of other markets, including Thailand and Vietnam," Williamson said.

The SWA eyes India as an important emerging market for the beverage and said that with the rise of demand for premium products in the country, there will be new opportunities for brand in the local market.

In 2008, Scotch Whisky exports to India were valued at 32 million pounds. Global exports of Scotch Whisky stood at 3.06 billion pounds, representing 25 per cent of the UK's total food and drink exports. Source;


Raise a Glass to New Whisky Website

Scotsman Whisky, which can be found at, was built in-house by's team of developers and aims to become a definitive source of information on Scotland's national drink.

Users of the site will find an interactive map featuring information on 93 of Scotland's distilleries alongside videos, a whisky blog, an events guide and articles and features written by The Scotsman Publication's expert team of whisky writers.

Stephen Emerson of said: "We felt there was a definite gap in the market for a professionally-produced site due to the huge interest in whisky both at home and abroad.

"We will continue to develop and add to the site with the aim of making it a one-stop-shop for all things whisky."

The site has been designed for both whisky drinkers and professionals alike.

"We believe the site will appeal to both professionals and those who simply who enjoy a dram", said Stephen Emerson.

"Our news sections will be updated with the latest industry news and will also include features detailing the history and colourful character of whisky."

To find out more about Scotsman Whisky email or contact 0131 620 8636.

19 May 09

By Jane Bradley
AN INCREASE in the price of whisky almost doubled annual profits last year for distiller Inver House, new accounts reveal.
The company behind brands including Old Pulteney, Balblair and Hankey Bannister, cheered a 96 per cent rise in pre-tax profits to £7.5 million.

Turnover dropped slightly – to £51.5m from £57.8m – but managing director Graham Stevenson said the slip was due to a reduction in bulk trading with industry partners.

Old Pulteney reported a 16 per cent uplift in sales, while sales of Balblair and Hankey Bannister grew by 23 per cent and 20 per cent respectively.

But Inver House, which is owned by International Beverage Holdings – the international arm of Hong Kong-headquartered ThaiBev – said that while sales were proving resilient in the current year, conditions were tougher and growth forecasts were "significantly" lower for 2009.

Stevenson said: "After the significant and positive growth in 2007 we are extremely pleased to report yet another successful year for the business in 2008.

"The £15m investment plan put in place by our parent company to create a global commercial hub at our Airdrie headquarters, plus the ongoing investment in the creation of high-growth, international whisky brands is evident in these results."

He added: "Our challenge now is to sustain this success in what will undoubtedly be a less favourable market in 2009 and beyond."

Stevenson said some markets which previously showed strong growth, such as eastern Europe, had slowed, but noted that Australia, South Africa and some parts of the Far East were maintaining good sales.

The company, which was twice voted distiller of the year in 2008 – at the Icons of Whisky Awards in February and the International Wine and Spirit Competition in November – owns five distilleries.

19 May 09

Scotch whisky distilleries will escape a crackdown on alcohol displays, devised by Scotland's Government as part of its strategy to tackle alcohol abuse.

Gift shops at Scotland's 42 whisky distilleries, as well more than 30 breweries, will not have to abide by proposed new rules to restrict alcohol on display in retailers, Scotland's ruling National Party (SNP) said yesterday (18 May).

The Government's change of heart marks a victory for the industry, which has long argued that applying the new rules to gift shops will damage tourism and penalise small drinks firms.

Scotch Whisky Association spokesperson Campbell Evans said: "We have worked closely with the Government to agree a pragmatic and workable solution so that visitor centres can continue to showcase Scotch Whisky and a wide range of other local products."

Scottish ministers laid its proposal to restrict alcoholic drinks displays before the country's Parliament yesterday.

Justic secretary Kenny MacAskill said: "Our regulations to prevent alcohol being displayed in more than one area of a shop, were designed to prevent alcohol being displayed all over the store to encourage impulse buying."

The SNP intends to introduce the law under the existing Licensing Act 2005 and aims to begin enforcing restrictions in September 2009.

Other proposals made by the SNP to curb alcohol abuse, including a minimum price, can only be introduced if new legislation is passed in Parliament. Source:

13 May 09

The Kentucky Bourbon Trail today marked its 10th anniversary by unveiling a new logo, brochure, souvenir passport and commemorative T-shirt.

“This is a significant milestone for one of Kentucky’s most popular tourism attractions,” said Eric Gregory, president of the Kentucky Distillers’ Association. “It’s also a perfect opportunity to introduce a fresh new look that reflects the growing bourbon revolution.”

The association created the Trail in 1999, inspired by the tourism and marketing opportunities in California’s wine country and Scotland’s whisky trails. The Trail features eight historic distilleries located in the Bluegrass country:

• Jim Beam
• Maker's Mark
• Buffalo Trace
• Four Roses
• Heaven Hill
• Tom Moore
• Wild Turkey
• Woodford Reserve

Visitors who collect stamps on their souvenir "passports" at all eight distilleries can redeem the passport for a free Kentucky Bourbon Trail T-shirt. This year’s shirt commemorates the 10th anniversary of the Trail.

The Trail also has added a Facebook page, and a revised Web site and Twitter page are due to be launched soon.

09 May 09 Scotch exports show international resilience
- Global exports up 8% in 2008, breaking £3 billion barrier for first time
- Exports earned £97 a second for the UK balance of trade
- Industry predicts challenging 2009 but remains confident on long term
Scotch Whisky exports reached a new high of over £3bn in 2008, underlining the industry’s
vital importance to the Scottish and wider UK economy.
In new figures published by The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA), the value of shipments
increased by 8% to £3.06bn, earning £97 a second for the UK last year. For the fourth
consecutive year, both bottled Malt (+9% to £497m) and bottled Blended Scotch Whisky
(+9% to £2.43bn) exports increased in value. The increase in value was achieved despite a
5% reduction in export volume, reflecting the industry’s investment in premiumisation in
recent years. Overall, the equivalent of 1,080 million bottles of Scotch Whisky were shipped
overseas, the industry’s second best ever volume performance.
The annual figures showed Scotch Whisky to be recession-resilient but not recessionimmune.
The industry was impacted by difficult economic conditions, particularly in the last
quarter. A challenging 2009 is predicted due to weaker consumer confidence and some
stock adjustments in a range of markets as a result of the economic downturn.
Paul Walsh, Chairman of The Scotch Whisky Association, said:
“Scotch Whisky exports have proved to be resilient in the face of difficult economic conditions in a
range of markets. To achieve record export value at such a time is quite an achievement and
underscores just how important the industry is to the UK economy. I am convinced that the major
investments made by distillers will stand us in good stead for the return to better economic times.
As that happens, whisky will play a leading role in exporting the economy out of recession.”
Gavin Hewitt, Chief Executive of the SWA, said:
“Building on the industry’s impressive performance in 2008, the Association is optimistic
about Scotch Whisky’s long term international prospects, despite difficult market conditions in
the year ahead. Our prospects are also shaped by the actions taken by government. At a
time of recession, we look to government to work with us and to show its support for the
Scotch Whisky industry at home and overseas.”
05 May 09

To celebrate this year’s Islay Festival of Malt & Music on 23-30 May, Diageo, owner of Lagavulin and Caol Ila Distillery on Islay, is once again making available two special Festival editions of its Islay Single Malt Scotch Whiskies. These very limited editions will be available only to personal shoppers, with a limit of one bottle per person.
The first-ever single cask bottling of Caol Ila by the Distillers is drawn from a European oak ex-sherry cask filled in December 1996, which has provided just 654 70cl bottles of 12 year old Single Malt Scotch Whisky. The cask was hand-selected by Caol Ila distillery’s long-established manager, Billy Stitchell.
From Lagavulin comes a 14 year old expression of this famous Single Malt, from a European oak cask filled in 1995, and hand-picked from Warehouse No. 1 by Iain McArthur, long-standing warehouseman at Lagavulin distillery. This edition consists of 660 bottles.
Both editions are bottled at natural cask strength, and will be on sale at £69.99. Continue reading......

Nick Morgan, Diageo’s Scotch Knowledge and Heritage Director, said: “The Lagavulin single cask edition for the Feis Ile has been a great success in previous years, and we hope this one will bring just as much pleasure to Festival visitors. The Caol Ila bottling is a first for us: I’m sure devotees of this Whisky will find it an interesting and satisfying dram. Both are genuine bottlings made specifically for this year’s Festival and are priced very fairly, we think, to meet the pockets of the hard-pressed Whisky enthusiasts who may have travelled a very long way, and at considerable expense, on their pilgrimages to Islay".
The Lagavulin Festival Edition will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis at Lagavulin distillery during their open day on Saturday 23 May. The Caol Ila Festival Edition will go on sale at Caol Ila distillery during their open day on Monday 25 May. Source:

05 May 09 Read today on the excellent blog of John Hansell :about the Highland Park expressions:

"We intend to keep the same selection of cask types for the 21 year old and, as with all expressions of Highland Park, the colour will remain entirely natural. However, in order to protect the character of this variant, a reduction in overall strength will be required; this reflects the relatively lower cask strengths of the whiskies coming from the mid–to late–1980s, the key constituent components for this expression. As a result, the ABV will be reduced from 47.5% to 40%.

It is worth pointing out that we are currently looking at the strengths of both Highland Park 25 year old and 30 year old for the same reasons and expect that their strengths may need to change too."

03 May 09

Nuke bomb tests can help to identify fake whisky
The London News.Net
Researchers at the Oxford Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit, which is funded by the National Environmental Research Council, have discovered that they can pinpoint the date of a whisky by detecting traces of radioactive particles created by nuclear bomb tests in the 1950s.

According to a report in The Telegraph, bottles of vintage whisky can sell for thousands of pounds each.

Industry experts are claiming that the market has been flooded with bottles of fakes that purport to be several hundred years old, but are instead worthless spirit that was made just a few years ago.

Scientists have found, however, that minute levels of radioactive carbon absorbed by the barley as it grew before it was harvested to make the whisky can betray how old it is.

They can also use natural background levels of radioactivity to identify whiskies that were made in earlier centuries.

Dr Tom Higham, deputy director of the Oxford Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit, said: "It is easy to tell if whisky is fake as if it has been produced since the middle of the twentieth century, it has a very distinctive signature.

"With whiskies that are older, we can get a range of dates but we can usually tell which century it came from. The earliest whisky we have dated came from the 1700s and most have been from 19th century.

The technique the scientists use is known as radiocarbon dating and is more commonly used by archaeologists to date ancient fragments of bone and wood.

It relies upon the fact that all living organisms absorb low levels of a radioactive isotope known as carbon 14, a heavy form of carbon which is present in low levels in the atmosphere.

After death, levels of this isotope in animal and plant remains will slowly decay away, meaning scientists can estimate their age from the amount of carbon 14 that remains in the sample.

Most of the tests on whiskies have been conducted for the Scotch Whisky Research Institute, which is responsible for analysing the authenticity of Scotch malt whisky.

Phials of whisky extracted from the antique bottles are sent to the laboratory in Oxford, where the scientists burn the liquid and bombard the resulting gas with electrically charged particles so they can measure the quantities of carbon 14 in the sample.

In one recent case, a bottle of 1856 Macallan Rare Reserve, which was expected to sell for up to 20,000 dollars, was withdrawn from auction at Christies after the scientists found it had actually been produced in 1950.

01 May 09 Largest whisky collection unveiled
The world's largest collection of whisky has been unveiled by the First Minister, marking a month-long celebration of Scotland's national drink.
Alex Salmond launched the £3 million Scotch Whisky Experience in Edinburgh which charts the drink's history as part of Homecoming 2009.
Mr Salmond also opened the 10th Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival, a 10-day "dramfest" expected to be worth £750,000 to the Scottish economy.

IT GAVE US chocolate, the saxophone and Tintin. Now Scotland is giving Belgium top-end malt whisky..and it can't get enough!

Three weeks ago, Aberdeenshire distillery GlenDronach launched its new range of twelve, fifteen and eighteen-year old malts and already the first 3000-bottle consignment has sold out in Belgium, much to the surprise and delight of its owners.

So why is the cockpit of Europe fighting to get its hands on one of Scotland's original sherried malts?

GlenDronach's Belgian importer The Nectar, represented by Mario Groeteklaes, explained: GlenDronach has always been a well-known brand in Belgium, especially the old fifteen-year-old.

Latterly, its distribution was limited, but a lot of enthusiasm has been shown by our customers when they heard that GlenDronach was to be re-launched by its new owners, the BenRiach Distillery Company.

That, and the good publicity given to the new fifteen and eighteen-year-olds by some Malt Maniacs, and on some forums, made it easy to introduce the new range to about one hundred specialised liquor stores over Belgium in just one week.

I think that this old style of sherry flavours fits well into the taste of the Belgian whisky market where GlenDronach can, in the upcoming years, challenge Macallan supremacy.

GlenDronach Distillery Manager Alan McConnochie said: Our early success in Belgium is great news and I'm pleased they can't get enough of our refined, richly-sherried Highland malt.

Regional Sales Director James Cowan said: ?We are absolutely delighted to have received this enormous level of enthusiasm towards the new GlenDronach expressions from such an influential market.

?They have always had a reputation for appreciating the finer things in life and the fact that we have pre-sold our first consignment is testament to the standard of this fabulous Highland malt.
21 Apr 09

Japanese whisky leaves traditionalists on the rocks
Distillers from the east are taking on Scotland's big names - and winning
Justin McCurry in Yoichi, Hokkaido
The Guardian

It is hard to imagine a place more suited to producing fine malt whisky. Surrounded by mountains on three sides and volatile open sea on the other, and fed by the pristine waters of a fast-flowing river, it is the stuff of distillers' dreams.

The Highlands of Scotland, though, lie thousands of miles to the west: the home of the best single malt whisky in the world is Yoichi, until last year a little known town on Japan's northernmost island of Hokkaido. Its rise to the pinnacle of the centuries-old tradition of turning barley into "the water of life" was enough to make any proud Scotsman weep into his tumbler of Glenfiddich.

Not only did Nikka's Yoichi 1987 vintage beat dozens of other labels to claim the single malt title at last year's world whisky awards - in Glasgow of all places - its rival distiller, Suntory, won the best blended whisky award with its 30-year-old Hibiki.

Today, as expert tasters meeting in London prepare to name this year's winners, Suntory and Nikka, Japan's two biggest distillers, are again preparing to ruffle a few traditionalist feathers.

"We were very surprised to win the award," said Masatoshi Takeuchi, a spokesman at Yoichi, which still uses coal fires to heat its pot stills, a labour-intensive method most Scottish makers have discarded. "It has definitely helped create a new breed of Japanese whisky fan. And the most ardent converts don't care about the price."

Though Japanese interest in single malts has undergone a dramatic transformation since the days when salarymen swilled glasses of cheap blended concoctions - liberally diluted with water and ice - the growing popularity of wine and shochu, a fiery Japanese spirit, is forcing distillers to court new markets.

Whisky sales in Japan have fallen 75% since the bubble-era peak of the early 1980s, while exports have accounted for only a tiny percentage of total production. But the cachet that comes with recognition at international tastings and competitions has transformed Japanese whisky from laughing stock to serious contender for the affections of imbibers from Tokyo to Tulloch. Nikka is targeting the emerging markets of Sweden and France, while Suntory is about to launch an overseas promotion driven by its 86-year-old distillery in Yamazaki, on the outskirts of Kyoto.

"We want to sell in overseas markets where drinkers are looking for something real, but different," said Keita Minari, global marketing manager at the Yamazaki distillery. "First timers are sceptical, but once they've tried our whisky we find that they are always pleasantly surprised."

The Yamazaki distillery shipped 1,500 cases overseas in 2003, the year its 12-year-old single malt won the gold medal at the International Spirits Challenge.

A slew of awards since then has driven annual shipments up to 20,000 cases, with sales to China and Taiwan now rivalling those to the US.

Yamazaki has selected the UK to launch a 12-year-old Hibiki blend next month in an attempt to steal market share from the likes of Johnny Walker and Chivas Regal. Consumers in Japan will have to wait until September.

Tastings in Britain have generated a fantastic response, according to Minari: in a recent promotion at Heathrow's Terminal 5, 1,000 bottles of Yamazaki single malt sold out in a month.

While Scottish distilleries are free to buy in whiskies from other makers to orchestrate the desired blend, their Japanese counterparts do everything in-house. This arrangement, with a variable climate and reverence for traditional distilling methods, is turning this relative newcomer into a whisky powerhouse. Suntory, which controls 70% of the domestic market, has more than 100 types of unblended whisky at its disposal.

"Although some Japanese people are the last to believe in the quality of their own products, their malt whiskies are as good as any in the world," said Chris Bunting, an expatriate Yorkshireman who blogs about the country's whisky at Nonjatta.

"No one can say that Japan isn't making the genuine article." Source:

14 Apr 09

Red Stag by Jim Beam Brings Flavor to Bourbon Category

#1 Bourbon Maker Continues to Innovate with New Product Launch

Beam Global Spirits & Wine, Inc. [Fortune Brands, Inc. (NYSE:FO)], the leading American spirits company, and Jim Beam® Bourbon, the world’s number one selling Bourbon, proudly launch Red Stag by Jim Beam™, a Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey infused with natural flavors. The fresh, contemporary taste appeals to both longtime Jim Beam fans and new consumers who may not have previously considered the Bourbon category.

Red Stag is a new innovation from Jim Beam. Through a unique, artisanal infusion process, natural black cherry flavors are slowly and carefully infused into fine, four-year-old Jim Beam Bourbon. The tasting notes are distinctively fruity, without disguising the familiar, rich nose of Jim Beam Bourbon. The corn sweetness and mellow oak taste of Red Stag is accented by a hint of black cherry for smoothness and balance.

“Our Bourbon fans know that Jim Beam would never treat fine Bourbon with anything but respect,” stated Kelly Doss, senior director of Bourbon and whiskeys, Beam Global Spirits & Wine, Inc. “Red Stag’s all-natural flavor was hand-selected for its ability to complement and highlight the wonderful taste of Jim Beam Bourbon.”

Red Stag by Jim Beam will launch in June 2009. The 80-proof Red Stag has a suggested retail price of $17.99, which will vary by market, and will be available in 50ml, 750ml and 1L packaging. Details of in-market activation and specific programming will be announced early next month.

“Red Stag by Jim Beam is a testament to Beam Global Spirits & Wine’s commitment to innovation and its vision of ‘Building Brands People Want to Talk About,’” said Doss. “With its appealing black cherry taste, Red Stag has already gained accolades from industry experts given a preview.”

14 Apr 09

Corporate Comebacks: Johnnie Walker
MIKE SCHUSTER APR 14, 2009 8:20 AM

The whisky stumbles on better days.

When it comes to advertising, the simplest campaign slogan is often the best - short, sweet, direct. Apple's (AAPL) "Think Different." Nike's (NKE) "Just Do It." And for Johnnie Walker whisky, the company found much-needed success in "Keep Walking."

Last November, at the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising Effectiveness Awards in London, the people behind Johnnie Walker's successful campaign -- ad agency Bartle Bogle Hegarty (BBH) -- were awarded the highest honor for modernizing the Johnnie Walker brand. The agency took home the coveted Grand Prix and Best International Multi-Market prizes.

Because of BBH's work, Johnnie Walker has grown by 48% worldwide and enjoyed incremental sales of $2.21 billion.

Prior to the agency's involvement, it suffered declining sales due in part to a lack of distinction.
Blended in Scotland, but available worldwide, the scotch whisky was advertised through disparate, unrelated campaigns in local markets. The scattered promotions failed to achieve a cumulative message and were ultimately forgettable.

Unlike Johnnie Walker's long, illustrious history, its future was cast in serious doubt.

In 1999, the whisky's manufacturer -- London-based Diageo (DEO) -- enlisted BBH to revitalize the brand and reverse its diminishing market share.

Analyzing the promotions of other whisky brands, BBH found they largely related to "masculine success." But the group saw those depictions as clichéd and unrealistic. Rather than retread tired themes, BBH sought something specific to the Johnnie Walker brand, yet general enough to resonate with drinkers from Scranton to Singapore.

A global study revealed men no longer equated success with wealth or garish material possessions. To them, success meant an internal drive for improvement and progress - to which BBH dedicated its focus.

The company zeroed in on the "striding man" logo featured on every bottle -- an emblem created by illustrator Tom Browne and said to be a depiction of John Walker in his traditional garb -- and purposed it in such a way that it came to exemplify the progression of the everyday guy.
And so the "Keep Walking" campaign was rolled out on a global scale. BBH's efforts were so successful that volume sales rose nearly 50% and revenue growth skyrocketed 94%, resulting in $4.56 billion worldwide.

While future success may be uncertain, Johnnie Walker will no doubt take a cue from its campaign and continue its new tradition of moving forward. Source:

09 Apr 09

Spirits Up at Bruichladdich

Bruichladdich, the progressive Hebridean distiller, reports continued growth in 2008.

Sales increased for the privately owned, Scottish company by 15% for the year ending 31/12/08, up to £7.89m from £6.86m in 2007, slightly ahead of forecast.

Pre-tax profit increased by 42% to £1.07m, from £0.75 in 2007 despite significant investments in an enterprise resource planning system, and other exceptional costs.

Bruichladdich’s success comes when industry analysts expect 2008 single malt sales to have fallen, even though being up 2.6% in the UK according to HM Revenue & Customs.

"Despite the environment –  economic climate change, global financial warming, and banking meltdown  – we are forecasting continued growth" said CEO Mark Reynier.
“Bruichladdich appeals to sophisticated palates, while the variety of our bottlings stimulates the more open-minded consumer. We’re not only preaching to the converted.”
“This is an exciting, innovative, but authentic brand, in a deeply consolidated industry where 80% of production is owned by 5 groups. We are premium, quality and niche.”

All profits are re-invested in the business. 2009 distillation will increase 15% to 800,000 litres of alcohol from traceable barley grown on 23 Islay and mainland scotland farms.

05 Apr 09

Celebrities help turn women on to whisky
Makers of scotch say its female fans have changed its historic macho image
Paul Kelbie, The Observer

Whisky, traditionally the macho drink of choice for middle-aged men, is increasingly becoming a favourite among women.

The Scotch Malt Whisky Society has almost doubled its female members in the past three years and manufacturers claim there has been a noticeable rise in female connoisseurs. Images of celebrities such as KT Tunstall, Kate Moss and Zoe Ball, along with increasing depictions of female television characters drinking whisky, have all helped create an upsurge in new varieties of an old drink.

Research conducted by AC Nielsen suggests that at least a quarter of scotch drinkers in the UK are now female, compared to just one in 10 a few years ago, prompting whisky companies to widen their focus to engage with the evolving market.

"The important thing about whisky is - contrary to what people think - there is a wide variety of styles and tastes," said Campbell Evans of the Scotch Whisky Association. "There is much less concern about mixing blended whisky with other drinks like lemonade and cola, or of trying it in cocktails, than there used to be. People are experimenting far more."

Liqueurs laced with whisky are also proving a popular way of enticing the female market.

"A big number of our customers are women. They really like whisky-based liqueurs," said Roy Lewis, who runs the successful Hebridean Liqueur Company. "Women buy a lot of our products as gifts, but we find that about 90% of them usually buy one for themselves at the same time.

"A lot of our female customers claim they don't like whisky and are then pleasantly surprised that they are able to enjoy it as a liqueur."

The Leith Liqueur Company, another of the new breed of producers, has had such a success with its Strawberry Kiss liqueur that it featured in the final of the World of Whiskies Awards in 2007.

The latest figures show that women now account for 15% of all members of the Scotch Malt Whisky Society, compared with 9% three years ago. And the society says they are often among the most enthusiastic.

"The glamorisation of whisky by celebrities is one of the reasons why whisky is enjoying heightened success," said Kai Ivalo, marketing director of the Scotch Malt Whisky Society. "There is plenty of evidence that increasing numbers of females are joining us now.

"The society is fun and approachable, it's not snooty or elitist. There's no funny handshake or tests to see how much you know about whisky. We have developed an environment that many women feel comfortable in and enjoy."

Neil Macdonald, brand director of Glenlivet, added: "In February, at the annual Whisky Live event in London, we noted an increase in the number of women at the Glenlivet stand, a real mix of connoisseurs and new whisky drinkers. Many of these ladies had travelled specifically for Whisky Live and were very knowledgeable about scotch.

"Mistakes have been made in the past when marketing to women by offering purely cosmetic or 'lighter' drinks. Today we find that female consumers are often the most demanding - looking for product integrity and substance."

05 Avr 09

Salmond urges China to protect status of Scotch
By Tom Peterkin
ALEX Salmond is to demand that Scotch whisky's unique status is protected from unfair competition from bootleg foreign spirits when he embarks on a week-long visit to China today.
Salmond will join with the Scotch Whisky Association which is fighting for Scotland's national drink to become the first overseas product to receive a special type of trade protection in China.

Gavin Hewitt, the SWA's chief executive, will meet the Chinese government to discuss the Scotch being given a "geographical indication of origin" – a form of legal protection that will distinguish the genuine Scottish produced article from imitation products made in China.

"We are seeking this recognition from China," said Campbell Evans of the SWA. "Alex Salmond is supporting us in this. China is a very important market for us."

Scotch whisky accounts for 20% of Scotland's manufactured exports to China and in 2007 direct shipments were valued at £42m compared with just £1.5m in 2001.

In the past, the SWA has had to take action against products like Glen Highland Green Blended Whisky – a locally produced spirit from the Fujian Province.

Hundreds of domestic products in China have "geographical indication" status, a legally recognised sign or name that identifies a product with its place of origin.

If Scotch is granted that status it will be the first overseas product to be given that recognition.

The First Minister also aims to promote Scotland as a golfing tourist destination and build on academic links that have resulted in 5,000 Chinese students studying in Scotland and contributing millions of pounds to the domestic economy (...)


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