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Monday 23 August 2021


With each year, the number of distilleries in Scotland keeps increasing, pushing up the demand for not just single malt Scotch whiskies created in the classic mould, but also young Scotch whiskies created in a non-conformal mode. These distilleries deliver the essential requirements using advanced concepts, people-fuelled ideas and crowd-sourced funds. This is the third post on new distilleries and I recommend that you read the first two that are posted as disparate and complete articles. You may read the first post of 2019 at this link and its sequel of just a year ago, 2021, at this link. The two posts referred to are also interlinked. What do 2022-23 have in store for us? Read on...


Wolfcraig will be a world-class, succinctly 21st-century distillery built on rich expertise. It will blend tradition and modern innovation to create the perfect malt. Incremental improvements will be made across the distillation process to ensure perfection of product in all malt and premium spirit lines.

It will be born of a rich heritage but will aim to evolve the traditional distillery models to create a distinctly contemporary product.

Wolfcraig will introduce pioneering blockchain technology throughout its supply chain. The highest standard in providing strict supervision and safeguarding, blockchain will ensure immutable monitoring and proof of provenance, and authenticity for both the craft and product – from barley to bottle – driving value.

This guarantee of Wolfcraig authenticity will be easily accessed on their labelling through simple QR codes.


Wolfcraig will be built upon traditional skills, proud heritage, environmental innovation but with a contemporary vision.

The architecture of the Distillery will echo the ethos of the product – Proud Heritage, Cutting Edge Vision. The founders have worked closely with the landowner and the local council planning department to ensure the building becomes part of its natural environment.

Working with Forsyths of Rothes, the gold standard for distillation engineering, Wolfcraig will become one of the nation’s largest boutique distilleries, with the capacity to produce 1.5 million litres of alcohol annually.

The Legend

Legend has it that Norse invaders looked set to attack a small garrison of Celts who had settled on the banks of the wild Forth River. As they crept through the cover of night, one stumbling Norseman trod on the paw of a wolf-cub who, startled from slumber, howled for his mother who in turn sounded the alarm for her mate.

The howls of the pack wakened the sleeping garrison who called their men to battle and fought to save their position on the rock. The Vikings fled both the men and the beasts, and in honour of their glorious and unexpected victory, Wolfcraig takes its name from the courageous heart of a wolf cub. The inspiration that runs through the very foundations of this Distillery today.

Moving forward again in the chapters of our nation’s rich history, Modern Scotland itself was born on the banks of the Forth through the storm and steel of patriotic figureheads such as Robert the Bruce. Where better to build a home for Wolfcraig… As a nod to the history and legend which surrounds Stirling, Wolfcraig Distillery will bring these legends back to life, through the Wolfcraig Single Malt Expressions, with each Expression inspired by iconic Scottish heroes.

The distillery

Wolfcraig Distillery is passionate about Scotch Whisky and has great plans for it’s future. The company is led by globally recognised industry experts and includes 4 Masters of the Quaich.

These experts share the vision of creating 21st century distillery in the heart of Scotland that aims to disrupt the traditional distillery model by infusing rich heritage with digital technologies created specifically to ensure provenance and authenticity. Wolfcraig aims to redefine the placing of Scotch in the traditional whisky market whilst securing its place in the fast growing consumer market for generations to come.


Long term success will depend upon the conservation of the natural environment and they will ensure that a clean, green, sustainable business model is at the core of building their legacy.

Wolfcraig will lead by example with environmental innovation and best practice, ensuring that all areas of production and business administration use renewable sources where possible. The objective is to create a carbon-free distillery from the outset.

In addition, the team will work closely with Zero Waste Scotland and their Circular Economy Team, to ensure that all by-products will be recycled in sustainable industries.


In Stirling, the team behind Wolfcraig Distillery has announced that the facility will now be constructed at the Craigforth Campus in the city. The £15m distillery and visitor centre was due to be built on the outskirts of the city but plans were changed since the new location has better links to public transport and is much closer to the heart of Stirling, making it easier for visitors and tourists to access the distillery. Craigforth Campus is on the site of the former Prudential headquarters and is being redeveloped by property firm Ambassador Group.

St Boswells Distillery

100% Scottish Spirit: First and only grain whisky distillery in the Scottish Borders.


Jackson Distillers has submitted plans for a £45 million distillery in the Scottish Borders named Boswells Distillery, which will produce grain whisky for the blending industry and grain neutral spirit for gin and vodka production.

The distillery, born out of Charlesfield Farm in the Scottish Borders, will be the first, and only Scottish Borders based producer of single grain whisky spirit and grain neutral spirit using 100% Scottish water and cereals of proven traceable origin. The company – which includes former Glenmorangie and Diageo executives – claims the state-of-the-art facility will be the lowest carbon and most resource-efficient grain distillery in Scotland, capable of producing 20 million litres of pure alcohol a year.

As an independent, the distillery’s No.1 priority is to supply grain spirit to independent distilleries, to relieve doubt about supply. The primary product from the distillery will be a quality Scotch Grain Whisky perfect for use in Premium Blended Scotch Whiskies. The spirit will be produced using fully traceable Scottish grown barley and wheat.

A small volume of new make spirit will be laid down in a variety of high quality casks to produce a range of Single Grain brands. The distillery will also produce a premium low methanol Grain Neutral Spirit (GNS) for use in all white spirit drinks. The GNS will also only use fully traceable Scottish cereals, ideal for the growing Scottish Gin market.

The distillery is designed to have the capability to run campaigns of a variety of Scottish cereals.  This will enable them to offer spirit produced from rye, oats or other grains. They will also be certified to produce organic and kosher spirits.  As an independent, they can be flexible to produce what customers demand. The distillery will produce two by-products: distillers syrup and draff, both ideal for use as feedstock for anaerobic digestion and as animal feed.

Charlesfield Industrial Estate in the heart of the Scottish Borders is the ideal location. The new distillery will be sited on land at Charlesfield, St Boswells, near Melrose. It will create new jobs and utilise their own renewable energy. The proximity to the production areas of wheat and barley shortens the distance of travel for the raw materials, keeping haulage and carbon costs down, and the easy access to the trunk road network to the north and south allows the spirit access to markets not just in Scotland but in the rest of the UK.

The availability of space to create warehousing will allow cost effective maturation of the spirit on site for our own spirit and also allows customers to purchase product for storage and maturation at JDL.

The venture brings significant benefits to the local Scottish Borders economy by using local suppliers for grain, providing new employment opportunities, and it will do so with minimal impact on the environment through recycling production by-products such as spent lees (to be used in the adjacent AD plant, and for use as cattle feed to local farmers), and where possible recycling water used in the distillation process. The main supply of water for the distillery will come from a spring that will be bored on land which will form part of the distillery ground, with the bore hole perfectly situated under the mash house.

To ensure the distillery produces consistent high-quality spirits, they will make sure all processes from cereal purchasing to distillation follow a number of standards and controls. All cereals will be only purchased from farms which are members of the Scottish Quality Cereals Association. This will ensure fully traceability on key ingredients.

Plans for the site – at Charlesfield Industrial Estate in Melrose – are under consideration by Scottish Borders Council.

Moffat Distillery


In 2006 Thai company Pacific Spirits, part of the Great Oriole Group, soon to be known as Thaibev, acquired Inver House Distillers, a US drinks company that had built the Moffat Distilleries complex three miles from Airdrie. These distilleries were shuttered by 1986. Only Inver House office complexes remain.

Dark Sky Spirits was granted planning permission on 27 Jan 2020 to build its whisky distillery in the Scottish town of Moffat. There is no connection with Thaibev. At the Moffat site, Dark Sky Spirits plans to construct a distillery and visitor centre, which is expected to entice up to 9,000 visitors in its first year. Moffat distillery will also house a retail unit and tasting rooms and will offer parking for 22 vehicles.

Dark Sky received £320,000 (US$415,000) in funding to build the facility. The investment will be used to construct the distillery and a bonded warehouse, which will help reduce bottling and transportation costs, and begin blending. Construction on the site will start later, given the pandemic and distillation will follow. The proposed site, off Old Carlisle Road in Moffat, will allow Dark Sky Spirits to produce 60,000 litres of pure alcohol in its first year.

The new distillery, nestled in the hills of Moffat, is thought to be the first legal distillery to operate in Moffat. The product is named after Moffat’s status as Europe’s first dark sky town, a title awarded to Moffat due to the installation of eco-friendly street lighting that keeps light pollution to a minimum. The construction of the new site will allow the business to produce its first single malt. Dark Sky has been making The Moffat blended malt whisky off-site since 2018.

Distillation is expected to begin in early 2022, and the single malt will be matured for seven years before it is tasted. The name of the inaugural whisky is yet to be revealed. In the meantime, the distillery will continue to blend whisky, and develop other spirits and liqueurs. It will also offer new expressions under its Local Dram brand, including Doonhamer and Muckletoon, as well as whiskies from every corner of the country.  

This year, Dark Sky Spirits has broken ground on the Moffat Distillery. The new distillery, due to begin production 2022, will allow the company to add its own single malt to its portfolio, as well as offering tours and tastings to whisky fans.

The distillery will operate what it claims is Scotland’s only direct wood-fired still, which will offer a signature flavour for the whisky and create a sustainable production process, according to the founders.  Furthermore, Dark Sky Spirits plans to create a ‘makers marketplace’ on its site, a dedicated creative space for local producers to work together and share ideas. The Dark Sky Spirits team hope to offer ‘hard hat’ tours in late 2022, ahead of the public launch. Once open, the new site will offer tours, tastings, workshops and a whisky bar.

Midhope Castle Distillery

Midhope Castle is a 16th-century tower house in Scotland. It is situated in the hamlet of Abercorn on the Hopetoun estate, About 4 kilometres (2.5 mi) to the west of South Queensferry, on the outskirts of Edinburgh. Midhope Castle is featured as a location in the Outlander TV series on Starz as the main character Jamie Fraser’s family home called Lallybroch but also known as Broch Tuarach.

Former Diageo director Ken Robertson and the owners of high-end whisky bottler Golden Decanters are behind plans to build a malt distillery on Hopetoun Estate near Queensferry. Robertson is listed as a director of Midhope Castle Distillery Company along with Julia Hall Mackenzie-Gilanders and Ann Medlock. The planning application submitted by 56three Architects for a new malt distillery on the historic Hopetoun Estate at Midhope, West Lothian, on behalf of Golden Decanters, has been approved. 56three worked very closely with Rankin Fraser Landscape Architects to ensure that the new building will sit sensitively within the existing landscape setting.

Fans of Outlander flock to the site in their thousands, but can only currently visit the grounds to take pictures of the castle. Once the development is complete, these visitors will be able to access the repaired parts of the castle, which are set to be revamped to include tasting, meeting and dining rooms. Initial work is expected to be completed in 2022 with further renovation and repairs to the castle (including accommodation) to take place once the business is established. Midhope Castle grounds will be home to a new whisky distillery. As well as building a distillery, the plans include details on restoring the castle, which is currently an empty shell, to eventually include visitor accommodation. The plans, which were approved on 13 April, show the site will include a 2850sqm distillery building, service buildings, landscaping, an access road and parking.

The Midhope Castle Distillery Company said the contemporary distillery is to be positioned within a carefully designed landscape drawing inspiration from historic features. Immediately adjacent to the distillery site is Midhope Castle, a 16th century tower house which is presently an empty shell. It is intended that the distillery development will lead to a longer-term project involving the significant restoration and return to use of Midhope Castle and its immediate grounds. Hopetoun Estate has a long tradition of growing and supplying malting barley for the Scotch Whisky industry and the new distillery would use exclusively estate-grown barley. It would also reflect the estate’s commitment to environmental sustainability.


Islands Single Malt Scotch Whisky

This community-focussed project led by an Anglo-American musicologist is the first commercial distillery to be built on the island of Harris.

The ‘social distillery’ is a true island distillery, run by the local community for the local community. All the cows on Harris are fed for free on the distillery’s draff; work experience placements are offered to school children during the summer; local artists’ work feature within its walls and the visitor centre plays home to book readings.

The only style of whisky fit for a distillery like this is a complex island malt, lightly peated with additional layers of flavour from a cloudy wort and long fermentations. Of course maturation takes place completely on the island, predominantly in ex-Bourbon casks with some oloroso Sherry butts.

The single malt will be bottled as The Hearach (a Harris islander), which won’t be ready for some time, but expect it to be full-bodied, fruity and with a touch of that salty, windswept Hebridean character island malts are famous for.

The first cask with 516 bottles is slated for opening late 2023, with a steady stream of bottling throughout the year. The whisky is expected to be 46 per cent ABV with an opening price of ~65£.

Thursday 19 August 2021


 Port Dundas Distillery

The former Lowland Whisky distillery Port Dundas was in the centre of Glasgow on the Forth-Clyde Canal, framed by various parks. It was a landmark, even though not many people actually knew what it was. It was built in 1811 at the highest point in the city next to the banks of the Forth & Clyde Canal. Another distillery, Cowlairs, started operation soon after and in 1860 the two sites – by then both with Coffey stills installed – merged. In 1877, Port Dundas was one of the founding members of the grain distillers’ conglomerate DCL.

With its good transport links and prime location in the city, which had become the blending powerhouse of Scotland, Port Dundas grew in size to become the largest distillery in Scotland. By 1885, its three Coffey and five pot stills were producing over two million gallons a year and, in an approach we’d today label as innovative, was using ‘American corn’, barley, and rye.

Its neighbour, Dundashill (which itself would be absorbed within the complex in 1902), was at that time the largest pot still distillery in the world, its two wash stills and 10 spirit stills making both double- and triple-distilled malt, peated and unpeated. There was a cooperage, housed in the former Dundashill building, and a piggery – the swine being fed on draff.  The whole site was topped by a 138-metre brick chimney, for a time the highest in the world.

Two fires at the start of the 20th century didn’t stop it for long, though by the 1970s it was in need of modernisation. At that point, production increased once more and a dark grains plant was installed.

In 2010 however its owner Diageo decided to concentrate its grain production at the vastly expanded Cameronbridge. Although there were offers from rival distillers to buy Port Dundas they foundered – possibly because of the potential cost of another upgrade. In 2011, production ceased and the site was demolished. The landmark had gone.


Port Dundas is considered a full-bodied, characterful and heavy grain whisky that become a little lighter in the final few years of the distillery. As a classic Diageo distillery, it has always contributed significantly to their numerous blends. Haig, White Horse and Johnnie Walker, among others, were supplied with their grain whisky.

The three Coffey stills once produced an impressive 39 million litres of whisky per year. Today the equipment is dismantled and the buildings are torn down. Original bottlings by the owner are extremely rare, but every now and then one or the other worthwhile bottling from one of the numerous independent bottlers appears.


Port Dundas was founded in 1817 as a malt distillery, but a short time later it was converted into a grain still and equipped with Coffey stills. The inventor of the still, Aeneas Coffey, is said to be responsible for this. The pioneer of this distillation variant presented it there personally.

From 1860 the distillery cooperated with the Cowlairs distillery and from 1877 Port Dundas was one of the founding members of the Distillers Company Limited (DCL) and developed into the largest distillery in Scotland at the time. In 2010, the owner Diageo decided to close the distillery and relocate production to the Cameronbridge distillery.


Having long been possessed with an ardent desire to see the Distilleries of Scotland and Ireland, I took the first opportunity that presented itself, and, knowing the task set before me would occupy at least two years, made arrangements to transfer my duties to others. It was at first thought desirable that my tour should commence at the Orkneys; but, the weather proving unfavourable, my plan of entering the land of Whisky by the sea was abandoned in favour of the iron road to Glasgow. We - for I was not doomed to travel alone - started from Euston by the night mail, having previously invested in a copy of “Morewood” and one or two other books on Distillation to study on our journey. Nothing of note occurred on the journey, except that we got a little amusement out of our fellow travellers - one of them a gentleman in clerical attire, catching some fragments of our conversation on spirits, evidently mistook us for important officers in the Salvation Army. Seeing this we puzzled him, and in answer to his enquiries, informed him that we had just started on a long and tedious pilgrimage to the spirit land, and that ours was a mission of investigation into the creation, development and perfection of crude spirits into “spirits made perfect.” One of our party here produced his flask and explained to our reverend friend what kind of missionaries we were, when, to our surprise, after taking a “wee drappie,” and like Oliver Twist, asking for more, the pious looking brother offered to join us in our excursions, that he might do the tasting, and we the writing. This generous offer we declined.

Arriving at Glasgow we drove to the Victoria Hotel, where the cheery landlord, Angus Mackay, a stalwart young “Hielander,” gave us a hearty welcome. After a substantial breakfast we engaged a good horse and trap, and soon found ourselves trottlng along Buchanan Street, up several steep hills, until we finally arrived at our destination. Port Dundas, from whence the Distillery takes its name, was so called in honour of Thomas, Lord Dundas. It is the basin of the celebrated Forth and Clyde Canal, and is situated, strange to say, at the top of a hill over-looking the city. The appearance of ships’ masts in such a position, over-topping the houses, presented to us a peculiar surprise. The canal, which is a direct water-way from the Clyde to the Forth, a distance of some thirty seven miles, over the whole of its progress through bustling towns and quiet villages, commands fine views of the country, pretty water scenes, and the magnificent background of the Forth. Port Dundas itself, however, is the scene of great commercial activity, and the prominent feature of the locality is the Distillery. Established more than a century ago, Port Dundas has, by the energy and enterprise displayed by its founder, Robert Macfarlane, and latterly by his son Daniel, been so developed that it has become one of the largest Distilleries in the world; and although amalgamated with the Distillers’ Company, Limited, Richard Macfarlane, son of the Daniel before mentioned, is now Managing Director for the Company at this Distillery. The works, over nine acres of ground, are situated on a steep hill near and overlooking the city of Glasgow and 

surrounding districts, and are close to the railway and canal. Having previously communicated by telephone with Mr. W. Bruce, the operative manager, we found that gentleman waiting to receive us. Under his guidance we commenced our inspection at the Barns or Granaries, situated at the north end of the Distillery on the higher slopes of the hill. They consist of buildings, four stories high, and some idea of their magnitude may be formed by the following facts. Number One at the time of our visit contained 10,000 quarters of American corn, and Number Two, 14,000 quarters of barley and rye, and then they were not even full; at times they have stored as many as 45,000 quarters. The grain is imported by rail, canal, and carts, direct into the works, where it is emptied into hoppers, and taken by elevators and screws to any part of the buildings at will. We next entered the two malting floors, which are situated at the west end of the Granaries, and were amazed at their dimensions; they are quite the size of feeding parks, and a volunteer regiment could drill in them with ease. The cisterns connected with these buildings each wet 2,400 bushels at one time. South of the Granaries, standing all in a line, are the seven Kilns, which are of great dimensions, one of them drying 2,000 quarters of grain at a time. Five of them are used for grain, the other two for malt, and all are heated by hot air. The dried malt and grain is then passed through screws to the malt and grain Store-rooms, five in number, each capable of holding 14,000 bushels of malt, and used altemately. The grain and malt passes from these rooms into the Mill, which building has the appearance of having been hewn out of a rock, nothing being seen but solid masonry and iron girders, while it is covered by a large water tank communicating with all parts of the works where fire might originate, and capable of flooding the whole place in a few minutes. In the Mill there are eight pairs of large mill-stones, working night and day, driven by a powerful engine, upwards of 150 horse power. Emerging from the clouds of dust we found ourselves in the court-yard, where the scene was indeed striking. The engine department was before us, which is quite an important division in this mammoth establishment, as besides the ponderous engine which drives the Mill there are sixteen others ranging from 1 to 160 horse power, or a total of about 300 indicated horse power. In the Boiler-house there are ten of Galloway’s Patent Steel Boilers, 30 feet long by 8 feet in diameter, worked at 60 lbs. pressure; eight of them are placed in a row, and two near the Warehouses. These patent boilers are capable of evaporating 7,000 lbs. of water per hour, with average coal and draught which will drive 395 indicated horse with an engine consuming 20 lbs. of water per horse power per hour. The shell plates of these boilers are 7/16 of an inch thick and other parts in proportion, and are composed of steel plates capable of withstanding a tensile strain of 26 to 30 tons per square inch wlth not less than 20 per cent. elongation in 10 inches. The grist, or ground grain, is conveyed from the Mill to the large grist-pits by screws, and thence not (as is usual in smaller distilleries) in bags or barrows, but in cart loads of from 26 to 30 cwts. The house in which the four pulping tuns are placed is on the west side of the grist pits, near the Mash-tun, and is three stories high. The tuns are all wooden vessels, closely hooped and covered in. Having passed over weighing machines, the grist reaches the elevators, which raise it into patent Mashing Machines, through which it passes into four Pulping Tuns, and thence into two Mash Tuns of enormous size, measuring 30 feet in diameter and 9 feet 6 inches in depth. After the fine worts are drained off, the grains are pumped into a large Draff Tun, and when properly exhausted the draff is dropped through into carts, which come from various parts of the neighbourhood. For feeding cattle, and more especially dairy cows, the draff from this wort is unsurpassed.

The fine worts drained from the mash are collected in two large Underbacks, placed at the root of the Mash-tuns, and holding about 14,000 gallons. From thence they are pumped into the Wort Receivers. In the adjoining house here are seven of Miller & Co.’s Patent Refrigerators, over which the wash flows into the Fermenting Backs. At the north end of the Mash House is the Tun Room, an extensive, lofty, and spacious apartment, which runs along and forms a greater part of Vulcan Street. It contains thirty-five Washbacks, some of them holding as much as 53,000 gallons apiece, from which the fermented liquor runs into the Wash and Intermediate Chargers, which together hold 270,000 gallons, and are situated in the vicinity of the Still Houses. The wash is afterwards pumped to the Stills by pumps of great size and power, driven by steam.

At this period of our inspection we paused for a short rest and slight refreshment; and resuming our tour at the Still House, a lofty structure forming the main body of the building, we were shown the three Coffey’s Patent Stills. These handsome town-like vessels are 70 feet high; and after a full inspection, we passed on to No. 2 Still House, where are five Pot Stills, one of them having a capacity of 24,000 gallons, and said to be the largest in the kingdom. Here also are the pumps for water, wash, hot-feints and wash-heater pumps, some of them are three-throw, others centrifugal, some of these latter are huge machines of immense power and capable of throwing from 400 to 600 gallons per minute to a height of 40 feet. From the Still Houses we passed into the Receiver Room, which also contains the Safes and Sampling Safes. In front of the Patent Still House there is a Worm Tub, 30 feet long, 10 feet wide, and 6 feet deep, also for the Pot Stills as many as four Worm Tubs, each 40 feet long, 10 feet wide, and 6 feet deep, all constructed with metal, and filled with huge copper coils and pipes.

There are nine large Low-wines and Feints Receivers, and three Spirit Receivers, all great size, the latter being connected with the Spirit Store, to which the spirits run by gravitation, and are received into the Vats and casked in the usual way. During our progress through the Distillery we were delighted with the order, everywhere remarkable. All the work is accomplished with almost military precision, and the workmen attend to their duties in a quiet, methodical manner. The Still Houses and Receiver Rooms are models of brightness, the pipes and vessels being painted blue, red, white, or black, according to their contents; by those who are acquainted with the operations and process of distilling grain Whisky, this department is much admired. The next object which attracted our attention was the Spirit Store, a large building conveniently situated for Stills, Receiver House, and Warehouses, containing three Vats of great capacity, holding respectively 7,387, 6,859, and 5,550 gallons. About fifty feet distant is the fine range of Warehouses, facing the canal.

They are immense buildings of from four to six stories high, forming part of the boundary of the works, and having 50,000 square yards of floorage. Here were stored over 16,660 casks of Whisky of various sizes and ages, containing 1,504,000 gallons of spirits. We next proceeded to the Cooperage, situated higher up the hill, which is quite a work in itself. The casks are stored here in thousands, and put in order before being conveyed to the Spirit Store. To the north of this we stepped into an open space of ground in which is a piggery accommodating over four hundred pigs fed on the distillery refuse. Some of them are highly bred animals of great size, and on entering one of the breeding sheds the visitor is surprised to see the wall literally covered with prize-cards. Employed upon the premises are 250 men, and the collection of the Inland Revenue necessitates a staff of 21 officers, including two supervisors. On the left hand side of the main entrance are the handsome and extensive offices for the Directors, Managers, and clerks. The operative Manager’s office is in the centre of the works, with sampling rooms, &c., and is in telephonic communication with the offices and principal departments all over the Distillery. We may mention that this Distillery pays in duties annually about £430,000.

The arrangements for extinguishing fire are on a very extensive scale in this Distillery, and consist of fire-plugs and hose distributed all over the premises.

The water used is taken from Loch Katrine and the Canal, each being made subservient to its special work in driving and distilling.

The annual output of this Distillery is no less than 2,562,000 gallons.

The data in the post above is not original. It has been taken from the vast library that is at

Sunday 15 August 2021


Taiwan ANNOUNCES Native Species Exclusive Edition Gift Sets

Taiwan is known for its preponderance of high ABV whisky drinkers. Most global distilleries keep this fact in mind and offer high ABV malt whiskies to satiate the Taiwanese. It has recently emerged that the Taiwanese are not averse to the low EU and Scotch ABV whiskies. It is quite probable that the average Taiwanese cuts his high ABV drink with water or soda.

Kavalan has now announced an exclusive Taiwan-focussed series featuring the island’s native exotic species that illustrate auspicious symbols of hope and prosperity. Kavalan’s Classic, Concertmaster Port Cask Finish, and Solist Vinho Barrique whiskies have been bottled for the gift sets, featuring the Mikado Pheasant, Sika Deer, and Leopard Cat.

Starting in June, the Taiwanese Native Species Exclusive Edition Gift Sets will be available in the Philippines, Guam, New Zealand, Australia, Germany, the Czech Republic and China.

Each set, illustrated by Taiwanese artist Sandy Liu, celebrates the richness of Taiwan’s natural beauty and biodiversity. The Mikado Pheasant, Sika Deer and Leopard Cat are Taiwanese emblems because of their rarity and beauty. Like Kavalan, they are ‘Pure Taiwan’.

The Classic and Concertmaster Port Cask Finish gift sets can be combined into a ‘complete island’ or bought individually. The Solist Vinho Barrique gift set is sold as a special label edition.


Each edition in this exclusive series features a Taiwanese native species:

Mikado Pheasant - Kavalan Classic Single Malt Whisky - RRP USD75.5

The Mikado Pheasant, or “Emperor’s Pheasant,” has a splendid, royal blue plumage and is considered a national symbol. It is accompanied by the Taiwan Barbet and the Tree Peony, symbolising wealth. The set includes the following three bottlings:

Classic Single Malt 40% vol. 700ml 

Classic Single Malt 40% vol. 50ml

Distillery Select No.1 Single Malt 40% vol. 50ml

Sika Deer - Kavalan Concertmaster Port Cask Finish Single Malt Whisky-RRP USD 54.00

The Formosan Sika Deer has distinctive white spots that are most prominent in summer. The male has antlers, which are grown and replaced every year. The Sika Deer is depicted alongside three butterflies with auspicious symbolism and the Butterfly Orchid representing happiness and success. This set includes the following three bottlings:

Concertmaster Port Cask Finish Single Malt 40% vol. 700ml

Classic Single Malt 40% vol. 50ml

Distillery Select No.1 Single Malt 40% vol. 50ml

Leopard Cat - Special Label-Kavalan Solist Vinho Barrique Single Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky-RRP USD 126

The Formosan Leopard Cat has cloud-like markings on its fur and is distinctive for its tail, which is shorter than that of other leopard cats. It is depicted with the Taiwan Barbet, three butterflies with auspicious symbolism, the Butterfly Orchid representing happiness and success, and the Tree Peony, a symbol of wealth. This set includes the following two bottlings:

Solist Vinho Barrique Single Cask Strength Single Malt 50-59.9% vol. 700ml

Wine Oak Single Malt 54% vol. 50ml 


Kavalan Classic Single Malt Whisky 

This spirit exemplifies the sheer quality of whisky coming out of Taiwan. The craftsmanship of the distillery works with the humid Taiwanese climate to create whisky that is diverse and complex. Fresh and clean, the spirit is rich with silky smoothness and hints of tropical fruits, mango in particular.

ABV : 40%

Colour: Lively and passionate amber

Flavour: Clean, elegant, floral (pleasant & refreshing fragrance of the butterfly orchid), fruity and seductive. With hints of honey, tropical fruits (mango in particular), pear drop, vanilla, coconuts and suggestions of chocolate.

Palate: A hint of sweet mango juice with that spicy complexity and gentle warmth on a medium, oily and citrus finish.

Taste: Kavalan classic is3 the perfect partner for seafood. We suggest sometimes you can dilute Kavalan classic with water, the perfect ratio is "Kavalan Classic 5: Water 1, and add ice to cool.

Kavalan Concertmaster Port Cask Finish Single Malt Whisky

Using Portuguese ruby Port wine casks as the main flavour, Kavalan

Concertmaster Port Cask Finish single malt whisky is first matured in specially selected American oak casks and then finished in port barriques. The ageing in barriques mellows the flavours and adds indefinable smoothness to the whisky. It is rich bodied with natural sweetness and complexity.

ABV: 40%

Colour: Brownish red

Flavour: Tropical fruitiness with honey, vanilla, coconut and candy floss.

Palate: Rich bodied with natural sweetness and complexity.

Taste: Kavalan Concertmaster Port Cask Finish pairs indulgently with chocolate, making it even more delicious.

Kavalan Solist Vinho Barrique Single Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky

Vinho is fully matured in used American oak wine barrels that have been toasted and recharred in a way that brings out fruity vanilla notes from the wood into the whisky overlaid on a delicate background of complex fruitiness.

It has a complex and multi-dimensional background of pepper, spice, dates and other fruits, such as ripe melon and mango together with kiwi and a delicate blend of bursting citrus fruits.

ABV: 50-59.9%

Colour: Deep autumn gold

Flavour: A rich fusion of vanilla and caramelized sugars with dark chocolate on top. Ripe melon and mango together with kiwi and a delicate blend of citrus fruits burst. Pepper is also present in the background waiting to be noticed.


The taste ends with clean and complex flavours embodying all that is best in the finest malt whiskies enjoying a long aftertaste.

Taste: We suggest drinking Kavalan Solist Vinho Barrique Single Cask neat.


Tuesday 10 August 2021


 The Devil in a Green Bottle: A History of Absinthe

                                                                                                                                                      Image: Shutterstock

Absinthe, an alcoholic drink introduced to France in the 1840s, developed a decadent though violent reputation. To some the drink symbolised creativity and liberation, and to others, madness and despair. One thing was certain: more than science was behind European responses to its influence.

In late August 1905 in the small village of Commugny, Switzerland, and three coffins stood open to the air. The mother’s was the largest, adult-sized; a smaller casket held her four-year-old daughter, Rose. In the smallest coffin lay her two-year-old daughter, Blanche. In front of the coffins stood Jean Lanfray, a burly, French-speaking labourer. Facing the bodies of his family, he wept, insisting he didn’t remember shooting the three. “Please tell me I haven’t done this,” he wailed. “I loved my family and children so much!”

Lanfray had drunk his way through the previous day, beginning near dawn with a shot of absinthe diluted in water. A second absinthe shot soon followed. At lunch and during his afternoon break from work at a nearby vineyard, he downed six glasses of strong wine. He drank another glass before leaving work. Heading home, Lanfray stopped at a café and drank black coffee with brandy. Back home Lanfray finished a litre of wine as his wife watched in disgust. She called him lazy. He told her to shut up. She told him to make her. He took his loaded rifle from the wall and shot her through the forehead. When his daughter Rose came to investigate, he shot her too. Then he went into the next room, walked to the crib of his other daughter, Blanche, and shot her.

From this domestic tragedy, the people of Commugny drew one inescapable conclusion: the absinthe made him do it. Anti-absinthe sentiment had been bubbling throughout Europe, and in Switzerland it boiled over and was declared the principal cause of a series of bloody crimes in our country. A petition to outlaw the drink gathered 82,000 signatures in just a few days.

The press dubbed it “the absinthe murder.” For members of the anti-absinthe movement, two glasses of pale-green liquid explained why a family lay dead. Prohibitionists could not have imagined a more potent metaphor for social decay. La Gazette de Lausanne, a French-language Swiss newspaper, called it “the premiere cause of bloodthirsty crime in this century.” The press seized on Lanfray’s story, dubbing it ‘the absinthe murder.’

At his trial the following February, Lanfray’s lawyers declared him a classic case of absinthe madness—a medically ill-defined affliction, but one that captured the public imagination. The lawyers called to the stand Albert Mahaim, a leading Swiss psychiatrist. He had examined the defendant and declared confidently that only sustained, daily corruption by that foul drink could have given him “the ferociousness of temper and blind rages that made him shoot his wife for nothing and his two poor children, whom he loved.” The prosecution countered that his absinthe consumption was dwarfed by his prodigious intake of other alcohol.

The trial lasted a single day. Found guilty on four counts of murder—his wife, an examination revealed, had been pregnant with a son—Lanfray hanged himself in prison three days later.

The murders energised prohibitionists—the drink became a Swiss national concern. The canton of Vaud (containing Commugny) banned it less than a month after Lanfray’s death. The canton of Geneva, reacting to its own “absinthe murder,” followed suit. In 1910 Switzerland declared absinthe illegal. Belgium had banned it in 1905 and the Netherlands in 1910. In 1912 the U.S. Pure Food Board imposed a ban, calling absinthe “one of the worst enemies of man, and if we can keep the people of the United States from becoming slaves to this demon, we will do it.” By 1915 the Green Fairy (la fée verte, as the absintheurs called it) had been exiled even from France, long the centre of absinthe subculture.

While temperance movements had blossomed worldwide in the late 1800s and early 1900s, never before had an individual alcoholic drink been targeted. Yet by World War I, throughout the world a combination of economic interests, dubious science, and a fear of social change—and the tabloid stories that used murder to inflame readers’ imaginations—had turned the Green Fairy into the Green Demon.

Absinthe was not always the devil in a bottle. The French name derives from the Greek absinthion, which the Greeks used not as an intoxicant but as a medicine. Typically made by soaking wormwood leaves (Artemisia absinthium) in wine or spirits, this ancient absinthe supposedly aided childbirth. Hippocrates prescribed it for menstrual pain, jaundice, anemia, and rheumatism. Roman scholar Pliny the Elder describes chariot-race champions drinking absinthium, its taste reminding them that glory has its bitter side—a sentiment wholeheartedly embraced by later enthusiasts.

Throughout the centuries wormwood remained a folk medicine. This evocative connection helped solidify Artemisia absinthium’s common English name. When the bubonic plague returned to England in the 17th and 18th centuries, many people burned wormwood to fumigate infected houses.

For centuries wormwood drinks remained primarily medicinal, though recreational concoctions occasionally appeared, such as wormwood wine and crème d’absinthe. In 1830 France conquered Algeria, beginning its expansion into North Africa. As local resistance grew, the French army sent reinforcements, amounting to 100,000 soldiers by 1840. The heat and bad water took their toll, with fever tearing through the ranks. The men received wormwood to quell fevers, prevent dysentery, and ward off insects. They took to spiking their wine with it, which cut the bitterness and provided an alcoholic punch.

Returning to France, they brought with them a taste for the drink, dubbing it “une verte” for its distinctive green colour. And soon civilians, eager to align themselves with their newly victorious empire, began asking for “a green.”

At first absinthe remained a middle- and upper-class indulgence. But it had an exotic appeal; legends grew about its long history and supposedly hallucinogenic effects. As prosperity spread, more people partook of l’heure verte, the “green hour” of early evening when the unique smell of absinthe wafted through the air. Savvy customers realised that with its high proof, absinthe delivered more force for the franc. Diluted with water (virtually no one could drink it straight), it went even further. By 1849 the 26 French absinthe distilleries were producing some 10 million litres, a small fraction of the prodigious amount of alcohol consumed in France.

The absinthe mythology— of the Green Fairy of liberation, of altered perceptions and unveiled meanings—appealed to creative libertines around the world, like Vincent van Gogh, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, playwright Alfred Jarry, Pablo Picasso and Oscar Wilde. Even Ernest Hemingway, not especially known for decadence, embraced absinthe. He succinctly captured the danger and allure of the pale-green drink. To enthusiasts it promised new ideas. To the unconverted it symbolised madness—“une correspondance pour Charenton,” a ticket to Charenton, the insane asylum outside Paris.

The most systematic studies of absinthe toxicity took place at another Paris asylum, under the supervision of a psychiatrist seeking to prove that absinthe did indeed “rot your brain out.” Valentin Magnan, an influential and well-respected psychiatrist, was appointed physician-in-chief of France’s main asylum, Sainte-Anne, in 1867 and thus became the national authority on mental illness. He diagnosed a steady decline in French culture—a not uncommon belief.

Magnan pointed to increasing instances of diagnosed insanity—most likely the effect of better diagnostic techniques—and to the strain of modern industrial life on already at-risk psyches. He also pointed to lower birth rates—now seen as a nearly inevitable consequence of higher living standards and greater female education. For Magnan, who found signs of national collapse in his asylum, absinthe became the villain responsible for an entire host of social ills.

From experimentation, Magnan insisted on a separate category for the small number of “absinthistes” in his asylum. Chronic absinthe users, he claimed, suffered from seizures, violent fits, and bouts of amnesia. He recommended a ban on the Green Devil.

Others found his claims unpersuasive. Responses in The Lancet, for one, noted flaws in his methodology, including the crucial differences between a guinea pig inhaling high doses of distilled wormwood and a human consuming trace amounts of diluted wormwood. More likely, many argued, excessive consumption produced the same alcoholism as with any other drink. Incidentally, the United Kingdom was one of the few countries never to ban the drink, which had never gained popularity there.

But in France, Magnan’s theories fit into the larger cultural conversation. Defeat in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870–1871 escalated already existing anxieties about France’s collective health and especially its ability to protect itself against a bellicose and populous neighbour. (After WWI, Germany had 41 million citizens compared with France’s 36 million.) Public-health concerns gained an existential force; those worried about the rise of absinthe dubbed it “the poisoning of the population.” Not only did it contribute to the ill health of the populace, these opponents argued, but it was also an abortifacient and sterilised men, robbing the country of a generation of potential soldiers.

Still, it took the Lanfray murders of 1905 to convert many citizens into activists. Previously the absinthe drinker symbolised moral decay, but he had never truly crystallised into a violent threat to society. Doctors disagreed about the danger, with Magnan and his disciples declaring absinthe the root of all social evil. On slim evidence some even linked it to tuberculosis. Meanwhile, other physicians continued to tout its health benefits, prescribing it for gout and dropsy, as a general stimulant of mind and body, as a fever reducer, and as the perfect drink for hot climates. Amid the medical uncertainty support for an outright ban remained a minority stance.

After the Lanfray murders, Absinthe went on trial in the court of public opinion, facing a newly hostile citizenry, its longtime enemies in the temperance movements, and a bevy of respected medical authorities. Behind the scenes wealthy wine producers supported a ban in an attempt to eliminate an increasingly popular competitor, even though absinthe never accounted for more than 3% of the alcoholic beverages consumed in France. But when disease infected French vineyards in the 1880s, the resulting wine shortage helped popularise absinthe among the money-conscious working class. When the wine crisis ended, many working-class drinkers stuck with the green beverage, increasingly made with cheaper industrial alcohol produced from beets or grain. Yet wine still accounted for 72% of all alcohol consumed. More than actual competition, it was the appearance of a trend that provoked wine makers to move against absinthe.

In defense of the Green Fairy stood a collection of self-proclaimed decadents of the absinthe subculture (not always a politically active lot), and a few sympathetic politicians scattered throughout Europe. The outcome was never in doubt.

When Magnan died in 1916, he did so in a France freed from the shackles of the Green Devil. Absinthe faded into lore, kept alive through the stories of Parisian decadence. What remained were caricatures of mad geniuses who roamed from café to café calling out “une verte!” as they chased that next great insight, the transcendent perspective available only through the grace of the Green Fairy. In 1994 a Czech distiller began marketing absinthe in the United Kingdom, where, thanks to a legendary reputation, it became a hit among bohemian cognoscenti. Soon enough dozens of copycat brands appeared.

In response to pressure from their own distilleries—and perhaps noting the lack of modern “absinthe murders”—many European countries revised their absinthe bans. Set restrictions, later adopted by the European Union, effectively legalised absinthe. Switzerland lifted its ban on absinthe production and sale in March 2005. France, however, only allows the label “absinthe” on products destined for export. Absinthe produced for local consumption instead carries the label “spiritueux à base de plantes d’absinthe,” or “wormwood-based spirits.” The United States has complicated laws about absinthe, making illegal the importation of most European varieties. Even in this diminished form it’s now legal to produce and sell absinthe in the United States. After nearly 100 years the Green Fairy lives again.                                                                        

After two years of meticulous work Pernod, the original creator of absinthe, unveiled its new distillery in the historic Maison Pernod in Thuir. This faithful recreation of the original distillery will allow Pernod to generate the taste and flavour of the traditional absinthe recipe from the 19th century, which was the muse and inspiration for the greatest artists of the “Belle Epoque” including Van Gogh, Toulouse Lautrec and Picasso, as well as writers and bartenders alike. Today, Pernod is at the vanguard of the absinthe renaissance due to its unique production methods which have been authentically retained through the traditional craft process at the recreated Henri Louis Pernod distillery in Thuir.

Absinthe is a high proof spirit like no other, distilled from the essential DNA of anise and Wormwood from the region of Pontarlier. It brings a mysterious and bold aura that is truly unmistakable and the authentic distillery formulation both honours and celebrates this often misunderstood spirit. Absinthe is being revived using the original manufacturing process. The combination of the specifically chosen aromatic plants, the ancestry know-how of Pernod in terms of aromatic equilibrium and the mastery of traditional extraction processes reveal the true delicacy of wormwood and bring a subtlety and complexity to the final product.

Consumers who are new to this spirit will feel the heady experience of trying something undiscovered while reconnecting with the past. And those who already know and love absinthe can now savour the most authentic version available.

Friday 6 August 2021


 Glenfiddich Initiative to go green


Making whisky results in the creation of a beverage that many truly adore. However, it also results in the creation of tonnes of waste. One prominent whisky maker has now turned their whisky waste into fuel for company trucks.

First reported by Reuters, whisky maker Glenfiddich, one of the world’s premium whisky makers, has begun converting its delivery trucks to run low-emission biogas that’s made out of waste generated from its own distillation process, as a part of a closed-loop sustainability initiative.

The biogas is extracted from the residues of whisky production using a technology developed by William Grant & Sons. This low-carbon gas produces only minor emissions. It has taken more than a decade for Glenfiddich to become the first distillery to process 100 percent of its waste residues on its own site, then to be the first to process those residues into biogas fuel to power its trucks. These renewable energy breakthroughs in the whisky industry come as new distilleries are being set up across Scotland. In effect, they scale up decarbonising benefits of this closed-loop process.

"Fuelled by Glenfiddich - turning whisky waste into ultra low carbon fuel" is emblazoned on the three trucks that have been specially converted for running with this biogas. Special petrol stations have been set up for this, starting with one on the grounds of the Glenfiddich distillery. The gas is produced through anaerobic digestion when bacteria breaks down organic matter and produces biogas along the way.

Fuelling stations have also been installed at Dufftown distillery in north-eastern Scotland. They make use of a technology developed by parent company William Grant & Sons that converts in production waste residue into ULCF or Ultra-Low Carbon Fuel gas.

According to Glenfiddich, the biogas cuts CO2 emissions by 95 percent compared to diesel and other fossil fuels while also drastically reducing harmful greenhouse gases particulate matter by 99 percent. Transport from the production facilities to filling and packaging units is almost climate-neutral. The route includes four William Grant & Sons locations in central and western Scotland. Compared to fossil fuels, each truck saves up to 250 tons of CO2 annually, which corresponds to a similar benefit for the environment as planting around 4,000 trees a year.

Earlier, the company would sell the grains leftover from malting to produce high-protein cattle feed but by using the waste to develop biogas enables the company to fully recycle all of its products. The company has revealed that its whisky-based fuel is powering three specially-designed trucks that are made to run on this biogas. The vehicles converted from truckmaker Iveco actually are actually designed to run on liquified natural gas.

The Scotch Whisky Association's Schedule For Sustainability

William Grant & Sons are working hard to implement the schedule drawn up by the Scotch Whisky Association SWA to achieve the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals. The four main areas of SWA for the industry are combating climate change by ending all greenhouse gas emissions by 2040, sustainability of reusable or recyclable packaging by 2025 be made compostable while also achieving responsible water consumption goals and maintaining the land through the active conservation and restoration of Scotland's peat ecosystem by 2035.

Working in line with the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA)’s roadmap to tackle climate change by reducing its environmental impact, the ‘Fuelled by Glenfiddich’ initiative is just one of William Grant & Son’s sustainability activities.

Along with its GHG emission reduction by 2040 goal, the company intends to restore and conserve Scotland’s peatland by 2030. With its targets being a focus of the UN COP26 Climate Change Conference in Glasgow this November, the technology will be made available across the Scottish whisky industry.