30 Jul 12


The new release from Bowmore's celebrated 1964 compendium, and the Bowmore 1985 from the acclaimed 1980s Vintage Series

JULY 2012 - Bowmore, Islay's first Single Malt distillery, is releasing two prized limited editions: Bowmore 1964 and Bowmore 1985. Handcrafted and nurtured by the Distillery Manager, only 72 bottles of the 1964 and 747 bottles of the 1985 exist globally. Priced at £8,000 and £300 respectively, these are valued collectibles for any whisky connoisseur and enthusiast.

Like all Bowmore whiskies, these two remarkable expressions started life with the very finest ingredients: the purest water drawn from the peat-laden Laggan River, the finest barley from the Scottish Borders, and nature's miracle worker – yeast. With rich peat, sea salt tang, seaweed infused breeze and a dedicated team of craftsmen, each component has helped shape these magical Single Malts.


The latest exclusive from Bowmore is a Fino Sherry cask finished expression that encapsulates all of its island home in a bottle. Widely regarded as one of the best years in Bowmore's production history, this rare expression follows in the footsteps of the sought-after Bowmore 1964 Trilogy. Beginning in 2007 and ending in 2009, the Trilogy was the first of the 1964 compendium to be released, and with just a few hundred bottles ever produced, it still stands as one of the most prized collections in the world.

With such an imposing legacy, the Bowmore 1964 has certainly lived up to its predecessor; this lovingly handcrafted liquid is truly exceptional and extremely complex. This Bowmore 1964 encapsulates the fresh, crisp and cooling coastal atmosphere of Islay. Aged for nearly half a century, the whisky's home was a specially selected North American bourbon cask followed by a Fino Sherry cask, during which the characteristics of the whisky have evolved and refined to create a teasingly complex and elegant balance, with the trademark top note of fresh, sweet, tropical fruits – a phenomenon and mystery that super-aged Bowmores have become famous for. Coupled with gentle sea-salt, lengthening and cooling the palate, the whisky leaves a beautifully elegantfinish.

Bowmore commissioned Brodie Nairn and Nichola Burns, two of Scotland's if not the world's foremost glass artists, to design a striking vessel worthy of this wonderful malt. Each bottle has been hand-blown and painstakingly sculpted using molten glass, with a unique design that takes inspiration from the waves of Islay's Loch Indaal.

Hamilton & Inches, Edinburgh's leading jewellers and Warrant Holder to the Queen, provided the finishing touches. Using time-honoured techniques, the skilled team of silversmiths, engravers and polishers created the solid silver neck collars and stoppers that complete every bottle of Bowmore 1964. Each of these works of art has been meticulously hand-engraved with the spirit information and bears both the Hamilton &Inches Sponsor mark and Edinburgh hallmark.

Reflecting its natural roots, a rustic crate made from Scottish sourced oak provides the perfect casing forthis homage to Islay.

David Wilson, Sales and Marketing Director at Morrison Bowmore, comments: "We're proud to present what is 46 years of craftsmanship and Islay's essence in a bottle. Every Bowmore limited edition bottling is special, but the ever-dwindling stock from the 1960s means that the Bowmore 1964 is truly exceptional and rare."


On the nose, discover ripe peach water, floral rose water and just a wisp of smoking barley. A sip reveals lusciously ripe peaches, but balanced by a more acidic note – something akin to juicy blood oranges or sharp pink grapefruit. Next comes wood with coconut creams and sweetness, leading to a finish of gentle peat fires glowing in the dusk.

Bowmore 1964 (RRP £8,000) 42.9% ABV, will be available from specialist whisky retailers from July 2012.


Also launching this year is the Bowmore 1985 Vintage, which follows in the footsteps of the previous 1980s Vintage series. Created from a unique combination of hand-selected sherry and bourbon casks, the expression is remarkably rich and fruity, balanced with the trademark Bowmore sea -salt tang, and possesses more smoke and depth than the earlier Vintage releases. This unique edition is a classic Bowmore; smoke, fresh Atlantic sea-salt and layers of fruit complexity.

Presented in a wooden gift box with a 'weather-beaten' brown leather strap and copper buckle, each bottle is also accompanied by a hand-signed and numbered certificate by the Bowmore Distillery Manager, Eddie MacAffer.

Bowmore 1985 (RRP £300) 52.3% ABV, will be available from specialist whisky retailers from July 2012.

30 Jul 12


1995 expression offers the last chance to sample 'old' Glen Garioch at its finest

Glen Garioch, Scotland's most easterly distillery, has unveiled its latest small batch release, the Glen Garioch Vintage 1995.

The limited edition, only the sixth special addition to the Glen Garioch single malt range, was laid down just months before the distillery was mothballed for two years in October 1995.

With just 1,000 8.4L cases available globally and a limited 100 in the UK, this expression encapsulates the final burst of rich and lightly peated malt produced at the distillery before its temporary closure.

Kirsteen Beeston, Head of Brands Marketing, said: "The aim with all our limited edition expressions is to showcase the distillery's special quality of liquid, and the 1995 is certainly no exception.

"This vintage is the last to capture the old Glen Garioch peaty notes and has been matured entirely in first fill bourbon barrels for over 16 years.

"It's a classically complex Glen Garioch; rich, full, robust and comes with a smooth velvety texture that accentuates its warm and spicy taste.

This unique small batch release calls upon some of the last ever barley, malted and peated on site at the Oldmeldrum distillery. Following a short period of silence between 1995 and 1997 production was resumed without the use of the 200 year old malt barns, making this a rare vintage for single malt fans.

With its proud Doric history, the Aberdeenshire malt captures the enduring and couthie spirit of the Highland town of Oldmeldrum.

Barrie added: "With limited availability in the UK, and based on the blistering success of our previous small batch releases, whisky aficionados will need to be quick out of the blocks."

At 55.3% ABV, Glen Garioch 1995 is available from specialist wine and spirit merchants, retailing circa £55. It is distributed by Cellar Trends in the UK.


Glen Garioch's first small batch from the distillery re-opening in 1997

Glen Garioch, Scotland's most easterly distillery, will launch a new limited edition, the Glen Garioch Vintage 1997, exclusively to the travel retail sector this summer.

The vintage 1997, has particular provenance as it is the first whisky produced at the Oldmeldrum distillery following its re-opening after nearly two years closure.

Matured in a combination of first and second fill bourbon barrels, it showcases the fresh fruit tastes and soft creamy textures characteristic of Glen Garioch's distinctive house style.

Aimed at the global traveller with an eye for a hidden gem of a single malt, the Glen Garioch 1997 will be available through travel retail operators across Europe, including World Duty Free, Birka and Viking Line. It will also be featured in selected international airports, specialist terminal whisky stores and ferry operators across the globe from May this year.

"The distillery may have been mothballed for two years but this vintage has borne fruit, in every sense. It sets the precedent for the quality of spirit achieved at Glen Garioch Distillery since its reopening. And with just an initial 1,000 cases available globally, we can think of no better route to market this fine vintage than through the discerning travel retail audience."

The 1997 vintage is balanced on the nose, with an initial vanilla and nougat sweetness quickly followed by cinnamon and ginger spices before being embellished by a cornucopia of complex fruits.

Rachel Barrie, master blender at Morrison Bowmore, said: "Spices and a sweet and juicy pear finish conclude a fruit laden mouth-watering taste complete with Glen Garioch's trademark creamy texture.

"It's one of the creamiest Glen Gariochs, while still very fruity - apple and pear crumble swimming in carnation milk."

At 56.7% ABV, Glen Garioch 1997 is available from selected duty free outlets, retailing circa £49.99.

23 Jul 12

FRANCE/UK: Remy Cointreau seals US$90.3m Bruichladdich buy
Author: Olly Wehring

Remy Cointreau will complete its purchase of Bruichladdich later this summer

Remy Cointreau has concluded its hunt for Bruichladdich Distillery Company with a GBP58m (US$90.3m) purchase of the Islay-based Scotch whisky producer.

The company, which confirmed earlier this month that it had started discussions with Bruichladdich, announced earlier this morning (23 July) that it has bought the distiller for GBP48m and assumed debt of GBP10m. The transaction, which represents an enterprise value to EBITDA of 24x, and EV to sales of 5x, should close within the next six weeks.

Bruichladdich was acquired from Beam Global Spirits & Wines in late-2000 by Murray McDavid, a malt bottling business set up by two London wine merchants and a member of the family that owned whisky distiller Springbank, for $10.1m.

The transaction price represents a return of seven times the initial share price, according to Bruichladdich's MD, Mark Reynier.

15 Jul 12

SULLIVANS Cove Tasmanian Single Malt Whisky takes on USA

Building on its ever-growing global success, Sullivans Cove, the multi award winning Tasmanian Single Malt, is sending its first shipment to the USA this month. Currently exporting to ten countries across Europe, as well as Singapore and Canada, the USA is the next step in the international roll-out of the brand.

"Tasmanian whisky is really taking off across the world, mainly because of the hard work that the guys have been putting in here at home. We are starting to see a cult following for our whiskies and I am proud that Sullivans Cove is at the forefront of that movement", said Patrick Maguire, Master Distiller of Sullivans Cove Tasmanian Single Malt Whisky. He added, "This is great news considering that the whisky category, and single malts in particular, continues to be the fastest growing spirits category globally."

Sullivans Cove is one of the most highly awarded Tasmanian whiskies, consistently winning Gold at the world's most prestigious blind tasting competitions including Jim Murray's Liquid Gold Awards, The Spirits Business's Spirits Masters and the World Whisky Awards.

13 Jul 12

GlenDronach Releases Latest Batch of Single Cask Bottlings

THE BenRiach Distillery Company Ltd. has today released the latest batch of single cask bottlings from its GlenDronach Distillery.

This is the sixth batch of GlenDronach single casks to be released by the award-winning Aberdeenshire distillery.

The five casks were all bottled in June and are available as of today.

The batch comprises five sublime casks with vintages ranging from 1971 to 1993. Two have been matured in Pedro Ximenez sherry puncheons, one in an Oloroso sherry butt, one in an Oloroso sherry puncheon and the fifth in a Moscatel Barrel. The Moscatel cask (1989 cask # 4885) is a particularly unusual release from GlenDronach, given that the distillery tends to focus on sherry cask maturation.

All five have been hand-selected by The BenRiach Distillery Company's Managing Director Billy Walker, and all share GlenDronach's typically luxurious, richly-sherried characteristics, plus a fantasia of dates, orchestras of spices and explosions of honey, Demerara sugar, sweet molasses, mocha...and even fruit cake!

The cask details are as follows:

1971 cask # 1247 / 41 years old / Pedro Ximenez Sherry Puncheon / 47.9% vol. / approx 529 bottles

1978 cask # 1068 / 33 years old / Oloroso Sherry Puncheon / 52.9% vol. / approx 318 bottles

1989 cask # 4885 / 23 years old / Moscatel Barrel / 53.9%vol. / approx 286 bottles

1990 cask # 2966 / 22 years old / Pedro Ximenez Sherry Puncheon / 55.1% vol. / approx 539 bottles

1993 cask # 536 / 19 years old / Oloroso Sherry Butt / 59.4% vol. / approx 596 bottles

Last year, after tasting and evaluating over 4500 whiskies worldwide for his "Whisky Bible 2012", Jim Murray singled out GlenDronach as the distillery "with the most consistently impressive output throughout 2011" and placed it "in the Grand Crus of Scottish Malt Distilleries". He added: "If there was a Whisky Bible Scotch Malt Whisky Distillery of the Year, GlenDronach would be it."

09 Jul 10

France's Remy Cointreau in talks to buy Scottish whisky maker Bruichladdich
French spirits group Remy Cointreau is in exclusive negotiations to buy Scottish whisky maker Bruichladdich, a distillery founded in 1881 on the Isle of Islay, the French firm has said.
Bruichladdich Distillery closed down its activities in 1994, but enthusiasts for its single malt whisky reopened the installations in 2001.
These enthusiasts still own the shares in the company, which had sales last year of about €15m (£11.9m), a spokeswoman for Cointreau said.
"It's a brand with strong potential for development because it is in the segment at the top of the market and complements our portfolio," she said.
The addition of a top brand would be in line with the strategy pursued by Remy Cointreau to focus on premium alcoholic drinks, which are in particular demand in Asia.
Bruichladdich is the only one of nine distilleries on the Isle of Islay that does not belong to a big group.
Remy Cointreau, which raised profits sharply last year thanks to its strategy, has strong finances having last year sold its champagne interests including the Piper Heidsick and Chales Heidsick brands to French holding company EPI for €412.2m. Source:

06 Jul 12 Whisky Terroir: Ultimate Provenance from Bruichladdich's Islay Barley Series
The latest edition of Bruichladdich's Islay Barley Series, this one from
Dunlossit Farm, is released today.
The Islay Barley Series is the ultimate expression of Islay, a single malt
whose provenance and traceability is as unparalleled as the origin is unique.
Bruichladdich's Islay Barley Series showcases the first single malt whiskies in
a century to be exclusively Islay-made - from barley to barrel to bottle.
In these days of increasing production efficiency and global market raw
material sourcing, the real sense of place, the terroir from which Scotch
whisky originated, has been lost.
Bruichladich have set out to rectify this with a single malt that was made from
barley reassuringly sown and grown on the Isle of Islay.
The unpeated barley was distilled in to Bruichladdich whisky, warehoused
and matured, and finally bottled still on the Hebridean island at Bruichladdich
The terroir for this whisky is a desolate place known as the 'headland of the
the gallows'. This lonely field is a rare patch of fertility amongst the barren,
rocky outcrops and peat bogs tilled continually since Neolithic times.
Evidence of Islay's earliest farmers, dated to 6,000 years ago, was
discovered in this soil only last year.
In this remote, unsullied earth, Chalice barley was grown by farmer Jim
Logan in what is now called the Jubilee field (Queen Victoria's, not
Elizabeth's), on Dunlossit land owned by Bruno Schroder, a Bruichladdich
shareholshareholder. It was harvested in September 2006 and distilled eight weeks
Bruichladdich's Islay Barley Series is the ultimate in whisky terroir - where
once again land and dram are united.
Non chill-filltered, and colouring-free, Bruichladdich's Islay Barley Series
"Dunlossit" was bottled at 50% ABV and retails at around £38.
03 Jul 12

Edrington’s results for the year ended 31 March 2012


  • Turnover UP 0.5% at £556.1m (2011: £553.4m).
    - Growth in Asia, USA and Russia (higher profit markets) compensating for lower sales in Southern Europe (Greece, Spain, and Portugal)
  • Profit before tax (excluding exceptional items) UP 5.2% to £148.8m (2011: £141.5m), an INCREASE of 57% over the last 3 years
    Sales mix improves across the brands; profile of business shifts to more profitable markets
  • Debt reduced by £52.5 million to £463.5m, down £165m over the last three years
  • Dividend UP 11.1% to 30p (2011: 27p), reflecting the positive dynamic of consistent profit growth and consistent debt reduction.


  • The Macallan outpaces the malt whisky market, growing profit by 40%.
  • Highland Park grows volume ; price management and special editions accelerate profitability
  • Brugal holds market leadership in Spain and The Dominican Republic but volume falls back as both the Spanish economy and the domestic Dominican Republic market remain difficult.  
  • The Famous Grouse grows sales. Emerging market growth is held back by continued weakness in the economies of Southern Europe.
  • Cutty Sark experiences volume decline, impacted by concentration of sales in Greece, Spain and Portugal.

Increased focus on emerging markets is signalled through successful acquisition of China and Hong Kong distribution companies, increased staffing at our new Americas office in New York, and new distribution agreements for Eastern Europe and sub-Saharan Africa.

COMMENTING ON THE RESULTS, Ian Curle, chief executive, said today:
I am pleased to report that Edrington continues to make good progress.  We have grown earnings, reduced our debt and strengthened our strategic position with brand growth in emerging markets and the addition of distribution companies in China and Hong Kong. 
Shareholders’ earnings of £70.5m (pre-exceptionals) grew by 8.5% in the current year maintaining the momentum which has seen 70% growth over the last three years.  Our financial capacity has improved due to strong cash flows and a debt reduction of £52.5m during the year.
In recent years Edrington has increased its international reach and this year we have taken further important steps to harmonise and develop our business interests.  Following the acquisition of the distribution companies in China and Hong Kong, and the rapid expansion of our New York office, all our overseas companies are now trading under the Edrington name.
The presentation of the company has also evolved with new branding and a simplified name – Edrington.

The market for premium spirits continued to grow, with both Scotch whisky and premium rum at the forefront of this growth.  Scotch whisky in particular is benefitting from years of investment in its iconic image and quality reputation.  Much of this growth is coming from the world’s emerging economies where the increasing middle class is driving the interest in premium international brands. 

The Macallan continues to excel as the world’s most premium Scotch whisky.   The brand has enjoyed significant value and volume growth with sales increasing in its key US and Asian markets. 

Highland Park has benefitted from the growth in the single malt category.  The brand has recorded further value and volume growth driven by strong performances in the UK, US and Nordics.   Stronger pricing and special editions have also contributed to this encouraging performance.

The Famous Grouse reported modest overall growth.  The brand strengthened its position as No. 1 in Scotland, whilst encouraging results in developing markets were held back by more challenging economic and competitive conditions in mature European markets.  Innovation and premiumisation together with expansion into emerging economies are the focus for future brand growth.

Cutty Sark has experienced difficult trading conditions due to the economic and financial dynamics in its core Southern European markets.  The brand communication and packaging has been refreshed as we target emerging markets for future growth.

We are confident about the long term potential of our premium spirits brands and the increasing demand in the emerging world economies.
Following three years of consistent growth and debt reduction, the Company is in a position to harness this potential through investment in our people, brands, route to market, and maturing inventory.  Brand investment will target emerging markets and continue to focus on innovation and premiumisation. 
Edrington’s strategic focus on the US and Asia will be complemented by increased investment in South East Asia, Russia, emerging Europe, the Middle East, and Sub-Saharan Africa. New partnerships and brand investment will be at the heart of this drive as we expand our international reach. 
In order to support this growth further significant investment is planned at our operational sites in Scotland and the Dominican Republic.
The highest paid director’s annual remuneration of £846k is down 13% on the previous year. This comprises annual salary of £390k, plus annual bonus and benefits (mostly pension contributions).
Separately, the long term incentive plan awarded to the highest paid director, which is based on the financial and strategic performance of the company over the last 3 years, increased to £494k. During this period earnings increased by 70% and debt reduced by £165m.

26 Jun 12


The world's only known bottle of Malt Mill new-make spirit was unveiled for enthusiasts and whisky pilgrims at the Lagavulin distillery on Monday 25 July 2012. Thought to have disappeared forever, Malt Mill is the basis of the plot for the award-winning Ken Loach film, The Angels' Share.

Charles Maclean, one of the world's leading whisky writers, who also played a role in the film, comments on the unveiling. "This bottle is priceless. Malt Mill is legendary, and is viewed by many as the holy grail. It is an extremely significant moment and I'm delighted to be part of it."

Dr Nick Morgan, head of whisky outreach, Diageo, adds, "In my twenty years as an historian and archivist, I've always wanted to see this unique bottle of Malt Mill go on display. We are thrilled to share this precious artefact with the many whisky enthusiasts who visit Lagavulin every year."

Rebecca O' Brien, Producer for The Angels' Share, says, "It is wonderful to think this bottle has been passed down from distillery manager to distillery manager for fifty years here on Islay. Our film hinges on the auction of an imaginary cask of Malt Mill precisely because everyone agreed it was so rare. Now the very DNA of Malt Mill has been rediscovered."

The bottle of Malt Mill came to light after the Lagavulin distillery manager, Georgie Crawford, heard about the film. Involving some whisky related shennanigans, and based on an auction of an imaginary last cask of Malt Mill, she brought out the Malt Mill from its secret location. It had been passed on to her by her predecessor, the former Lagavulin distillery manager.

The Angels' Share, which is currently on general cinema release, was written by Scot Paul Laverty and was filmed in various locations around Scotland last summer. The film was a hit at this year's Cannes Film Festival where it won the coveted Jury Prize.

Malt Mill was produced at a small distillery on the Lagavulin distillery site from 1908; production ceased in 1962 and this bottle is from the last fill in June 1962.

07 Jun 12 Diageo sets out £1billion Scotch whisky investment plan
- New malt whisky distillery and major expansion of existing distilleries
- Substantial warehousing expansion to store maturing spirit
- Hundreds of jobs created in Diageo and wider Scottish economy
Diageo, the world's leading premium drinks business, has unveiled plans to invest over £1billion in Scotch whisky production over the next five years to meet growing global demand for its brands.
A major new malt distillery will be built as part of the investment, alongside a programme of major expansion at a number of Diageo's existing distilleries. Detailed plans will also be developed for a second new distillery which will be built if global demand for Scotch is sustained at expected levels.
The company also plans to invest in substantial new warehousing capacity to house the millions of additional litres of Scotch whisky which the distillation investment will produce.
Announcing the investment Diageo Chief Executive, Paul Walsh said: "This is a pivotal moment in the development of the Scotch whisky category for Diageo. Over recent years our brands have achieved remarkable, sustained global growth. Scotch whisky is Scotland's most celebrated manufactured export, led by brands like Johnnie Walker, resonating with consumers from Boston to Beijing.
"We expect that success to continue, particularly in the high growth markets around the world, which is why we are announcing this major investment in Scotch whisky production, committing over £1billion in the next five years, to seize that opportunity for global growth. This builds on the foundations we have already laid down over recent years through sustained investment in both production assets and in maturing Scotch inventories.
"Scotch whisky is a significant manufacturing export industry in the United Kingdom, driving domestic investment and job creation through our success in exporting to high growth markets around the world. We look forward to working with both the UK and Scottish Governments to realise the full potential of our investment plan, and to continue growing global Scotch exports."
Across Scotland the investment will create over a hundred new Diageo jobs, largely high value jobs in rural areas of Scotland. It is also expected the investment will create an average of 250 construction jobs for each year of the investment period and in wider Scottish economy there will be a knock on effect which will generate around 500i further jobs. Diageo also intends to make its contribution to efforts to tackle youth unemployment by taking on around one hundred apprentices and graduate trainees over the term of the investment, and the company will also encourage its suppliers and construction contractors to focus on youth job creation and apprenticeships.
The investment programme will be underpinned by Diageo's commitment to reduce its environmental impact, with a programme of bio energy solutions planned to be implemented over the same timescale as the distillery expansion projects.
Mr Walsh added: "I'm particularly pleased our investment will generate significant numbers of new Diageo jobs, as well as boosting the local construction sector and stimulating job creation throughout the Scottish economy. We are determined to use this investment to make a contribution towards helping people into training and work through our apprentice and graduate placement scheme and by using the opportunity to encourage suppliers to take on apprentices to work on the investment projects."
In the last five years Diageo has reported 50% growth in net sales of its Scotch brandsii with total net sales approaching £3billion this financial year. Scotch represented 23% of Diageo's volume, 27% of net sales and a third of gross profit in the financial year 2011iii. In the first half of financial year 2012, Diageo's Scotch category saw 8% volume growth and 14% net sales growthiv.
Over the five year period Diageo plans to invest over £500 million in the construction of the distillation and warehousing capacity. This increased production capacity also requires Diageo to commit £500million in working capital for the maturing spirit which will be laid down over the next five years. The exact total investment figures may vary over time depending on the progress of specific projects, but the overall commitment is expected to total over £1billion over the five years.
Supporting this investment, Diageo also plans to commit £5 million over five years towards community initiatives as part of its sustainability and responsibility programme in Scotland. Priority areas for the community investment programme will be: leadership in the environment; responsible drinking - improving the night economy and safety at local level; and socio-economic development, including youth employment and entrepreneurship. This will involve an integrated approach across Diageo's production, commercial and brands heritage businesses, including The Gleneagles Hotel, host to the Ryder Cup 2014. Full details of this programme will be announced in due course.
05 Jun 12


By Yi Chen
The renowned photographer creates a series of images for Macallan scotch.

Macallan is well-known for its single malt scotch whisky, and also its collaborations with artists and photographers. Recently, as part of its 'Masters of Photography' series, Macallan commissioned renowned American photographer, Annie Leibovitz, to take four photographs that represents New York City. The photos are then paired and labelled with a bottle of fine whisky that conveys the mood of the scene.

Only 1,000 of these bottles will be released, retailing for $2,750 each. Previous collaborations by Macallan have included artist Nick Veasey designing limited edition packaging with x-ray images, and also a fictional story photographed by Albert Watson.

Click here for the movie:

04 Jun 12

Whisky firm Glenglassaugh Distillery makes profit

A whisky distillery which was closed for more than two decades has made its first profit three years after re-opening.

The Glenglassaugh Distillery, near Portsoy in Aberdeenshire, has reported a turnover of £1m and a profit of £100,000 in 2011.

The company's fortunes have been boosted by strong sales overseas.

Glenglassaugh was opened in 1875 but mothballed in 1986 by its then owner the Edrington Group.

The distillery was bought by a group of private investors in 2008.

Just weeks ago the company launched the first bottling of its single malt Scotch whisky called Revival.

While it was maturing though, Glenglassaugh focused on selling a stock of around 500 casks of high quality spirit which had been acquired along with the distillery.

Glenglassaugh Distillery managing director, Stuart Nickerson, said: "It had been expected that it would take at least seven years and possibly as much as 10 years for Glenglassaugh to turn a profit."

He added: "There are two distinct areas which, we believe, have enabled this to happen. The first is the extent of overseas sales and the fact that we are selling into 25 different countries.

"The second key to our success has been to sell small casks - octaves - to both corporate and private customers. The barrels are filled with spirit and are left to mature for up to seven years.

"Customers range from international whisky clubs to brides looking for a special wedding present for their husband-to-be."

30 May 12

Chivas Brothers outlines £40m whisky investment plans

Drinks firm Chivas Brothers has outlined a £40m investment programme as it seeks to meet growing demand for whisky in emerging markets.

The company is to reopen a mothballed distillery in Banffshire and expand four existing distilleries as part of its plans for the year.

Chivas will also open a new bottling hall at its Paisley headquarters this summer.

The distiller is owned by French drinks giant Pernod Ricard.

Chivas aims to boost its malt whisky distillation capacity by 25% over the next year with expansions at the Glenallachie, Glentauchers, Tormore and Longmorn distilleries.

Glen Keith is expect to reopen in April 2013, having been mothballed in 2000.

New heat recovery technology is also being introduced to make stills 25% more efficient.

The new bottling hall in Paisley will focus on the hand-bottling of high-end products such as Chivas Regal 25, the Royal Salute range and limited editions of The Glenlivet and Ballantine's.

The company said its £40m investment programme for the year was in line with average amounts spent annually over the past few years.

Chivas Brothers chairman and chief executive Christian Porta commented: "We are committed to a capital expenditure of £40m annually to further increase our distillation capacity and production facilities.

"This investment, allied to strong market growth, a continued commitment to innovation and the best suited portfolio to target the most profitable opportunities, will provide the basis for future value growth for our company." Source:

24 May 12

Product Launch - EUR: Pernod Ricard's Yellow Spot Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey
Author: Olly Wehring |

Click through to view Pernod Ricard's Yellow Spot Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey

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Pernod Ricard's Yellow Spot Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey

Category - Spirits, whiskey, Irish, single pot still, 46% abv

Available - From this month

Location - Ireland, France, Germany and online via The Whisky Exchange

Price - RRP of EUR65 (US$81) per 70cl bottle

Distribution - Pernod Ricard

Pernod Ricard's Irish Distillers has re-launched Yellow Spot as part of its Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey range, which was re-introduced last year.

The whiskey was originally produced, bottled and sold by Dublin-based wine merchants Mitchell & Son, which used to age whiskeys bought from John Jameson's Dublin distillery in their own casks until 1968. Thereafter, the Green Spot Irish whiskey was bottled by Irish Distillers, and is now joined by Yellow Spot 12 Year Old.

The whiskey will be produced annually in batches of 500 cases, and will be available in Ireland through Mitchell & Son, in France through La Maison du Whisky and in Germany through Irisch Lifestyle.

The division intends to introduce new Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey expressions each year.

24 May 12

by Martin Crummy,
Scotland's minimum alcohol pricing bill has cleared its final parliamentary hurdle today to become law.

The SNP government will set the price of alcohol at 50p per unit, in a bid to tackle Scotland's alcohol abuse problems. Under the plans, the ­cheapest bottle of wine would be £4.69 and a four-pack of lager would cost at least £3.52.

The move won broad political backing, although Labour refused to support the legislation at the Scottish Parliament. The passing of the bill means Scotland becomes the first place in the UK to introduce minimum drink pricing.

The Alcohol Minimum Pricing Bill, which aims to help tackle drink-fuelled violence and associated health problems, cleared parliament when MSPs backed it by 86 votes to one, with 32 abstentions.

Strong reaction has come from drinks industry as WSTA Interim Chief Executive Gavin Partington said: "Whilst the introduction of minimum unit pricing has been approved by the parliament today, questions remain about its legality and effectiveness in tackling the root causes of alcohol misuse.

"It is disappointing that so much time has been devoted to minimum unit pricing when there are many proven, effective and targeted measures that could already have been implemented by the Scottish Government to begin tackling alcohol misuse."

Gavin Hewitt, chief executive of the Scotch Whisky Association, said that today¹s decision to vote through the Alcohol (Minimum Pricing) (Scotland) Bill at Stage 3 is misguided.

Mr Hewitt said, "It¹s disappointing that the Scottish Government has pressed ahead with its misguided Minimum Unit Pricing (MUP) policy. MUP has consistently been found
to be illegal in Europe. We look forward to the scrutiny of both the principle of MUP and the regulation setting the price by the European Commission and the member states of the European Union.

"We expect legal challenges to emerge once the Scottish Government notifies its proposals to the EC. We hope the UK Government will take due note and drop its own
proposals for minimum pricing of alcohol.

"The Scottish Government¹s own research shows minimum pricing will not reduce the number of hazardous drinkers. It¹s therefore an ineffective policy.'

23 May 12


Two limited edition single-cask individually numbered bottlings of Lagavulin™ and Caol Ila™ Single Malt Scotch Whiskies will be released for the 2012 Islay Festival this weekend, Diageo has announced.

Like previous Festival bottlings, it is anticipated that they will be much in demand from enthusiasts. These bottlings, each a particular variant on the traditional styles of Lagavulin 16 year old (intensely flavoured, smoky-sweet, with seaweed flavours and a huge finish) and Caol Ila 12 year old (fresh, sweetly fruity and smooth-bodied with a sweet-smoky, lingering finish) have always been greeted with acclaim for the quality and interest of the liquids. Often selling out within hours of going on sale, they will be available to personal shoppers at the distilleries only.

Lagavulin Feis 2012 Special Bottling

14-Year Old Lagavulin™

The Lagavulin Festival bottling comes from a Refill Sherry Butt filled in February 1998, selected from Warehouse Number 1 by Iain McArthur, long-time warehouseman at the distillery. It has been bottled at its natural cask strength of 55.1% ABV, in an edition of 654 individually numbered bottles.

Tasters' comment: "A richly sweet and smoky Lagavulin with some medicinal notes and a subtle perfumed freshness".

11-year old Caol Ila™

The Caol Ila single cask bottling – hand selected by Billy Stitchell, long-standing distillery manager, whose family connections with Caol Ila distillery go back many generations – has been drawn from a Sherry Butt filled in January 2001. It enjoys a high natural cask strength of 60.4% ABV, in an edition of 618 individually numbered bottles.

"Caol Ila's characteristic maritime oiliness enhanced by a rich and sweet fruity character" has been the reaction from some expert tasters.

Caol Ila Feis 2012 Special Bottling

Sale conditions

The Lagavulin Festival bottling will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis at the distillery, starting on the distillery's open day, Saturday 26 May. The Caol Ila bottling will be sold with effect from Monday 28 May which is the Caol Ila open day.

Both bottlings are priced at £85 UK RRP per bottle.

During the Festival, a series of special events will be held at both Lagavulin and Caol Ila distilleries, including tastings with the distillery manager and warehouse demonstrations. There will be also be tours of the Port Ellen Maltings.

23 May 12


BEYONCE does Samsung and Armani, Chanel has Keira Knightley and Revlon has Jessica Biel.

And now The BenRiach Distillery Company has appointed Dumbarton-born Stewart Buchanan as its very own Brand Ambassador!

He'll cover both BenRiach and GlenDronach whiskies.

"Coming from a production background, I aim to spread a greater understanding of the different techniques used at both distilleries which give the whiskies their own unique character," said Stewart, formerly BenRiach's Production Manager.

A Brand Ambassador is the public face of an organisation who best embodies its products and services. And today, in an era of what communications experts are calling "conversation marketing", who better than Stewart who can talk for hours about his beloved malts!

He explained: "I was working in the Tobermory Distillery when Billy Walker and his associates bought BenRiach in 2005. He asked me and Alan McConnochie to come across to get BenRiach up and running and back to its original glory. I lived in the distillery for a month as I worked all hours of the day and night preparing to return it to production.

"Seven years on, Billy and Alistair raised the idea of me moving into the new role, as previously I've been on the road helping the sales boys and I think they saw the benefit of someone with such a production-orientated background being more heavily involved with the tastings and whisky festivals.

"I'll cover all markets in my new ambassadorial role, spending most of my time on the road. Our existing markets are growing, new markets are opening up for BenRiach and GlenDronach all the time and the company really needs this extra resource to support the ongoing development of both brands."

He added: "The type of events we attend are mostly with whisky enthusiasts who are really looking for as much information as possible, so hopefully I can answer most questions thrown at me."

Tastings can range from 25 people in the back room of a pub in Glasgow to 100 people in a conference room in Japan.

He's just done a tasting for the Glasgow Whisky Club who said: "Another amazing night and very educational as Stewart Buchanan really knew his stuff and an excellent introduction to the BenRiach and GlenDronach range for those who haven't sampled it before."

He's braced for some detailed questioning at these sessions from whisky aficionados.

"Someone asked me the yield at BenRiach which is a simple answer - around 410 litres of alcohol per tonne of barley. But then his friend asked me: "How many gallons per bushel is that?" - which really had me scratching my head! But I got there eventually."

Stewart's passionate about the whiskies he helps produce and revealed that he has three or four personal favourites.

"For special occasions, my "desert island" whiskies would be the 1976 BenRiach and the 1972 GlenDronach while my day-to-day dram would be BenRiach Curiositas alternated with the GlenDronach 15yr Revival - all extraordinarily great!"

21 May 12

Feis Ile bottlings:

Ardbeg Day, vatting of 2 bourbon casks finished in sherry casks. Will be available also at some Ardbeg embassyies. Price: circa £60

Bowmore: A limited 15 YO, 750 bottles, and a 1985 limited to 200 bottles.

Bunnahahbhain 2012 Special bottling

Bruichladdich: 2 special bottlings

Kilchoman 4 YO 100% Islay first fill bourbon finished in sherry casks. This will be first 100% Islay Feis Ile bottling.


17 May 12

Notorious Belfast prison reinvented as distillery

By Ian Graham

BELFAST, May 17 (Reuters) - A notorious Belfast prison that held Irish Republican Army inmates during the worst of the city's sectarian strife is to be transformed into a Whiskey distillery as Northern Ireland tries to reinvent itself and its struggling economy.

A wing of the Victorian-era Crumlin Road prison, which closed in 1996, will house the first whiskey production in 75 years in a city that was once Ireland's largest producer and will offer exhibitions and tasting facilities for visitors.

It aims to reinvent a building synonymous with Northern Ireland's so-called "Troubles", which held a young Gerry Adams before he became Sinn Fein President and the Rev Ian Paisley who went on to become First Minister of Northern Ireland.

After 14 years of relative calm since a 1998 peace deal that ended three decades of tit-for-tat killings between pro-British and Irish nationalist insurgents, Belfast is bidding to break its dependence on handouts from London by boosting tourism.

In recent months the city opened a 97-million pound ($155 million) museum at the shipyard that built the Titanic and a large new arts centre.

The government has awarded a lease to lottery millionaire Peter Lavery to establish a boutique distillery in a wing of the Victorian prison, a Grade A listed building built in 1845.

The former bus driver won 10.2 million pounds ($16 million)in 1996 and now heads the Belfast Distillery Company (BDC), a consortium of local businessmen who are pumping 5 million pounds into the project.

Lavery last year launched two whiskeys - under the Titanic and Danny Boy brands - which are currently produced for him across the Irish border in Co Louth at the Cooley Distillery.

"I'm delighted that we will be able to bring production of the whiskeys home to Belfast," Lavery said at the project's launch.

Irish whiskey, whose 19th century domination of global production collapsed in the early 20th century, has seen a revival in recent years. Exports from the Republic of Ireland increased by 60 percent since 2000, according to the government, although they remain a fraction of whisky exports from Scotland.

Jim Beam, the U.S. bourbon giant which recently bought the Cooley distillery, is to provide all the technical support for the new project, which will produce five and ten year old malt whiskey. (for the full article, click here)


03 May 12

2nd May, 2012 by Gabriel Savage,
Planning permission has been granted for a new whisky distillery in Ardnamurchan on the west coast of Scotland.

This confirmation sets in motion a project that has been planned by the Adelphi Distillery since 2007 as a solution to growing demand for Scotch whisky from markets around the world.

Since its own distilling operations ceased at the beginning of the 20th century, Adelphi's business has focused on bottling single casks of malt whisky from a number of other distilleries.

However when the independent company began searching for the best solution to meet the uplift in demand for Scotch whisky, sales & marketing director Alex Bruce explained: "We have always wanted to return Adelphi to its distilling roots."

Located 1.5 miles from Adephi's Glenborrodale Castle headquarters, the new distillery will be the most westerly in mainland Scotland and aims to become operational before the end of next year.

With no other distilleries in the immediate area, Bruce outlined the character expected to come from this corner of Scotland, saying: "Just as Islay has its iodine and Orkney a more heathery smoke, Ardnamurchan should be both maritime and sweet."

As part of a drive to encourage this distinctive style, Bruce added: "If possible, we plan to use Ardnamurchan peat in our traditional floor malting on site to provide these new flavours."

Initially the company plans to produce three main styles. Bruce described these as "a coastal Highland", which will be peated to around 20 parts per million, considerably lower than many Islay whiskies; as well as a "lighter peated version" and a non-peated style.

While the most peated part of the range will be matured predominantly in American oak, the two lighter styles will use ex-Sherry casks.

According to Bruce, Adelphi hopes to release its first "mainstream" whiskies at between five and eight years old, although he emphasised: "This will depend on how the makes mature." In addition, Bruce revealed: "We would also hope to release special single casks as and when they mature."

By building a distillery from scratch, Adelphi has been able to incorporate a number of environmentally friendly elements into its design.

The distillery's main source of fuel will come from a wood chip-fuelled biomass plant, supplied from the sustainable woodland around the estate. The site will also generate hydro-electric power from the river.

Built into the plans is a further collaborative project with Napier University in Edinburgh and recently established firm Celtic Renewables, which will see bio-fuel created using pot ale and draff by-products from the distillation process.

02 May 12

BenRiach Maltings

We are really excited to officially announce that the BenRiach Distillery is going to start making its own malt again. We will be one of only a handful of distilleries in Scotland with our own maltings. An update from our distillery manager, Stewart Buchanan:

As you all may be aware we have been working hard since the Christmas shutdown getting the BenRiach maltings back up and running. We have been going through the whole system and apart from the odd belt, bearing and a bit of elbow grease, all the conveyers and elevators are now running smooth. Surprisingly, after being shut for the best part of 13 years, the machinery is all in great condition!

The next stage is to get some weight on the system to see how it runs under stress. I have 3 tonnes of barley sitting ready to go for a whirl round the floors, and it will be great to hear its blood pumping and the old place coming back to life.
The Kiln is working well: the compressor started at the first attempt and when the fire is stoked up the old baffles and fan maintain the heat perfectly. The slightly harder job is to erect a scaffold platform on the underside of the kiln floor to do some maintenance on the diffuser and the floor itself. The maintenance is the easy bit, getting the scaffold in through the hearth is a bit trickier! All going well, it should all be ready in around 10 days maximum.

We also have been very lucky with the running side of the plant; the 80's brewer at BenRiach, Robert Fleming now the manager at Tomatin distillery, took a rummage through his loft and came up with some great information; old steep charts, floor times and temperature log books and kiln charts. Also BenRiach's ex maltster Andrew Anderson has popped in and given us more personal knowledge of the building - the things that can't be learnt from any book!
This is all invaluable hands-on knowledge and will make the learning curve not quite as steep as it could have been. The mild winter weather has been kind to us; all the boys have mucked in, giving up their weekends to cleaning and painting the place throughout. As a result, the place is looking great if I do say so myself!

We may also have been left some other things from yesteryear ....... As some of the boys worked late into the night painting around the steeps, footsteps and voices where heard over at the kiln area on the other side of the building. Thinking it was myself or Les, our engineer, they headed over for a blether, finding no one....They thought we had left and went back to the job in hand. On the second time they heard the noises they shouted over but no reply....On the third time, the paint brushes were dropped and a hasty exit was made! Was it the wind.....???

I shouldn't be telling you this story, now I'll never get anyone to turn the floor and stoke the kiln on night shift!!!

Until the next update, Slainte!
Stewart Buchanan, BenRiach Distillery Manager

30 Apr 12

Glenfiddich whisky family become billionaires
By Ross Davidson

The success of Scotch whisky has helped the family behind one of the drink's most famous labels become billionaires.
The Grant and Gordon family, owners of Dufftown-based William Grant & Sons, increased their personal wealth by £450million to an estimated £1.4billion in the past year.
The company behind Glenfiddich, which was founded in 1886 by William Grant, came second among Scottish entries on the Sunday Times rich list.
For the full story, pick up a copy of today's Press and Journal or read the digital edition now

24 Apr 12


Independent spirit company - Spencerfield Spirits has achieved their first nomination for an export award. They have been shortlisted for the prestigious Scotland Food and Drink Excellence Awards. Known in the trade as the food and drink 'Oscars'.

Spencerfield has been nominated for the new category of Export Business of the Year Award, following the successful growth of their business overseas.

Spencerfield Spirits has achieved so much for a small family run business. This has included investment and time in finding and working with quality importers and including navigating the complex import and labelling requirements of different countries.

Alex Nicol, Managing Director said "I regularly visit our export customers and agents. By meeting face to face we ensure our agents really know our product and calling on our overseas stockists - it inspires their sales team to promote our product."

Nicol further added "we regularly hold tastings and cocktail competitions in many major USA cities. We are sponsoring events including 'Tales of the Cocktail' in New Orleans this July and the Highland Games in Calgary, Canada.

The Scotland Food and Drink Excellence awards 2012 takes place at the Dunblane Hydro Hotel, Dunblane on Thursday 24 May, while Spencerfield Spirit Company will be the exclusive gin this year at Edinburgh International Book Festival.

23 Apr 12

A mighty strong dram

The Auld Enemy Dram is retailing at £195, and is now available to buy at Vino's Edinburgh stores and online at or via the Glengoyne shop.
It has a rich mahogany colour with a heavy and robust nose of hazelnut, prunes, cocoa powder and liquorice with BBQ spice. The palate is powerful with a good balance of red apple, raisins, wafer cone and subtle citrus. The finish maintains strength with increased fruits and dry spice.

New Tour....the Teapot Tipple Tour
This year Glengoyne is adding the Teapot Tipple Tour to its array of tours. This tour will have all of the fun of the Glengoyne Tour, but will be followed by an in-depth, tutored tasting in our sumptuous Club Room.
You will sample three unique, full strength and un-chill filtered drams beginning with The Teapot Dram - lovingly recreated in memory of the days when all "our boys" helped themselves to three large drams from the canteen teapot each day. All three whiskies are exclusive to Glengoyne Distillery.
If you feel like a tipple then find out more on the Glengoyne website.

Glengoyne Distillery appears in new Ken Loach Movie
Glengoyne Distillery was used as one of the filming locations in an upcoming movie from Ken Loach. The movie is released in the UK on the 1st June. See if you can spot the distillery in the trailer which has just been released.
Watch Trailer on Youtube

23 Apr 12

Exclusive bottlings for the Limburg Whisky festival
We`ve just received our this year`s WhiskyFair-Exclusives for our 11th festival:

Imperial 1995-2012, 17y.o., 53.9%, Refill Hogshead
Caol Ila 1993-2012, 18y.o., 56%, Sherry Wood
Tomintoul 1967-2012,45y.o., 41.8%, Refill Hogshead

10 Apr 12

10th April, 2012 by Patrick Schmitt,
In a story that would have made a pleasing April fool's day prank, Ardbeg has announced its plan to age Scotch in space.

Dr Bill Lumsden, head of distilling at Ardbeg
The experiment will test the maturation of "Ardbeg-crafted molecules" with charred oak in a near zero-gravity environment and the results will be compared to an identical sample aged on earth.

Although the Scotch was sent into the International Space Station in an unmanned rocket last autumn, news of the experiment was announced today at Edinburgh's International Science Festival.

The trial, which is being done in partnership with space research company NanoRacks LLC, is designed to test the interaction of terpenes and oak in space and on earth over two years.

This, say Ardbeg, is believed to be the first time anyone has ever studied terpenes and other molecules in near zero gravity.

As part of the test, the US team will monitor the maturation of the unmatured malt against control samples on earth in Houston, Texas at the NanoRacks' facility, and also in Warehouse 3 at Ardbeg Distillery on Islay.

Michael Johnson, chief technical officer of NanoRacks LLC, said: "By doing this microgravity experiment on the interaction of terpenes and other molecules with the wood samples provided by Ardbeg we will learn much about flavours, even extending to applications like food and perfume.

"At the same time it should help Ardbeg find new chemical building blocks in their own flavour spectrum," he added.

Dr Bill Lumsden, head of distilling at Ardbeg is unveiling the initiative today at the Edinburgh International Science Festival in a talk entitled "Whisky Wisdom – Scotch Whisky; Science, Art or Myth?"

He explained: "This experiment will throw new light on the effect of gravity on the maturation process. We are all tremendously excited by this experiment: who knows where it will lead?"

10 Apr 12

Comment - Spirits - All That Glisters is not Gold for Scotch Whisky
Author: Ian Buxton | 10 April 2012
The recent release of export numbers for Scotch whisky appeared to be cause to celebrate for the category. But, as Ian Buxton warns, the devil is in the detail.

According to figures unveiled late last month by the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA), Scotch exports continued to grow last year, hitting a record GBP4.2bn (US$6.66bn) in shipment value, up 23% on 2010.

Rising demand in both emerging and more mature markets has resulted in export values increasing by an average of 10% a year over the last five years. Scotch now contributes GBP134 per second to the UK balance of trade, says the SWA.

Exports to the US, the biggest market by value, broke the GBP600m barrier for the first time in 2011 to reach GBP654.9m – up 31% on 2010. France, the second biggest market, saw exports grow by 27% to GBP535.4m.

This time last year, we heard a similar story: SWA statistics for 2010 show an increase in export value of around 10% on 2009. The good news was accounted for by a variety of factors, the trade body said at the time: tariff reductions, increasing interest from younger professionals in newer markets in Asia and Latin America, and rising demand in both emerging and more mature markets.

On the face of it, both sets of figures are fantastic. To achieve growth of close to a quarter on top of a 10% jump is quite remarkable. Trebles all round are surely in order.

But, wait a moment. These are value figures we're happily patting ourselves on the back about. They take no account of inflation, which you may have noticed recently has been quietly growing. And then, let's not forget that most whisky isn't sold in British Pounds Sterling anyway.

(...) Perhaps we should remember that a (un)healthy chunk of the gains are accounted for by this 'hidden' devaluation. In other words, a paper gain that means little or nothing.

Overall volume might be a better guide. Sadly there isn't as much comfort there. The SWA's 2009/2010 figures reveal a 2% drop (we don't yet have the equivalent data for 2011) and a cumulative decline of almost 7% (over 6.8m 12-bottle cases) since 2007.

For the full article:


from subtly-peated malts to peat so thick you could dance on it, the four are sure to become firm favourites!

INTRIGUINGLY, BenRiach's revamped range of peated single malts shows the award-winning Speyside distillery going back to its nineteenth-century roots to give its twenty-first century customers a truly unique and authentic taste experience.

Back in the 1800s, the majority of Speyside distilleries were producing pungent, peated whiskies, but this trend changed in the 1960s when the US market emerged and a softer, easier-drinking style of whisky was preferred.

BenRiach was one of the first Speyside distilleries of the modern era to release a peated expression, with the 10 year-old Curiositas in 2004. The majority of the distillery's output is the more traditional, non-peated style that most people associate with Speyside, but the peated range certainly represents a unique selling point.

Over the last few months, the distillery has been working to come up with a revamped, definitive range of four peated expressions that will be available on an ongoing basis. The final line-up can now be confirmed as Birnie Moss, Curiositas aged 10 years old, Septendecim aged 17 years old and Authenticus aged 25 years old.

From subtly-peated malts to peat so thick you could dance on it, the four are sure to become firm favourites!

Birnie Moss is an area of windswept moorland close to the BenRiach Distillery and it's this wild place that gives our single malt its name. This is a younger expression of peated BenRiach, capturing the peaty, phenolic characteristics at their most pronounced. It's also something of a "first" under the new owners, as it's the first core expression that uses whisky distilled under the new stewardship of BenRiach. Initially launched around three years ago, Birnie Moss has recently been re-packaged to synchronise it with the rest of the BenRiach range.

Curiositas, the 10 year-old, is BenRiach's core peated expression and has been available since the company formed in 2004. Traditionalists believe that peated malts achieve optimum balance of peat-bittersweet and oak infusion after ten years' maturation, and Curiositas proves that point superbly.

Septendecim, the 17 year-old, was only launched in January and already has acquired a reputation for being a magnificent, moody, multi-layered malt with fantastic length. On the palate, it gives sweet, concentrated peat flavours which dominate from the start. Bold and intense, the peaty heart is united with honey-infused raisins, roasted nuts and a luxurious leather impression. Overall, it's a real robust heavyweight, full-bodied and beautifully balanced with enormous impact. Septendecim is non chill-filtered and bottled at natural colour, with a strength of 46% vol.

And completing the impressive quartet is the full-bodied and audacious Authenticus, formerly available as a 21 year-old and now available and re-packaged as a 25 year-old peated single malt. At 46%, it's bright, warm and amber gold in colour. On the nose, it offers elegant aromas of ripe pineapple, fresh mountain herbs and a profusion of sweet peat. On the palate, it's a fantastic fusion of rich peat and smouldering embers bound together by fresh herbs - oregano, aniseed and chicory in particular. Overall, it carries terrific weight and development which leaves a powerful lasting impression long after the glass has been drained.

Sales Director Alistair Walker said: "Peated malt whisky production only represents approximately six weeks' worth of the annual production at BenRiach, but the peated whiskies have become an important part of the distillery's portfolio as they offer something new and unexpected from the Speyside region.

"We wanted to offer our consumers a range of peated BenRiachs that would span the age range - one that would both allow the development of the malt to be charted and also be available on a regular basis. Hopefully, with these four expressions, we will achieve that."
19 Mar 12 Glenfiddich Janet Sheed Roberts Reserve Single Malt Whisky Goes under the Hammer for $94,000 at Exclusive Charity Event Hosted by Adrian Grenier

NEW YORK, March 16, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --

An extremely rare bottle of Glenfiddich, the world's most awarded Single Malt Scotch Whisky, sold at auction last night for a record-breaking $94,000, in celebration of its 125th anniversary. The bottle of Glenfiddich Janet Sheed Roberts Reserve, one of only 11 bottles in the world, shattered the record for the most expensive bottle of whisky ever sold at auction. The evening, held on New York's Liberty Island, was hosted by famed actor and environmentalist Adrian Grenier, with proceeds benefitting SHFT Initiatives, the charitable arm of SHFT, which was founded by Mr. Grenier to promote sustainability issues through the intersection of commerce, art & design, and communication.
This extremely rare whisky was created to commemorate the 110th birthday of Janet Sheed Roberts, granddaughter of Glenfiddich founder William Grant in late 2011. This offering has quickly established itself as the benchmark for fine and rare whiskies, with Bottle #1 fetching an unprecedented 46,850 pounds Sterling ($72,630) at auction in the UK in December 2011. Bottle #2 was subsequently sold for 44,000 pounds at an event hosted by HRH Prince Harry. The sale of this third bottle reaffirms the brand's position among the world's most valuable Single Malt Whiskies, and is a fitting tribute to the distillery's 125 years of pioneering achievements.
"We're so excited to have kicked off our 125th anniversary year in such an unprecedented and memorable way," said Lindsay Prociw, Senior Brand Manager for Glenfiddich. "Glenfiddich began its history 125 years ago when our founder William Grant cashed in his life savings to pursue his dream of creating the 'best dram in the valley.' The distillery he founded is unique because it is still proudly, independently owned by Grant's descendents, and that makes SHFT the perfect partner for the auction proceeds. They help contribute to the pioneering dreams of others."
Proceeds of the auction gala will benefit SHFT Initiatives. SHFT Initiatives is a sustainability-focused charity founded by film producer Peter Glatzer and actor-filmmaker Adrian Grenier. Its mission is to develop creative solutions to improve the health of individuals, communities, and the environment at large through the intersection of commerce, art & design, and communication. Like Glenfiddich, SHFT Initiatives is fully devoted to supporting sustainable business practices, as well as the artists, innovators and pioneers of tomorrow, whose dreams may one day have a profound impact on our world.
The event was co-hosted by Glenfiddich Malt Master Brian Kinsman who travelled from Scotland to oversee this auspicious occasion and kick off the brand's year-long 125th Anniversary celebration.
12 Mar 12

A Beijing court has rejected a petition by the maker of Scotch whisky Chivas Regal to strip a Chinese garment maker of the right to use the brand.

It's the latest in a series of trademark disputes in China that have also involved French luxury group Hermes, NBA legend Michael Jordan, and Apple Inc's iPad.

The Beijing No. 1 Intermediate People's Court ruled in favor of the Trademark Appeal Board under the State Administration for Industry and Commerce, which was brought to court by Chivas Brothers after allowing a Zhejiang Province businessman to use Chivas Regal as a brand on its clothing.

The man from Wenzhou, identified by his surname Wen, in 2003 applied to the trademark authority to register Chivas Regal as a trademark for garments, shoes and caps. Chivas Brothers challenged several times but was rejected by the trademark board, according to the Legal Evening News.

The board has said the Zhejiang man didn't violate Chinese trademark law because the brand is used in different kinds of products. The Beijing court said Chivas Brothers failed to establish that the spirits brand was "well-known" in China before the registration of Chivas Regal clothing in 2003, which would have been grounds to deny the application.

Chivas Brothers, owned by French group Pernod Ricard, also argued that the company has also used Chivas Regal on clothing. But the Chinese court said it found that the brand was only printed on the uniform clothing for the whisky maker's salespeople, not on clothing for commercial use. Source:

04 Mar 12

A FIFE drinks company is set to lodge plans later this month to develop £150m warehouse storage facilities at Cluny.

Global firm Diageo, based in Leven, is set to submit formal proposals to Fife Council around mid-March.

The company is seeking permission to build 46 warehouses for the maturation of Scotch whisky at Begg Farm as part of its ongoing expansion.

Potentially the project could create 200 long-term construction jobs and around 40 operational posts. But in order for the scheme to go ahead, it will have to overcome some planning difficulties as the land at the former opencast coal site is not zoned for industrial use, according to the Mid-Fife Local Plan.

Diageo wants to build the warehousing, which will take up to seven years, to boost increased production of scotch at its Cameronbridge distillery and cut transport costs to its maturation centre at Blackgrange in Clackmannanshire.

Richard Bedford, Diageo's Grain Distilling Director, said the new warehousing development is required following an increase in the global demand for whisky.

He said: "The value of scotch as an export to the Scottish economy is huge.

''I think sales are going to continue to grow over the next 12 years - that is how long it takes to make Johnnie Walker Black Label - and that means we need more warehouses.

''We wanted a big site and we looked at various options across Fife and Clackmannanshire.

"What this site has got going for it is scale - it is big enough for us - and it is very close to the A92."

Mr Bedford continued: "We have not been out for detail design or spec or tendering yet but the estimated investment would be £150m.

''That could easily be give or take £20-odd million as we don't know the outcome for the detailed groud survey or the plant we would want to install."

Alan Russell, chief executive, Fife Chamber of Commerce, added: "This proposal by Diageo to invest in a new warehouse facility in Kirkcaldy is further evidence of the company's commitment to Fife.

''This investment is important to the company and in the current climate, the new jobs are extremely valuable to the area.

''Whilst the proposal may be contrary to the local plan, plans can be amended, and I would hope that Fife Council will pull out all the stops to make sure this investment is secured for Kirkcaldy and Fife."

28 Feb 12

India-owned United Spirits Ltd (USL) has confirmed it is considering selling a 49% stake in its Glasgow-based subsidiary, Whyte and Mackay.

USL, which is part of billionaire Vijay Mallya's UB Group, said it was one of "several options available" to the firm to reduce its debt.

In a statement to the Bombay stock exchange, the company added no decision had yet been taken.

USL bought Whyte and Mackay in 2007 for £595m.

The Indian company has been struggling with debts of hundreds of millions of pounds.

The stock exchange move followed an India media report, which quoted UB Group chief financial officer Ravi Nedungadi as saying that there had been interest from "a number of private equity players" in Whyte and Mackay.

In the report, he denied any cash raised would used to pay off debt at Mr Mallya's troubled Kingfisher Airlines.

Loss-making Kingfisher recently had its bank account frozen for non-payment of taxes.

It has been talking to banks to secure funding so it can continue operating.

23 Feb 12

Chivas mulls new distillery after whisky exports surge

Chairman Christian Porta is planning for further expansion

SCOTLAND's second-biggest whisky producer is considering building a further distillery as drinkers in emerging economies continue to develop their taste for Scotch.

French drinks giant Pernod Ricard, which owns Chivas Brothers, yesterday said it is looking for emerging markets to account for 50 per cent of group sales in the next few years following last week's bumper interim results.

News of the possible new distillery from Pernod comes less than a fortnight after rival Diageo, Scotland's biggest whisky maker, said it was also mulling plans for a further site, just two years after opening a £40 million plant at Roseisle, in Moray.

Christian Porta, chairman and chief executive of Chivas Brothers, said the group was also well-advanced in its plans to bring its Glen Keith distillery back into production in 2013 on the back of the continued robust performance of the sector.

"We are almost there in reopening all our distilleries, with Glen Keith early next year," Porta said. "If we believe the Scotch industry will continue to grow, we will consider opening a new distillery."

Glen Keith in Speyside was established on the site of a corn mill in 1957 by Chivas Brothers, which also owned the adjacent Strathisla distillery. Glen Keith was mothballed in 2000.

But Scotch exports have boomed in recent years. At last week's results, the company revealed that half-year sales of Glenlivet rose 19 per cent, while the eponymous Chivas Regal brand was up 13 per cent.

On the back of this expansion, Chivas Brothers reopened the Allt a'Bhainne distillery in 2005, expanded Glenburgie's production by 50 per cent in 2006, reopened Braeval in 2009 and increased Glenlivet production by 75 per cent in 2010.

Porta said the group had doubled its production for blended whisky via such moves and the reopening of Glen Keith would further increase distillery capacity by up to 15 per cent. For the Full article, click here

21 Feb 12

Kilchoman Launches Machir Bay
Kilchoman is delighted to announce the release of Machir Bay, the first general release from the distillery. It will be available throughout 2012 and is a vatting of 3, 4 and 5 year old, matured in fresh bourbon barrels and finished in oloroso sherry butts for 8 weeks.

Anthony Wills, Manging Director, commented, 'Machir Bay is one of the most beautiful beaches on Islay, is close to the distillery and will give continuity of supply to our customers around the world. Each year we will add more mature malt to the vatting.'

13 Feb 12

Back me or miss out on whisky jobs boom'
By Catriona MacPhee,

PLANS for a multimillion-pound whisky distillery which could bring jobs and hundreds of thousands of pounds to a remote Highland glen are threatening to split the community.
Now there are fears that the project on Ardnamurchan might be scuppered as two local businessmen go head to head.
Acclaimed photographer Michael MacGregor, whose home and five-star holiday cottages sit next to the proposed development, is building a case of objection to take to planning officials.
For the full story, pick up a copy of today's Press and Journal or read our digital edition now

Note: Ardnamurchan is the name of the distllery planned by Adelphi, the indenpendent bottler.

12 Feb 12

Scotch myths: is our whisky industry really a success story?

Colin Donald
Business Editor, Sunday Herald
DEBATE last week about the jobs benefits of new infrastructure projects "leaking out of Scotland" suggests the looming referendum has already had one good outcome.

Old assumptions about the value of projects and industries to Scotland are under scrutiny.

A case in point is the Scotch whisky industry, a hallowed presence in the Scottish business landscape. Perhaps anticipating closer examination after being dragged into the political context at January's referendum launch by the First Minister, last Wednesday the industry's 100-year-old trade body, the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA), published a report Scotch Whisky – The Jobs, The People. It highlights the range of skills and training opportunities that whisky provides from the Northern Isles to the industrial estates of the central belt.

But the success of the industry is not beyond question. Although there have been breakthroughs, particularly in the BRIC markets, the volume of sales of whisky – a better gauge of success than sterling value – have grown sluggishly at best in recent decades, and in 2010 (the last year fully-reported by the SWA) declined (by 2%) for the third year in a row.

Growth has been dramatically outpaced not only by rival spirits such as vodka (see graph), but by comparable whiskies from around the world. Recorded jobs in the industry actually decreased in 2010, by 6%. And oddly for a product that, by definition, plans for the long-term production actually decreased in 2010 by 29 million litres.

"There are two big questions about the whisky industry in Scotland that need to be answered," according to John Kay, the UK's most influential business economist, and a former member of the Scottish Government's Council of Economic Advisers.

"One is how well is this industry actually doing and the other is how much does it contribute to the Scottish economy. I suspect the answer to the second is very little. There needs to be a proper debate about this, not just the usual self-congratulation to which we Scots are prone."

In a chapter in a recent book Scotland's Economic Future (ed. Sir Donald Mackay), Professor Kay, currently leading the Kay Review of equity markets for Business Secretary Vince Cable, writes: "Value added from Scotch whisky is reported as around £3 billion – about 2.5% of Scottish GDP – but this figure reflects essentially arbitrary transfer prices and export valuations. Wages and salaries and purchases of goods and services used in whisky production amount to only about £400 million. To this should be added the returns to beneficial Scottish ownership of whisky-related assets. With retail sales of whisky around the world totally perhaps £25bn, the Scottish economy appears to derive modest benefit from its most famous product."

Although others believe Kay's £400m figure is too low, his claim that only 2% of the global sales value of whisky ends up in Scottish pockets is an arresting one, especially as First Minister Alex Salmond hints that the export value of Scotch will be a strong bargaining chip with a post-independence UK.

But more than 80% of the whisky distilled in Scotland is foreign-owned (see graph), and the value of the vast majority of leading brands accrues overseas, from the Caribbean, to Paris, to Tokyo. Whether or not it is "Scotland's oil", it is mostly not Scotland's whisky.


The industry can point to whisky's relentless conquest of new markets (it sells in 200 countries); also its incalculable value to "brand Scotland". According to new SWA figures, 2010 saw big increases in sales to important new markets like Russia (volumes up 63%), China ( 23%), India (up 40%), and Brazil (18%). Global volume figures appear to be substantially up for 2011, and last week Diageo, owner of Johnnie Walker and many other iconic brands, announced that volume growth in Scotch was up by 8% and net sales up of 14%.


Richard Marsh, of economic analysts 4-consulting, is far more bullish than Kay about the benefits of Scotch to Scotland, and authored a report for the SWA. Like that body, he argues that the £25bn global figure represents worldwide retail mark-ups that are beyond the control of producers themselves. By his calculation the total annual taxes paid by the industry in Scotland are £282m, which at 6.5% of turnover, is four times the Scottish average.

He also points out that average wages in the whisky industry are around £43,000 compared to the Scottish average of £21,000. If true (there is some dispute), this is an impressively high figure given the industry's blue-collar component.

Marsh also thinks the industry is already taxed disproportionately to the rest of the private sector; to generate extra taxes to boost the national exchequer would be a bad move, regardless of big alcohol's ability to pay.

"Many of these whisky businesses were sold to foreign companies openly for a good price on the market. It seems slightly churlish that once the money is in our pockets we begin to change the rules of the game because we now think we shouldn't have sold out."


WHEN interviewed by the Sunday Herald, neither Cabinet Secretary responsible for food and drink Richard Lochhead nor Michael Moore appeared aware that full-year export results for the year 2010 showed that global volumes of Scotch fell by almost 1.9m cases in 2010, a cumulative decline of almost 7%, over 6.8m cases, since 2007. Both politicians pointed to increases in the value of sales increases, which although undoubtedly real growth, are seen by many in the industry – also John Kay – as a less reliable indicator of performance due to the effects of inflation and foreign exchange fluctuations

Global GDP has grown 10 times faster than the number of bottles of Scotch sold worldwide, despite Scotch's appeal to the new middle classes. Meanwhile non Scotch-whiskies such as Irish, bourbon, Canadian and Japanese, have grown 26 times faster.

Blair does not trust multinationals, with more profitable spirits in their portfolios to maximize Scotch for the benefit of Scotland, and is unmoved by statistics about millions invested in new distilleries and other plant – £1bn in four years according to the SWA.

"Investments in Scotland are always presented as some kind of favour or gift to the Scottish people," Blair says. "In fact they are a normal cost of doing business, designed to generate even greater profits from Scotch. What we don't know is if these profits are re-invested in promoting Scotch whisky so that it catches up with rival categories. They could go to promoting more spirits that are easier and cheaper to produce, like vodka, gin and rum."

Blair, who quotes Burns's "facts are chiels that winna ding and canna be disputed", has been accused of making criticisms without offering solutions. It is a fair point, but not quite an answer to the comparative underperformance of Scotland's spirit. Now, with the debate on the nation's future underway, scrutiny of the contribution that whisky does actually bring to Scotland's economy is fair game for detailed and disinterested analysis. For the full article, click here

10 Feb 12

Over 230 years of tradition, heritage and craftsmanship seen in a new light

Since 1779 we have been producing some of the finest and most perfectly balanced Single Malts. Such experience tells us we can't improve what's inside the bottle, so we decided to look at the packaging!

Today, we are delighted to unveil our new-look Bowmore bottle and gift carton to our friends around the world.

Our new packaging tells the story of both our magical spirit and our island home of Islay. We hope you like it and would welcome any feedback from you.

Warmest regards from all at Bowmore

08 Feb 12

-Employment report published-
A report launched today illustrates the diversity of jobs supported by the Scotch Whisky industry which directly employs more than 10,000 people across Scotland and underpins many local communities.
The Scotch Whisky Association's report The jobs...the people includes 22 case studies of employees from Glasgow to Orkney explaining their passion for their career in one of the country's most important industries. The jobs range from master blenders to coopers, to packaging and marketing; every one is crucial to the industry's continued success. The snapshot gives a flavour of the range of skills in the industry.
The report also highlights the long-term career opportunities that exist in the industry, whether in a rural distillery or a bottling plant in Central Scotland, underlining the importance for the industry to attract the right people to benefit the economy as a whole.
The industry is committed to training its people. The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) plays an important role in supporting skills development. Employees can gain formal qualifications through the Spirits Industry Vocational Qualification (SIVQ). SWA member companies are also currently taking part in a modern apprenticeship training scheme including coppersmiths, coopers, mechanical and electrical engineering.
Gavin Hewitt, chief executive of the Scotch Whisky Association, said:
"It takes only three ingredients to make Scotch Whisky – water, yeast and cereal. But behind that simple recipe are thousands of highly trained and skilled people who are vital to the Scotch Whisky industry. Our report illustrates well the dedication of our employees, many of whom spend their entire career producing Scotch Whisky.

"The report also shows how the Scotch Whisky industry is an integral part of many communities across the country."

04 Feb 12

Whiskey charts course from drink to biofuel

When it comes to green, Scotland has more than that famous lush greenery going on.

Over the last year alone, the country commissioned its first grid-tied commercial scale tidal turbine, signed lease agreements for five new offshore wind farms and dedicated £35 million ($54 million) in support of the marine and tidal renewables industry.

In fact, projects representing £750 million ($1185 million USD) of investment in renewables came online in Scotland in 2011, with a whopping £46 billion ($73 billion USD) still in the pipeline, putting this part of the United Kingdom on track to meet its ambitious goal of meeting 100 percent of its electricity needs with clean energy by 2020. All of which, you'd have to say, spells a pretty clear focus on the future.

Scotland's latest green innovation, however, draws on one of its rich cultural traditions, hailing back to between 1100 and 1300 A.D.: whisky (that potent beverage known elsewhere as scotch, and spelled elsewhere with an 'e').

Celtic Renewables is a new company recently spun off of Edinburgh Napier University's Biofuel Research Centre in order to commercialize a process for producing biofuel made from the by-products of whisky. We initially reported in 2010 about efforts in the lab to make a go at this as a business and now the initial focus, of course, will be on Scotland's £4 billion ($6.3 billion USD) malt whisky industry (!) and developing bio-butanol — a next generation biofuel — and other renewable chemicals.

Nor is the potential for this innovative process confined to spent whisky mash, as researchers have noted it as possessing "huge global potential" in terms of its adaption to other biological by-products. (Perhaps certain types of by-products found in abundance in, say, Milwaukee, Wisco.?)

This fermentation process makes use of the two main by-products of whisky production: 'pot ale', which is the liquid from the copper stills, and 'draff', the spent grains. And while oil production may fall off in the years to come, Scottish whisky production shows no sign of shortage any time soon, as the industry currently produces 1600 million litres (422 million gallons) of pot ale and 500,000 tonnes (551,155 tons) of draff each year.

Biobutanal enjoys a distinct advantage over other forms of biofuels in that it can be used as a direct replacement for gasoline, or as a blend, with no need for engine modification.

"The Scottish malt whisky industry is a ripe resource for developing bio-butanol," said Professor Martin Tangney, Founder of Celtic Renewables and Director of the Biofuel Research Centre at Napier University, in a statement.

He goes on to note that whisky-industry by-products could reduce Scotland's oil consumption and carbon emissions while also helping to provide the country with energy security, particularly in the rural and remote homelands of the whisky industry.

In keeping with the huge potential of this process, in Scotland and beyond, Celtic Renewables has secured Dr. Doug Ward, founder of Scotland's largest biofuel producer, Argent Energy, as its chairman, who in turn has secured "significant" private investment from Adelphi Distillery co-owner Donald Houston.

The initial research project pioneering Celtic Renewables' biofuels process was backed by Scottish Enterprise's Proof of Concept Programme, while the company has since benefited from a Scottish Enterprise SMART: Scotland grant to the tune of £70,000 ($111,000 USD) to assist in scaling up this technology and making it commercially feasible.

Scotland's Fergus Ewing MSP, Minister for Energy, Enterprise & Tourism said, in a statement, "Scotland's whisky has a worldwide reputation for excellence and generates huge benefits for our economy. It's fitting, then, that the by-products of this industry are now being used in an area where we have so much promise – sustainable biofuels."

He goes on to note that turning whisky industry by-products into raw materials for sustainable biofuels that can be used to power ordinary family cars is an example of the sort of the "innovative thinking" that Scotland excels in. It should also be said this isn't the only whisky to biofuels project going on either.

* Susan DeFreitas, EarthTechling,

04 Feb 12

New annual awards not for taste but for design. Kick-off in 2012 with an all-time Whisk(e)y Design contest.

The Whisk(e)y Design Awards are not about the content of the bottle(s): whisky, whiskey or bourbon,
it is about the bottle(s) and the packaging. WW WDA is a private initiative, an independent Whisk(e)y bottle and packaging design contest without any costs.
What is the gain for the industry ? Customer involvement. Recognition and visibility for all nominees.
Award winners will gain immortality and a place in history by an honourable mention on our website.
Who can enter nominees ?
Anyone, and for free. Whisky producers, brand owners, designers, distillers, distributors, importers, wholesalers, aficionado's, consumers, bartenders, you name it, from anywhere in the world.

The World Wide Whisky Design Awards are annual awards recognising excellence in pack design. Judged by an international public panel. you?, of whisky-aficionado's, professionals and consumers, from around the Globe.

Professional or consumer, let your voice count at:

Nominations, ratings and votes can be submitted by members, nonetheless I myself am looking for possible nominees to enter in the contest. If you have a whisky -bottle, -package or label-series, either submit it on the website or send me information about your nominee, such as press-publications, photo's and links to web-pages.

29 Jan 12

Whisky investors cheered by rise in values

Recent figures suggest it might be best to invest in whisky, rather than drink it.

CAREFUL with that dram – it might be better off left in the bottle, as Scotch whisky is now outperforming traditional investments, including the stock market and gold.

Figures from investment firm Whisky Highland show that some portfolios' value has risen by almost 300 per cent in the last year.

Three-year figures reveal that an investment in the 100 best-performing whiskies in 2008 would have risen by 163 per cent in 2011, while gold – which has soared due to the recession – rose 146 per cent. Diamonds rose by just 10 per cent, while shares and crude oil stock values fell.

Arthur Motley, buyer at Royal Mile Whiskies, said: "Collectors used to be interested in whisky as a drink and wanted a good bottle as part of their collection. Increasingly, people are buying as they see prices rising on eBay or at auctions. It is simply seen as an investment."

Former banker Andy Simpson, who founded Whisky Highland after leaving Bank of Scotland, said investors are only just starting to become aware of the value of whisky.

"It is expanding quite rapidly," he said. "A few years ago, you might have seen the odd bottle tagged on the end of a wine auction. Now there are a lot of specific whisky auctions held all over the country."

A total of 8,500 bottles of single malt – the most valuable form – were last year sold at auction, compared to 1,500 four years ago. The value of the auction market is estimated at £3.6 million and expected to rise to £17m by 2020.

Worldwide, investor and collector bottle retail sales are thought to total 85,000 – worth £44 million a year. The most expensive bottle of whisky so far is a bottle of limited-edition Dalmore, bought last year for £135,000 by a Chinese businessman in Singapore. For the full article, click here

25 Jan 12

Major Indian investment in Scotch

Whyte & MacKay are 'a long way from building a new distillery'
By Erikka Askeland,

The Scottish whisky industry is set for a multi-million-pound investment boost from India as demand for the tipple grows unrelentingly on the subcontinent.

Scottish Development International (SDI) has confirmed that a major drinks industry firm in India is planning to build a new distillery in Scotland in order to supply the growing middle-class thirst there for genuine Scotch.

And while India's biggest whisky maker, United Beverages, which owns Scotland's Whyte & Mackay, has ruled out building a new distillery in Scotland for the time being, the firm has pledged to invest in the expansion of two of its Scottish-based distilleries in coming months.

Mark Dolan, manager of India for SDI, said a "very serious beverage company" that has "been around for over 100 years" was looking at making an investment in a distillery.

Dolan said: "We see interest in India for investment in Scottish distilleries, and [a company] that wants to build a greenfield distillery." However, he declined to name the interested firm.

He added: "Whisky was once seen as the drink of the elite class [in India]. But the middle class is growing by 100,000 more on a yearly basis so demand for Scotch and malts is growing."

Meanwhile, industry insiders believe Whyte & Mackay's Invergordon plant in Easter Ross is ripe for investment.

A spokesman for Whyte & Mackay, which produces single malt labels including Dalmore, Fettercairn and Jura, said the firm is "looking at potential expansion of two distilleries in Scotland" but added that it was "far, far away" from being able to build a new distillery.

Vijay Mallya, who many label as India's Richard Branson, bought Whyte & Mackay for £595m in 2007 for his United Breweries Group (UB).

And while the firm last week reported a 63.78 per cent fall in net profit, dragged down by a cost increase in raw materials and higher duties in certain Indian states, UB received the nod from shareholders to raise up to $225 million (about £145m), through foreign currency convertible bonds.

19 Jan 12

BenRiach's Septendecim, its newest addition to its celebrated peated range, will be available worldwide later this month, the distillery announced today..

The new 17 year-old has been matured only in ex-bourbon casks and continues BenRiach's quirky trend of using Latin names - such as Authenticus, Curiositas and Heredotus Fumosus - for its richly-peated expressions.

The tasting notes confirm Septendecim - Latin for "seventeen" - is a magnificent, multi-layered malt with fantastic length.

The colour is rich summer gold with a freshly harvested barley impression.

On the nose, it's full of energy and vibrancy - a complex mix of fresh peaty aromas constructed around a central core of apples and toasted nuts dowsed in wild mountain honey.

And on the palate, it gives sweet concentrated peat flavours which dominate from the start. Bold and intense, the peaty heart is united with honey-infused raisins, roasted nuts and a luxurious leather impression.

Sales Director Alistair Walker said: "Septendecim is a real robust heavyweight, full-bodied and beautifully balanced with enormous impact. It's another fine example of our distillery going back to its nineteenth-century roots - a time when, unlike today, the majority of Speyside distilleries were producing peated whiskies."

Peated malt whisky production only represents approximately six weeks' worth of the annual production at BenRiach, but the peated whiskies have become an important part of the distillery's product portfolio as they offer something unexpected from the Speyside region.

Septendecim is non chill-filtered and bottled at natural colour, with a strength of 46% vol. Unlike the recently-launched BenRiach Solstice, the Septendecim is not a limited release and should be continually available for years to come.

17Jan 12


"As one of the world's fastest-growing spirits companies, Beam is excited to enter one of the world's fastest-growing spirits categories"
Beam Inc. (NYSE: BEAM), a leading global premium spirits company, today completed the acquisition of Cooley Distillery, the award-winning Irish whiskey producer.

The acquisition includes the Kilbeggan, Connemara, Tyrconnell and Greenore brands, as well as aging inventory and Cooley's malt and grain distilleries in Dundalk and Kilbeggan, Ireland. Cooley is one of only three sources for Irish whiskey and was the category's only remaining independent producer. The purchase price was approximately $95 million on a debt-free basis. Beam expects the acquisition to be earnings neutral in 2012 reflecting substantial initial brand investment, and increasingly accretive in future years.

"As one of the world's fastest-growing spirits companies, Beam is excited to enter one of the world's fastest-growing spirits categories," said Matt Shattock, president and chief executive officer of Beam. "We look forward to combining our whiskey expertise, brand-building firepower and strong routes to market with the experience, talent and passion of the Teeling family and the Cooley team to help take these award-winning brands to the next level. On behalf of the 3,200 Beam associates worldwide, we are delighted to welcome Cooley's talented workforce to the Beam family." Shattock added that Cooley's flagship Kilbeggan brand will join the ranks of Beam's Rising Star brands, which, along with the company's global Power Brands, are a focus for brand-building investment.

"Beam can do in 10 years what it would take Cooley, on its own, 30 years to do," said John Teeling, chairman of Cooley Distillery. "The market opportunity for Irish whiskey is now and it is substantial. Beam has particular strengths in the main fast growing Irish whiskey markets and so will be well able to take advantage of this Irish renaissance. It is a bittersweet moment for myself and the other founders as we cede control but, having rebuffed many suitors, we were happy that Beam, which is a pre-eminent whiskey company, will build on the strong foundations laid down over 24 years. I want to thank the staff, shareholders, and close colleagues who have been on the journey. It is only the beginning."

The Irish whiskey category grew 11.5% in 2010 to 4.86 million cases according to Impact Databank. The leading markets for Irish whiskey, according to Impact, are the United States, Ireland, the United Kingdom, France, South Africa and Germany. Cooley currently sells approximately 250,000 9-liter cases per year – divided among its brands, private label products and bulk sales to third-party customers – and has production capacity to support substantial future growth.

10 Jan 12 This is now official:

Morrison Bowmore Distillers (MBD), one of the major names in Scotch Whisky and producers of Auchentoshan, Bowmore and Glen Garioch Single Malt Scotch Whiskies, announces the appointment of Rachel Barrie to the newly created position of Master Blender effective immediately. Barrie will also head up the company's Spirit Quality Control and laboratory functions. She will join Morrison Bowmore's Operational Senior Executive Group and report directly to Andrew Rankin, MBD Operations Director and Chief Blender. Barrie joins the company bringing a vast amount of knowledge and experience having served many years in a similar role within The Glenmorangie Company.

Commenting on the appointment Andrew Rankin says, "Rachel is one of the most experienced Master Blenders in our industry and I am extremely delighted that she will be joining our team here at MBD. We have a very strong blending team within the company and this appointment will massively strengthen and reinforce our commitment to producing the ultimate in quality Single Malt Scotch Whiskies."

Barrie's background before joining MBD is steeped in the whisky industry. Barrie comes to Morrison Bowmore from The Glenmorangie Company where she held the positions of Product Development Manager and ultimately their Whisky Creator and Master Blender and was responsible for creating some of their award-winning whiskies including Glenmorangie Signet and Ardbeg Corryvreckan. Prior to that, Barrie worked for Macdonald & Muir Ltd as the Quality Lab Manager and for the Scottish Whisky Research Institute as a research scientist.

05 Jan 12

Sure, writing about food all day may sound glamorous, but sometimes this job is hard, people. For example, when we taste ArKay, the world's first alcohol-free whisky. First of all, the reasons for this beverage sort of make sense: due to religious or dietary restrictions, not everyone can consume alcohol. But that doesn't mean they shouldn't be able to at least simulate the taste experience. "We want everyone to know that ArKay is beverage that they can enjoy," stated Zeshan Ahmed, Vice President for ArKay Beverages, in a press release. "Our product conforms to strict Halal standards and the fact that it contains no alcohol whatsoever, is just one way that we let the consumer know we are respectful of their needs and beliefs."

However, this taste experience doesn't come close to mimicking what actual whisky tastes like. Our eight intrepid tasters were unanimous in that this alcohol-free whisky tastes, well, pretty awful. The smell alone was reminiscent of "shoe cleaner" and was "horribly offensive, similar to that of a litter box." The taste made one taster "want to puke." Another said, "This tastes like I'm licking a horse saddle -- I can't tell if it tastes like leather or shoe polish."

If you love the taste of whisky but can't drink it, we recommend that you abstain rather than trying this replica made from artificial and natural flavors. Sometimes, there's just no substitute for the real thing.

02 Jan 12

The whisky industry in Scotland, one of the most popular in the world, has not been affected by the economic downturn because of developing overseas markets, especially in India, China and Brazil, a report said.

Scottish whisky exports increased by 23 percent last year, Sky News reported.

Whisky has become one of Britain's biggest exports at a time when the country's economy was ailing. The drink is now worth over 4.5 billion pounds (Rs.370 billion) a year.

Every second, 125 pounds (around Rs.10,300) are being poured into the British economy through revenue and jobs centred around whisky.

'Obviously their economies are doing very, very well. There's a growing middle class which obviously has growing disposable income,' said Iain Weir, marketing director of the Gelngoyne Distillery, near Loch Lomond in Scotland.

'They are aspirational with regards to their consumption and I'm delighted to say whisky, and in particular single malt whisky, is very much on their shopping list. I think they very much appreciate the history and the provenance and authenticity that comes with Scotch whisky,' he said.

But there is also a concern that if such a demand continues, it could outrun supply.

Rosemary Gallagher, from the industry's governing body, the Scottish Whisky Association, says distillers were prepared.

'Companies have seen this demand coming and have planned ahead. Scottish whisky is a long term industry. So companies have invested one billion pounds in infrastructure in the last five years, expanding distilleries and opening new warehouses, so we're geared up for demand,' she said.
22 Dec 11 Scotch whisky group wins injunction in India

The Scotch Whisky Association has been granted a temporary injunction against two Indian companies that they claim have been passing off a local whisky as the genuine article, the trade group said Thursday. At issue are the labels and packaging of brands Royal Barrel, Glenmon and F&G. A court in Goa leveled the injunction against the makers, forbidding them from calling their products "Scotch Whisky" and preventing the sale of local whiskies under the name "Glenmon" or any name with the word "Glen." According to the court, the brand name was "dishonestly adopted by the defendants" who "misled the general public." The Indian companies are appealing the court's action.
22 Dec 11


the perfect midwinter malt

TODAY (December 22), on the winter Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere, BenRiach is delighted to announce the launch of its new 17 year-old Solstice single malt.

It's the Elgin distillery's second Solstice expression, following the heavily-peated Solstice 15 year-old launched this time last year which Jim Murray in his Whisky Bible describes as "spellbinding".

Just like the original Solstice release, this BenRiach has been distilled from heavily peated malted barley, then matured in ex-bourbon casks before finally being finished in tawny port casks.

The winter Solstice is the point at which the Earth is tilted at its furthest from the sun and it's the day of the year with the fewest daylight hours. Worldwide, many cultures regard the Solstice as representing rebirth and festivals...and Billy Walker's tasting notes confirm the 17 year-old is the perfect celebratory midwinter malt.

In appearance, it shows distinct rose characteristics, with a bright copper crest.

On the nose, lascivious fruits with a fabulous aroma of stewed summer berries including strawberries, blackcurrants and red currants. The berry component is richly locked together by a muscular peaty blast. Latter traces of fortified wine and grape-like qualities become apparent.

On the palate, initial dry-roasted nutty notes advance to become a heavy peaty affair. Subtle notes of dried raisins and candied fruit. Clean and very enticing with the dominant peat flavours lingering on the palate. Smooth and very long. A unique mix of fruit and peat which marry with extraordinary precision in classic proportions.

Sales Director Alistair Walker said: "Our new malt is a superb marriage of peat and fruit, a worthy successor to our 15 year-old...and just as spellbinding.

"With the wind howling and the rain battering against the window, it's a wonderfully warming late-night dram. The original Solstice was one of our most popular releases over the last couple of years, so hopefully the second edition will be as well received."

The bottling strength for the Solstice 17 year-old is 50%. It's presented in a rigid gift box and a limited quantity is available worldwide.

20 Dec 11


BORDERS MP Michael Moore has been globetrotting in his role as Secretary of State for Scotland.

Sales of Scotch whisky have reached a record high in Brazil this year and Mr Moore was in South America's largest country recently to press for fairer trade measures to make the product even more attractive there.

Shipments of Scotch to Brazil between January and September this year were worth more than £75million – surpassing the record total for the whole of last year, £67million.

Mr Moore said that while the last decade had seen a 130 per cent rise in export value to Brazil, he was keen for the country to reduce the negative tax impact on UK products such as whisky. Reform in line with Brazil's World Trade Organisation commitments would encourage investment in the market.

Leading Scotland's largest-ever trade delegation to Brazil, Mr Moore last Wednesday met Fernando Pimentel, minister of development, industry and foreign trade, raising these concerns with him.

Mr Moore told us: "The numbers tell the story of a growing demand for Scotch whisky here in Brazil. But from the people I've met here and the changing demographics of this country, I am very confident that the potential for future sales is much greater. That's why I raised the issue of tax on whisky with the Brazilian trade minister at our meeting in Brasilia." Source:

19 Dec 11 Jim Beam to buy Cooley in E71m deal

Independent Irish whiskey producer, Cooley Distillery, is to be bought by US whisky giant, Beam, in a deal worth USD95m (E71m).
Cooley owns and produces the Kilbeggan, Connemara, Tyrconnell and Greenore brands. It currently sells approximately 250,000 9-liter cases per year - divided among its brands, private label products and bulk sales to third-party customers - and has production capacity to support substantial future growth. Beam expects the acquisition to be earnings neutral in 2012 and increasingly accretive moving forward.
"Cooley is one of only three sources for Irish whiskey, and the only independent player, so this transaction is a unique and compelling high-return opportunity to enter one of the industry's highest growth categories," said Matt Shattock, president and chief executive officer of Beam. "We see the opportunity to leverage our combination of scale with agility to further build consumer demand for Cooley's award-winning brands, and to expand distribution off a relatively small base in key export markets for Irish whiskey across North America and Europe. Cooley's brands and distilleries have a heritage that's unmatched in the world of Irish whiskey, so they will be a great fit with our portfolio of brands with long and rich histories. We look forward to being good stewards of these iconic Irish assets. We are also eager to work with the Cooley team, led by the Teeling family, who have built Cooley with so much pride and passion, to capitalize on the opportunities that lie ahead."
John Teeling, Chairman and Founder of Cooley Distillery, said, "Beam understands whiskey. They have the culture, experience and global strength to enable the Cooley portfolio of brands to reach their potential in the fast growing Irish whiskey category. The renaissance in Irish whiskey, most evident in the United States, is now spreading across the world. Through Beam, our brands, built on quality, will be introduced to a host of new consumers. I am certain that the marriage between Cooley and Beam will benefit all."
15 Dec 11

Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival
3 – 7 May 2012

"discover the passion behind the world's finest whisky"

Festival Launch Date 2012

The online booking system will go live on Saturday 21 January 2012

Did you know that 42% of online booking sales were made in the first weekend, so it's really important to put the date in your diary now
if you want to be sure of getting tickets for the events you really want to attend!

We are receiving enquiries about events every day from all over the world and excitement about the 2012 festival is building.

Festival Opening Dinner 2012

There is some exciting news about the 2012 dinner – we are currently finalising the details and will update you shortly.

The Macallan have kindly agreed to host the gala 'Touch of Tartan' Opening Dinner at their beautiful distillery above the river Spey in Craigellachie. The menu will feature locally sourced and produced ingredients to compliment the award winning Speyside Malts, which are such a feature of the dinner. If you have never been this is one event not to miss!

Tickets cost £80.00 per person and include a three course meal, whiskies (and wine), entertainment and the announcement of the winner of the Whisky Awards 2012.

And finally

Help us spread the word!

You can follow the festival on Facebook or Twitter at the addresses below.

08 Dec 11


TALISKER™, the celebrated Single Malt Scotch Whisky from the Isle of Skye, is being given a new family identity as it continues to grow in markets around the world.

The single malt whisky itself has, of course, not changed.

What's new?

Powerful maritime photography on the new outer cartons and more prominent maps of Skye on both cartons and bottle labels now anchor the brand more strongly in its rugged island home and emphasise its Made by the Sea character.

Stunning photography

The wrap-around images on the new cartons were shot by Skye-based photographer Cailean Maclean, and feature stormy waves crashing against the Isle of Skye's rocky and mountainous coast. Cailean's photography transforms into a striking coastal vista when two cartons stand side by side. The images are reinforced by Cailean's signed commentary on each scene.

Skye's rocky coast stars on new Talisker pack

Cailean's photography features on most cartons, but the Talisker 18 year old carton carries an equally turbulent seascape image by Scottish photographer and Skye enthusiast Angus Bremner.

'It speaks to our roots'

Mark Lochhead, manager at Talisker Distillery on Skye, is enthusiastic about the new designs: "Talisker is made by the sea in every sense of the word, just as all our lives are shaped by the elements here on Skye. To have this captured in these new designs is exciting for everyone here. At the same time it both speaks to our own roots and helps consumers understand what kind of place Skye is.

"More than this, the strong impression I think the new packaging gives is of a family united, of all the expressions of Talisker now being brought together in one design family, so that Talisker can march forward strongly as a brand in its own right. And understandably, I rather like that idea!"

The redesigns were carried out by Claessens International, the drinks brand design consultancy.

Evolved label design for Talisker single malt Scotch whisky

James Boulton at Claessens said: " "The new Talisker designs are born of our experience, meeting the people at the distillery and seeing at first hand how Talisker relates to its home, the Isle of Skye. Armed with that understanding and building on earlier 'maritime' designs, we have added a richness of detail and a ruggedness to reinforce what Talisker stands for and what kind of place it comes from."

Phased introduction

The new designs are being introduced onto bottles and cartons progressively, as new stocks are bottled and distributed. Talisker 10 year old will be the first to see the new carton in Great Britain before Christmas 2011 and the revised labels will follow shortly in the New Year.

In Great Britain, for Christmas 2011, the new carton for the 10 year old will initially carry the RNLI flash that signals the brand's support for this famous British maritime charity. In some cases the new cartons will enclose the old-style bottles until stocks are sold through.

The new standard carton and bottle designs for Talisker 10 year old will then launch into GB and other markets in the first quarter of 2012. The new designs for other Talisker expressions will be introduced throughout the remainder of 2012.

At the same time Diageo has announced that from 2011, Talisker 25 year old and Talisker 30 year old will be available on a regular basis within the Talisker range – although necessarily in limited editions, and bottled at the traditional Talisker strength of 45.8% ABV. In the past, these long-aged expressions of Talisker have been issued at cask strength in Diageo's annual Special Releases series.

02 Dec 11


Scotch Whisky exports hit a record high as the Scotch Whisky Association unveiled Ian Curle, chief executive of The Edrington Group, as its new chairman.

After four years as chair of the SWA, Paul Walsh, chief executive of Diageo, announced the industry export figures for the first three quarters of 2011, which show Scotch Whisky earning £125 every second for the UK balance of payments. The value of exports over the nine month period totalled almost £3billion – an increase of 23% on the same period of 2010.

He said he was delighted to be handing over the chairmanship to his friend and colleague Ian Curle at such a strong moment for the industry.

Mr Walsh said: “It has been a great pleasure and a privilege to chair the SWA over the past four years. As the latest export figures show, the industry is enjoying a tremendous period of growth around the world, making it one of the most important manufactured exports the UK produces. That growth is also helping drive investment by the industry in Scotland and so benefitting both the UK and Scottish economies.”

Mr Curle has been with The Edrington Group – producers of the Famous Grouse – since 1986 and chief executive since 2004. He will lead the Association into an important year of celebration as it marks the Centenary of its creation in 1912.

He said: “I am delighted to be taking over as chairman of the SWA at a time when the Scotch Whisky industry is in confident mood. Scotch Whisky is an iconic product and it will continue to be a prime asset and export for Scotland and the UK. I’ll work to protect the integrity of Scotch Whisky across the globe and to advance its export success. With the support of governments at home and abroad to achieve fairer taxation and reduction of trade barriers, the industry can reach even higher levels. The European Union is vital to this work.”

He added that some future priorities for the SWA include completion of the negotiations between the European Union and India on a Free Trade Agreement which would reduce the onerous 150% import tariff. In the UK, a change in the current duty regime which sees Scotch Whisky being taxed more heavily than other drinks is long overdue. He said discrimination in the home market undermines the industry’s efforts overseas.

The industry will also continue to focus on achieving the ambitious targets set out in its environmental strategy published in 2009 which is committed to long-term sustainability. For example, an industry goal is for 80% of energy requirements to come from non-fossil fuel sources by 2050, with an interim target of 20% by 2020.

During Mr Walsh’s time as SWA chairman, the industry has invested over £1 billion in its production and manufacturing capacity in Scotland. About 10,300 people are employed in the Scotch Whisky industry.

The landmark Scotch Whisky Regulations 2009 were also introduced to provide more robust legal protection, particularly for Single Malt, against fakes and to help the consumer. Scotch Whisky has now achieved extra legal protection as a ‘geographical indication’ in many markets, including China and India, which means it is recognised as a product that can only be made in Scotland.

Gavin Hewitt, chief executive of the SWA, said:

“I’d like to thank Paul Walsh for his sterling work, his commitment, ambition and his encouragement over the past four years. I look forward to working with a new chairman and vice chairman.  Ian Curle will be taking on the role as chairman as the SWA enters a landmark year. Next year marks our Centenary during which we will celebrate Scotch

Whisky and look to the opportunities and challenges of our next century.”

Pierre Pringuet, global chief executive of Pernod Ricard, will be vice chairman of the SWA.

01 Dec 11

Dear fellow whisky lover,

I'm happy to report that the complete results of the Malt Maniacs Awards 2011 are now available, in the form of two PDF documents;

Full Score Card PDF - all average and indivudual scores
Jury Report PDF (14 pages, 800 Kb) - all award winners, legend, comments and more.

That's all for now - I hope you do enjoy the results. All winners will be informed personally over the coming days.

Sweet drams,

Johannes van den Heuvel
Editor Malt Maniacs

The gold medals wereL

GlenDronach 39yo 1972/2011 (49.9%, OB, Oloroso Sherry Butt, C# 712, 466 Bts.)
Karuizawa 1981/2011 (55.2%, OB, C#2634, Btl. 12/08/2011)
GlenDronach 39yo 1972/2011 (54.7%, OB for Taiwan, PX Puncheon C#2033, 450 Bts.)
Lochside 46yo 1965/2011 (52.3%, Adelphi, Limited, Blended Scotch Whisky, 499 Bts.)
Strathisla 1970/2011 (43%, Gordon & MacPhail Licensed Bottling, 514 Bts.)
Strathisla 1965/2011 (48%, G&M Single Cask for LMdW, 1st Fill Sherry Butt, C#3473)
Port Ellen 28yo 1982/2011 (60%, Wilson & Morgan, C#2033, 534 Bts.)
Glen Grant 59yo 1952 (49.2%, Gordon & MacPhail, Book of Kells, C#1134)

01 Dec 11

GlenDronach releases latest batch of single cask bottlings

THE BenRiach Distillery Company Ltd. has today (December 1) released the latest batch of single cask bottlings from its GlenDronach Distillery.

This is the fifth batch of GlenDronach single casks to be released by the award-winning Aberdeenshire distillery.

The five casks were bottled over the last few weeks and are available as of today.

The batch comprises five outstanding casks from 1972 to 1993. Three have been matured in Oloroso sherry butts, one in an Oloroso sherry puncheon and the fifth in a Pedro Ximinez sherry puncheon.

All five casks have been hand-selected by The BenRiach Distillery Company's Managing Director Billy Walker, and they all share GlenDronach's typically luxurious, richly-sherried characteristics, plus huge layers of fruit ranging from stewed pears to prunes, cherry, plums, apples...and even rhubarb crumble!

The cask details are as follows:

1972 cask # 716 / 39 years old / Oloroso Sherry Butt / 421 bottles
1978 cask # 1067 / 32 years old / Oloroso Sherry Puncheon / 417 bottles
1989 cask # 3314 / 21 years old / Pedro Ximinez Sherry Puncheon / 489 bottles
1991 cask # 2406 / 19 years old / Oloroso Sherry Butt / 530 bottles
1993 cask # 1 / 18 years old / Oloroso Sherry Butt / 507 bottles

All five whiskies were reviewed by whisky writer Jim Murray in the recently-published 2012 version of 'Jim Murray's Whisky Bible', and three of them scored particularly well, with a stunning 95 points or more, as follows:

1978 cask # 1067 - 95.5 / 100
1989 cask # 3314 - 95 / 100
1991 cask # 2406 - 95 / 100

Additionally, in his annual 'Review of the Year', Jim Murray singles out GlenDronach as the distillery with the most consistently impressive output throughout 2011 - to quote Jim: "... if there was a Whisky Bible Scotch Malt Whisky Distillery of the year, GlenDronach would be it."

Keep an eye on our website and Facebook page over the coming weeks for more information on these new releases, tasting notes and exclusive product photography. If you would like to receive more information regarding Batch 5 releases, please contact us on

01 Dec 11

Royal seal of approval for PIONEERING NEW Cooperage
£10million Cambus Cooperage brings ancient craft into 21st Century
His Royal Highness, The Earl of Wessex, yesterday (28th Nov 2011) officially opened the first new cooperage to be built in Scotland for decades, which uniquely blends craft and innovation to transform the centuries-old trade.

The new Diageo Cambus Cooperage near Alloa has been custom designed in close co-operation with the company’s coopers, drawing on generations of skill, craft and experience and combining it with the state-of-the-art British engineering - never before used in a cooperage - to dramatically improve the working lives of the coopers.

HRH toured the new cooperage and met the men whose jobs it is to craft around 250,000 casks each year - all of which will be used to mature Scotch whisky for Diageo’s world leading brands, such as Johnnie Walker, Bell’s and J&B Rare.

As well as meeting a range of time-served coopers, including some with decades of experience in the trade, HRH met with a Diageo’s apprentice coopers who are now able to hone their skills in a custom-built coopering school within the new cooperage.

HRH, The Earl of Wessex, has a long-standing interest in coopering and is an Honorary Member of the Incorporation of Coopers. He has shown particularly strong support for coopering apprentices and has even lent his name to the Incorporation’s annual Earl of Wessex Awards for Cooperage. HRH was joined on the tour of Cambus by the Lord Lieutenant of Clackmannanshire, the Rt Hon George Reid, who also has strong links to the industry, with his great-grandfather serving a coopering apprenticeship at Glenochil Distillery in Menstrie where he remained all his working life. 

Tom Duncan, a manager at Cambus was one of the team tasked with leading the new cooperage project and he guided HRH and the Lord Lieutenant on the tour.

He said: “It is a great honour for everyone at Cambus to have The Earl of Wessex officially open the cooperage, particularly as he has been such a strong supporter of our industry over the years.”

He also explained the ethos behind the cooperage: “It’s not often you get to start with a blank sheet of paper and design something like this from scratch. We worked closely with our coopers to maximise the craft skills which are the core of the job, while using smart technology to minimise the bending and heavy-lifting involved. It’s that blend of craft and innovation which makes this different from any cooperage I’ve ever seen.”

To achieve this, the Diageo team turned to Leicester-based engineering firm CI Logistics, which works primarily in the automotive industry, and together they custom-designed a series of mechanical conveyors to move the casks – which weigh up to 85kg when empty - around the cooperage between the hand-craft elements of the process. The result is the world’s most innovative cooperage.

Calum Bruce, 51, one of Diageo’s longest serving coopers with 35-years service, having started in the trade at age 16, explained the difference the new ways of working had made to the coopers.

He said: “A lot has changed over the last 35 years, but the basic skills have stayed the same. But Cambus is something different altogether. We still use the same skills to do the same job, but the difference is the machines now do a lot of the heavy lifting so we don’t have to spend time and effort on hard labour and we can focus on the skilled part of the job. That is what has really transformed the way we work.”

Brian Law, one of eight apprentices currently learning their trade on Diageo’s four-year apprentice scheme, also welcomed the investment the company has made in the future of the trade. He said: “It is a really exciting time to be learning my trade as a cooper. At Cambus, Diageo has an investment in the future of coopering and that’s also an investment in the futures of all the guys who work here.”

Richard Bedford, Diageo’s grain distilling director, who was responsible for the Cambus Cooperage project, said the increase in demand for Diageo’s world-leading Scotch whisky brands meant the new cooperage was a key part of the company’s overall investment programme for growing its production capacity in Scotland.

He said: “The demand for Scotch whisky is growing around the world, particularly in the emerging markets of Asia and Latin America. To meet that increasing demand Diageo is investing in growing Scotch whisky production capacity across Scotland. That means we need more casks than ever before, so the new Cambus Cooperage is a key part of the future success of our Scotch whisky brands.”

30 Nov 11

J. & G. Grant, in partnership with Glasgow based publishers The Angel's Share, are pleased to announce the publication of Glenfarclas – An Independent Distillery, by Ian Buxton. This biography of the family owned distillery has been commissioned as part of the distillery's 175th Anniversary celebrations.

Glenfarclas – An Independent Distillery is both the definitive history of the Glenfarclas Distillery, which was first licensed in 1836 and unusually has been owned and managed by the Grant family for six generations, and is also a record of a remarkable year in the distillery's long history, preserved for the future.

The Glenfarclas story has been bought to life by renowned whisky author Ian Buxton, delving deep into the character and provenance of the Ballindalloch distillery, and carefully presented by designer Jules Akel with original material from the distillery's archives and newly commissioned photography by John Paul.

Commenting on the project, Ian Buxton, said, "In an industry dominated by multi-nationals the Glenfarclas story is a remarkable and engaging one. I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to tell it".

Notes to editors

* To view images and a PDF extract of Glenfarclas - An Independent Distillery please follow this link;

* RRP: GBP 34.99 ISBN: 9781906476755 * Available online on at , and

29 Nov 11

Royal opening for Diageo's £9m cooperage

WHISKY giant Diageo's new £9 million cooperage in Cambus has been officially opened by the Earl of Wessex.

The site was developed by the maker of Johnnie Walker whisky in the wake of the restructuring launched in 2009 that saw it close existing cooperages at Dundas Hill in Glasgow and Carsebridge in Alloa.

Richard Bedford, Diageo's grain distilling director, who was responsible for the Cambus Cooperage project, said: "The demand for Scotch whisky is growing around the world, particularly in the emerging markets of Asia and Latin America

Read more on:

23 Nov 11 Springbank has just annouced the release of the new Springbank 21 YO for the end of this month. Distrubtion will be limited and the price will be £180.
23 Nov 11

What should I do if I'm served fake or supermarket whisky in a restaurant?

I was in a restaurant recently and ordered a Bell's whisky. The drink I was served was not Bell's. I know this because it is my tipple of choice.
I confronted the waiter, who produced the bottle and poured another measure for me to try. Still not Bell's.
I didn't want to make any more fuss than I already had as I don't believe it's worth ruining a whole evening over a mouthful of blended whisky.
So I put it down to experience. Then I read scare stories about fake whiskies. What should one do in these circumstances?

Richard Browning of This is Money says: Many years ago I worked in a pub, where the landlord would replace the famous-name whisky, rum and vodka optics in the public bar with cheap, supermarket brands. 'They can't tell the difference,' he'd say of his regulars. He was right, they couldn't.
Even the so-called experienced drinkers in the lounge bar had trouble identifying different drinks.
The landlord used to organise a blindfold drinking game in which he'd challenge his regular drinkers to identify the Guinness from a row of wine glasses each containing a different type of beer. They couldn't. He could. He always won. It was another scam.
It was, he said, impossible to tell from one small sip what beer you were drinking so he'd wet the base of the glass containing the Guinness. When it came to his turn, he'd simply feel for the wet glass and win the bet.
'Punters don't know what they're drinking even if they drink it every day,' he'd say.
And here lies the problem.
Unless you're a professional in the drinks industry it can be very difficult to know, and even more so, to prove what's in your glass.
I posed your question to Diageo, the company that owns and markets the Bell's whisky brand.
The good news is that it is extremely unlikely you were served a glass of lethal home brew made in a suburban garage.
Companies fiercely protect their brands and work closely with enforcement bodies including police, customs and trading standards to keep out the fakes.
A spokesman told me: 'I have spoken to our anti-counterfeit team and they have confirmed that we have not had any indication of any fake Bell's currently in the UK..
She added: 'Counterfeit is rarely a problem if consumers buy their products from known, reputable retailers.
'But if people are in any way concerned about the taste or packaging of the Diageo bottle or drink they have purchased, they should call the Diageo consumer care helpline on 0845 6014558.
So it sounds like your whisky was a possible case of 'substitution' as described above, where a cheaper liquid is poured into another bottle and passed off as a more expensive product.
'In terms of taking it further, you can either report the incident formally to us and we will inform Trading Standards or if you would prefer you can contact Trading Standards directly.'

Read more:

21 Nov 11

Fake drink detector is a winner
A pioneering way to detect fake whisky without having to open the bottle has won its developers two innovation awards.

As reported last week, a team from the University of Leicester's Space Research Centre created a hand-held gadget that can detect fake whisky through the bottle by using technology originally developed for space telescopes.

It involves using an astronomical spectrometer to measure properties of light on a section of the electromagnetic spectrum to identify different materials.

It is hoped the method will help save the whisky industry some of the £500 million a year it loses to sales of fake products.

The project won the Innovation Champion Award and the Most Innovative Research Project at the Food and Drink iNet Innovation Awards in Nottingham.

The judging panel, made up of food and drink industry experts, said: "Since news of the research was released earlier this year, it has created interest around the world.

"Not only does it have great potential for fighting the war against counterfeit whisky, wine and other liquids, it also has the potential to transfer to areas such as airport security."

16 Nov 11

Museum seeks stories on Gaston whisky

April Bethea,
A local museum is looking for stories about whisky production in Gaston County during prohibition for an upcoming exhibit.

The Gaston County Museum hopes to talk to descendants of people involved "in any way" with the making and distribution of whisky during prohibition, according to a message on its Facebook page. It plans to open an exhibit on the topic in fall 2012.

Anyone with information such as stories, photographs or objects they'd like to share with the museum can contact Stephanie Elliott at 704-922-7681 ext.104 or

The museum is located at 131 W. Main St. in Dallas, N.C. A current exhibit is entitled "Patriots or Traitors: North Carolina's Civil War."

Museum website:

A delegation from the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) is in India this week to push for fairer access to what could be the industry’s biggest market if the onerous 150% tariff on imported spirits was reduced. Currently, 250 million cases of spirits are sold in India each year. Some 140m cases of that total are whisky, but only 1.5m cases are Scotch Whisky. Although progress has been made since
2000 when the tariff was 750%, there is still a great amount of untapped potential. Gavin Hewitt, chief executive of the SWA, who is in India along with a number of directors from the trade body, said the country is a top priority for the Association. Mr Hewitt explained: “There is significant demand for Scotch Whisky, particularly from the aspirational middle class, but there are major barriers to trade to overcome. The key issue is the 150% tariff levied by
the Indian Government which means a £10 bottle of Scotch Whisky becomes £25 before it even enters the distribution chain. As a result of the tariff many consumers are going through the grey market to buy whisky and too often this ends up being a bootleg of a premium brand of Scotch. This means that businesses, government revenue and consumers are all losing out.” While in India, the SWA will be discussing progress on the Free Trade Agreement which is being negotiated with the European Union. If introduced, the agreement would reduce the tariff with the aim of bringing it into line with other markets, such as China where the levy is 10% or Brazil where it is 20%. An event will also be held at the residence of High Commissioner Sir Richard Stagg in New Delhi to celebrate Scotch Whisky receiving the status of a product of ‘geographical indication’. Earlier this year a decision was made to formally recognise Scotch Whisky as a product that can only be made in Scotland which means consumers in India now receive better protection from
fake ‘Scotch Whisky’. Mr Hewitt said:“Scotch Whisky being granted GI status in India represents a major breakthrough as it means discerning consumers can have confidence in the quality and integrity of what they’re buying.” The SWA is also holding a trade seminar in India on the Scotch Whisky Regulations 2009 which set out how Scotch Whisky must be produced, labelled, packaged and advertised.
The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) has warned consumers not to be taken in by a product which claims to be “the world’s first alcohol free whisky”. The SWA said there can be no such product and such a description is illegal in the European Union and many other countries. The SWA said it will monitor and investigate the sale and promotion of the product with a view to taking appropriate action. A company called ArKay Beverages has announced that its “alcohol free whisky” will be available from 1 December. However, the SWA explained that, internationally, whisky is understood to be a distilled beverage made from cereals and aged in wooden barrels. It said that ArKay’s promotional claim that the product is a type of whisky is illegal under UK and European law and in many other jurisdictions. There are strict laws in force in the European Union and many other countries defining what may be sold as whisky. Such laws are designed to maintain the reputation of whisky as a quality product and to protect consumers. European legislation prohibits – with very limited exceptions
-  the name “whisky” from being “used to describe or present in any way whatsoever” any drink other than whisky. Glen Barclay, SWA Director of Legal Affairs, said: “Such promotion is taking advantage of the high quality reputation of the product that is whisky - which is a distilled spirit produced from natural ingredients - when it is in fact just a soft drink with artificial flavourings. Not only will consumers be confused but such a product unfairly trades on the reputation of genuine whisky.”
14 Nov 11 Eastern promise – forecasted growth is driven by Asia-Pacific
Asia-Pacific is predicted to be the fastest-growing region for the alcoholic beverage markets over the next five years, according to The IWSR Forecast Report 2011-2016. It will overtake the Americas as the second-largest region for consumption and – shortly after the remit of the report – will surpass Europe.
The latest IWSR forecasts predict total spirits consumption to rise from 2.81bn cases to 3.32bn – a rise of over half a billion cases between 2010 and 2016. 85.9% of this growth will come from just two markets – China (63.2%) and India (22.7%).
The next five years will be characterised by the ever-increasing importance of emerging markets especially in Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, and much of South America. The growing importance of brown spirits will also be a key trend, as will continued, and significant, premiumisation although at a slower rate than previously due to a weaker economic outlook for many countries.
Premium-and-above spirits will rise from 109.35m cases to 143.07m cases. Vodka and whisk(e)y will account for 71.4% of total growth of the Western-style categories in the standard-and-above quality segments.
Growth in Asia is not just restricted to spirits; 75% of the growth forecast for wine consumption comes from China which is expected to add over 240m cases between 2010 and 2016. Total wine is predicted to rise from 3.32bn to 3.65bn cases – a rise of 326m cases by 2016. Strong growth is also anticipated in the US (+45.8m cases) and Russia (+21.4m cases).
While growth of wine consumption surges in many emerging economies, the stagnation of many traditional Western markets is balancing consumption levels. The share of the top 10 wine markets will rise fractionally from 70.6% to 71.1% between 2010 and 2016, with the huge growth in China being offset to some degree by falls in traditional producer countries.
Beer's share is set to rise marginally by 0.7% by 2016 versus other types of alcohol as demand grows further in the emerging markets of China, Vietnam, Brazil, India and Russia – predicted to be the five fastest-growing markets.
11 Nov 11

Tullibardine Ltd, which owns and operates the Tullibardine Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky distillery based in Blackford, Perthshire has been sold to the Picard family based at the Château de Chassagne-Montrachet, Burgundy, France.

In a joint press release today, both sets of shareholders were pleased to announce that a successful sale of the business had just been concluded. The sale of the whisky business to the French Group further strengthens their interest in Scotch Whisky following the purchase of the Highland Queen brand from the Glenmorangie company in 2009.

Michel Picard, Chairman, said today:

"The purchase of Tullibardine Distillery provides synergies and a platform for growth for our Scotch whisky business. Tullibardine is a wonderful Single Malt Scotch whisky and we look forward to working with the team at the distillery to increase the profile, awareness and sales of the brand over the coming years."

Alan Williamson, Chairman of Tullibardine said:

"The shareholders of Tullibardine are delighted to conclude a sale of the business to the Picard family. The business will undoubtedly benefit from the skills, expertise and distribution which the Group can create for the Tullibardine brand and we wish them every success over the years to come. We have been custodians of the Tullibardine brand for the last 8 years and the time is now right for us to hand it over and for Picard to take it to the next level. We wish them every success."

11 Nov 11

Suntory to sell ¥1 million whiskey

For the true connoisseur: A bottle of Yamazaki Single Malt Whisky Aged 50 Years, shown in a photo supplied by Suntory Holdings Ltd., carries a price tag of 1 million yen. KYODO
Suntory Holdings Ltd. has started accepting orders for a limited edition whiskey aged more than 50 years and retailing for ¥1 million per 700-milliliter bottle.

Shipments of Yamazaki Single Malt 50-Year-Old Whisky, limited to 150 bottles, will begin Dec. 13 or later based on orders received at department stores and liquor shops nationwide, Suntory said.

When the firm introduced in 2005 and 2007 50-bottle limited editions of the Yamazaki single-malt whiskey matured for more than half a century — and carrying a price tag of ¥1 million — they sold out immediately.

10 Nov 11

Non Alcoholic Whiskey?

"Don't Drink and Drive, Unless It's ArKay", the world's first alcohol-free whiskey, which the manufacturer claims it tastes just like the real thing.

If you're the kind of person who doesn't get why anyone would want to drink alcohol-free beer, so ArKay's whiskey-flavored drink is something you will probably never understand.

The revolutionary whiskey drink contains 0% alcohol, but its creators promise a taste identical to the real thing. It's "designed to allow individuals with medical conditions or with religious beliefs that prohibit alcohol consumption, to drink".

No more having to say no to a nice glass of whiskey just because you have to drive, you can go through liters of ArKay and not have to worry about passing out at the wheel or getting pulled over. After five years of research, the Florida-based beverage company developed the alcohol-free whiskey using artificial flavors and ingredients in accordance with European Economic Community (EEC) regulations and within the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations.

The so-called "Halal Whiskey" is also certified by the Islamic Food & Nutrition Council of America, which means Muslims can enjoy it guilt-free.

The Arkay website says "ArKay is designed for the socialite to the construction worker" with claims that the exceptional taste of whisky without the alcohol making a perfect beverage that anyone can consume and is suitable for drinking straight up, on the rocks, or with soda or your favorite mixers.

ArKay whiskey is set to Launch in the U.S. December 1st at a suggested retail price of $10 for a 1 liter bottle, and $4 for a 355ml can.

04 Nov 11

TALISKER™, the only Single Malt Scotch Whisky made in the Isle of Skye, is now the title sponsor of the of the Woodvale Atlantic Challenge, it was announced today.

The Atlantic Challenge, which starts next month, is the world's toughest rowing race. It will be known as The Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge. The race is biennial; the Talisker sponsorship will run for at least the 2011 and the 2013 races.

Details online at:

02 Nov 11

Master of Malt teams up with Glenfarclas for Movember 2011

Online retailer and independent bottler Master of Malt has teamed up with the legendary Scotch whisky distillery, Glenfarclas, to release a very special Charity bottling to raise funds for Movember UK – a charity dedicated to raising money and awareness for men’s health issues, specifically prostate and testicular cancer.
Master of Malt release a special Movember whisky every year (last year, Master of Malt raised over £2,000!) and this year should see even more raised as £10 from every single bottle sold will be donated directly to Movember UK. Of course, all the chaps at Master of Malt will also be growing moustaches throughout the month! (In the accompanying images here; you’ll see photos of the men at Master of Malt, before Movember, and after “shavedown”.)

The whisky itself was drawn from two Oloroso sherry hogshead casks and is 9 years old. Even at this young age there is a huge amount of flavour and complexity, and the single malt can be perfectly described as an ‘aperitif whisky’ – nutty and intensely savoury.

You can help raise money for Movember UK by buying a bottle of Glenfarclas – Movember 2011 from Master of Malt for £39.95.

Visit Move mber UK to read more about the men’s health charity
You can also support Master of Malt and Movember by joining their MoSpace team here.

27 Oct 11

The Tempest is coming


Or as we say around here, fàilte (pronounced 'foyle-ta').

We are delighted to announce the arrival of our third release of Bowmore Tempest.

A violent windstorm, frequently accompanied by rain, snow, or hail.

Every year we release a small batch of Tempest to bring you a little taste of a wild, stormy Islay day. Each non chill-filtered batch is a little different one year to the next but will always reflect our raw spirit and is reminiscent of tasting a dram straight out of the cask in our legendary No.1 Vaults here on Islay... A first fill Bourbon cask that is.

Our newest release of Tempest has delicious notes of Seville orange zest coupled with Islay peat smoke, sweet vanilla and barley sugar. We suggest you try it with a piece of rich, dark chocolate to release the sweetness and depth of the spirit - magical!

We are also excited to announce another new addition... The Islay Taste map. Working with renowned whisky writer Martine Nouet, we have created a map that explores and explains the very, very, different tastes of all 8 Islay distilleries.

Watch out for it coming soon on and


Old pulteney 21 Year old takes
2012 World Whisky crown

The most northerly distillery on mainland Britain and one of the most remote in all Scotland has won the coveted title of World Whisky of the Year in the 2012 edition of Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible.
The Pulteney distillery in Wick, Caithness, scored a record-equaling 97.5 points out of 100 for its 21-year-old Old Pulteney single malt. It is only the third time that a single malt has ever won the prestigious award, and just the second Scottish distillery to do so.
This year Jim Murray tasted over 1,200 new whiskies plus many more re-tastes for the latest edition of his best-selling annual whisky guide.
Pulteney distillery, which dates back to 1826, is located in the heart of Wick and is much prized as a blending whisky. It is still relatively unknown as a single malt.
But Mr Murray, who has long admired the Highland malt, hopes that will now change - though he is the first to admit that even he was surprised when he encountered the 21-year-old.
He said: “I was on the home straight after four months of continuous tasting. By that time I was pretty sure I knew what the winner was going to be. With what I still had to taste it needed something exceptional to knock the leader off its perch. But that’s exactly what happened. To be honest, I was amazed. I knew the Old Pulteney 17-year-old was likely to be exceptional, and it was. However, I had never come across a Pulteney 21-year-old like it. Talk about coming out of leftfield….
“I first went to Pulteney nearly 25 years ago and I have never known them to produce anything other than top rate malt. Owned by a relatively small company, without the financial muscle of the major whisky barons to market their malts on the global stage, I hope that this award helps Pulteney to become better known around the world; that is the whole point of my Whisky Bible, after all”.
Second and third Whiskies of the World went to went to US bourbons George T. Stagg and Parker’s Heritage collection Wheated Mash Bill Bourbon Aged 10 years, respectively.

In picking up the second placed title with its bourbon brand George T. Stagg, Buffalo Trace distillers continues to outperform all other competitors in the World Whisky Awards, which were first presented in1994.  Since this date, Buffalo Trace has won no fewer than seven top awards including three World Whisky of the Year titles and this year’s runner up place for its George T. Stagg bourbon.  “Buffalo Trace continues to be one of the greatest distilleries in the world today”, continues Mr Murray.  “Their ability, drive, and passion to produce whiskies of the highest quality year in, year out, without exception is truly and unreservedly astonishing’.


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