FUN FACTS RE SCOTCH WHISKY
Fun facts 2501-5400 are posted at this link. There are other links to Fun Facts 01-2500. Sequentially, the first lot is at this link, dated 14 March 2017. The sequel to that short list is here, at this link, dated 05 Sep 2019. The third lot is at this link, dated 19 July 2021. The fourth post is at this link, dated 11 March 2022.
5401: Bon Accord is something of a Frankenstein distillery – established using the stills and vessels of the failed Union Glen distillery, transported into the shell of the former brewery next door.
“Bon Accord,” or “good agreement” – was the Watchword of the Scots on that wintry night in the old Churchyard, when the English were attacked by the townspeople in the time of Bruce, Feb-August 1296 CE. Without this password, they would not have been able to distinguish friends from foes.
The distillery was hit by three fires and was able to recover from the first two. The third, in 1885, was extensive and the distillery dropped shutters. The distillery and its assets were acquired by Dailuaine-Talisker which operated it under the name North of Scotland until its closure for good in 1912-13.
In 2013 the distillery and the firm were bought by Harvey’s of Edinburgh with Taiwanese backing.
While most, but not all of the US uses the spelling whiskey, The US Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau always uses the 'whisky' sans the 'e'.
Port Ellen distillery is reputed as being the first to have incorporated Mr Septimus Fox’s spirit safe design into the distillation process (this process made it easier to control the quality of spirits during distillation).
Port Ellen also was the first distillery to trade with North America.
The founder of Port Ellen is even credited with starting the use of bonded warehouses, a system that is still in use today.
According to the most recent statistics provided by SWA, India has surpassed France to grab the top spot as the UK’s largest Scotch whisky market in terms of volume, with imports increasing by 60% in 2022 over the previous year.
The figures quoted show India imported 219 million bottles of Scotch last year, compared to France’s 205 million, an increase of more than 200% over the previous ten years. However, Scotch whisky only makes up 2% of the Indian whisky market, despite the double-digit volume increase. The SWA cited hefty tariffs as the cause.
India imported whisky of $278.47 million from April to November 2022–23, compared to $199.02 million for the entire FY22.
Distilling came from the Middle East, and began as a medicinal interest, with highly skilled polymaths working on the creation of the alembic still.
Blair Athol’s ancient source of water is the Allt Dour – in Gaelic “the burn of the otter”, which flows through the grounds from the slopes of Ben Vrackie.
Dalwhinnie is the highest and coldest working distillery in Scotland, with water from a loch at 2000 feet, Lochan an Doire Uaine – "Loch of the green thicket" – a gathering of pure snowmelt and rainwater high in the Drumochter Hills.
When it was purpose-built in 1897, the distillery was first called Strathspey.
At the end of the 18th century, John Bald’s Carsebridge was considered one of the largest manufacturers of whisky in Scotland, alongside the might of the Haigs and the Steins.
Noticing increasing demand for grain whisky for blending, John II converted Carsebridge into a grain distillery in 1852, installing two Coffey stills. Carsebridge immediately became one of the largest producers of grain whisky in Scotland, second only to Edinburgh’s Caledonian.
In 1856 he ensured John Bald & Co was part of a ‘Trade Arrangement for one year’ among the six largest grain distillers – Caledonian, Carsebridge, Seggie, Glenochil, Cambus and Haddington.
A second agreement followed in 1865, this time with the addition of Adelphi and Yoker distilleries, Cameronbridge, which replaced Seggie, and Port Dundas, which replaced Haddington.
Originally known as Tochieneal, Inchgower distillery was built near Cullen, by local factor, Alexander Wilson.
In 1929, the creation of J&B Rare was put in jeopardy when Eddie Tatham, a Director of J & B, was arrested at Grand Central Station carrying a briefcase full of samples after taking orders from wealthy clients in Prohibition-era America.
Legend has it that longtime manager Roderick Mackenzie thought the environment so important to the taste of Linkwood, he forbade the removal of spiders’ webs from the rafters in case the character were to change. Great care is still taken to maintain its high standards, though the cobwebs have been removed.
Established in 1823 during an age of great achievement, Mortlach was the first legal distillery in Dufftown, the heart of Speyside.
A 190-year secret amongst whisky epicureans across the globe, Mortlach has been nicknamed 'The Beast of Dufftown' for its robust, muscular and rich character created from the very unique 2.81 distillation process - a magnificent feat unto itself.
Opened in 1975, Pittyvaich was one of the shortest-lived current generation era distilleries ever built in Speyside; the innocent victim of industry restructuring, it closed in 1993 through no fault of its whisky and has long since been demolished. Unsurprisingly, its pleasing single malt has never been widely available, though it has been proven to age well; none younger than 25 years of age remains.
Strathmill is a distillery on the banks of the river Isla. Originally built as a corn mill named Strathisla Mills in 1823 by A. G. Johnstone, it was converted to a distillery in 1891 during the Victorian whisky boom and renamed Glenisla-Glenlivet. WA Gilbey & Son acquired the building in 1895 and gave it the name Strathmill – probably because parts of the old mill remained intact.
Strathmill distillery is one of three distilleries in the Moray town of Keith at the heart of "Malt Whisky Country". Two, Strathisla and Glen Keith, are owned by Chivas Bros (part of the Pernod Ricard group) and the third, Strathmill by Diageo since 1997, who operate it for the production of blends such as J&B whisky.
Ardmore Distillery was first founded next to Lagavulin on Islay, but shut down for good in 1821.
In 1898, Adam Teacher, son of Glasgow blender William Teacher, decided that the family firm needed its own malt whisky distillery and built one in the Highlands region East of Speyside, naming it Ardmore.
Ardmore has remained in the Teacher’s stable ever since, providing smoke and also top notes to a blend which still sells over a million cases globally (its main markets today are India and Brazil).
Ardmore was created only to supply Teacher's Blended Scotch whiskies. Now it has a few single malts in the market, its 40% ABV NAS peated expression is a high-selling version in India. The rest of its single malts are un-chill-filtered at 46% ABV, with one 12 YO.
The peat in Ardbeg Hypernova is not from Islay.
Oban’s still house, like that of Royal Lochnagar's, points to it being a heavy, sulphury site. The stills are onion-shaped and condensing takes place in worm tubs. They do not run every day. In fact, Oban produces significantly less than it could. The reason for this is to retain its character.
Oban’s make is light rather than heavy, and that means a lot of copper contact is needed – tricky in a small still/wormtub site. The solution – as with Royal Lochnagar – is to run the worms hot which extends the amount of copper available and also to open the doors of the stills after distillation to allow oxygen to rejuvenate the copper.
In 1780, the Stevenson brothers (John and Hugh) bought the island of Belnahua from the Duke of Argyll and in 1793 laid out what is today’s Oban. They first built a brewery. A year later there is a record of distillation taking place, though the first official record only dates from 1799.
Talisker’s founders, brothers Hugh and Kenneth MacAskill were classic Clearance landlords. Having bought the tack [rent] of Talisker House on Skye and extensive lands in 1825, they set about forcibly shifting the resident population from their farms, either to new settlements at Carbost and Portnalong on the shores of Loch Harport and Portnalong, or off the island entirely.
Talisker stopped triple distillation in 1928. It has been a mystery ever since as to what style was made, but Diageo’s boffins believe it could explain the unusual configuration of the stills – two wash stills and three spirit.
Talisker has retained the five Still set-up and continues to produce a highly individual new make which mixes smoke, fruit, sulphur, salt and pepper. The malt is medium-peated, the worts clear, and the fermentation long.
Glenfiddich was the first single malt to use containers.
The distinctive triangular bottle used by Grant’s was designed by Hans Schleger, a refugee from Nazi Germany, to show off the colour of the whisky – and to allow for easy packing. Any number of experts have added their errant two-bit theories behind the shape.
Cutty Sark was created by London wine merchant Berry Bros & Rudd as a lighter blend to appeal to American consumers during prohibition – but its distinctive yellow label was originally a printer’s error.
In the 1950s, Aultmore distillery was known to be a leader in animal feed. The feed was based on draff which is a byeproduct of whisky and they were known to be pioneers in this.
Aultmore is also given the approbation Foggy Moss. The “Foggy Moss” part is essentially homage to the area where the distillery is situated which is typically shrouded in a thick fog (primarily because this was an industrial area). The fog is in fact known to be so dense and widespread that it not only cloaks the boggy moor where the distillery stands, but also the surrounding village.
In 1923 it became part of the John Dewar & Sons estate and has remained so ever since. In fact, so highly prized is it as a blending malt that it is said that when Bacardi was in the process of buying Dewar’s from Diageo, it was willing to walk away from the deal if Aultmore wasn’t included.
In 1835, Brackla was the first Scotch to be granted a Royal Warrant and the rights to call itself Royal Brackla. This seal of approval from King William IV led to Brackla being known as ‘The King’s Own Whisky’.
Royal Brackla remained a quiet producer of malt for blending until 2014, when Dewar’s announced that a five-strong range of single malts would be launched in 2015, part of a company-wide programme dubbed The Last Great Malts.
Apart from Royal Brackla, the Last Great Malts include Aberfeldy, The Deveron, Aultmore and Craigellachie.
Pittyvach distillery was built for purely commercial purposes and was Arthur Bell & Sons’ backbone in the sudden leap in the brand’s fortunes in the 1970s when it became Britain’s top-selling blend.
Auchroisk was built in 1972 to join the Speysiders Glen Spey, Knockando and Strathmill as the stepping stone to an empire in Blended Scotch.
Auchroisk was first bottled as a single malt in 1986 and was the first to carry the prefix ‘Singleton’, a name now attached to single malts from Glen Ord, Glendullan and Dufftown.
Benrinnes Distillery islocated on the lower slopes of Speyside’s sentinel mountain. ‘The Ben’ is another of those intriguing distilleries which produces a highly individual make but which – due to its demand by blenders – has never become a front-line single malt.
Benrinnes has six stills which are run in two pairs of three. For years a form of partial triple distillation was utilised to help promote a meaty/sulphury new make character. The low wines from the first distillation were split into strong and weak feints. The lower-strength portion was redistilled in the middle still and split into two again, with the stronger part [strong feints] being carried forward, the weaker being retained for the next charge. The strong feints were then mixed with the highest strength distillate from the wash still and redistilled in the spirit still.
The current site of the Benrinnes distillery is in fact its second location. The original was built in 1826 by Peter MacKenzie but was destroyed in a flood in 1829. A new site was then found by John Innes.
The Braes of Glenlivet was a major location for illicit stills in the 18th and 19th centuries, and if local rumours are true, the practice continued until relatively recently. This remote, sheltered, high pasture land was ideal for moonshining – the first road to ‘the Braes’ was only laid in the 1960s. The distillery followed in 1972.
It shares the honour of being the joint highest distillery in Scotland with Dalwhinnie.
It was built by Chivas Brothers and is a major component of Chivas Regal.
Although it sports a pagoda roof, no malting has ever taken place.
The principal expression available globally is Bell’s Original, which comprises up to 40 different malt and grain whiskies. The ‘heart malt’ of Bell’s is Blair Athol, while the Speyside malt of Dufftown and the Lowlander Glenkinchie help to shape the blend’s character, along with a quantity of Caol Ila from Islay, which adds a touch of island influence.
1896 saw the registration of Arthur Bell’s signature, which still adorns every bottle, along with the slogan ‘Afore ye go,’ which was registered in 1921 and first used four years later.
By 1970 Bell’s was Scotland’s leading blended Scotch, and in 1978 it became the best-selling blended Scotch in the UK, having seen sales grow in value by some 800% between 1970 and 1979, though it did lose its number one status to The Famous Grouse in 1980 in Scotland.
Glenfiddich Project XX has used 17 Bourbon barrels, two Sherry Casks and one Port pile.
Kelso distillery was opened and licensed to John Mason in 1825. In 1830 it became a partnership of Mason & Nichol, which lasted until 1833 when John Mason became a sole trader again. Kelso continued under him until 1837 when he was sequestrated.
Kelso distillery was a Borders distillery at Kelso in Roxburghshire that distilled from 1825-47 before vanishing completely.
Even locating Kelso Distillery is difficult. Source place it at Rosebank, opposite an island called Kelso Anna, or Distillery Lane, perhaps even Chalkheugh Terrace.
The Isle of Lewis’ only legal distillery, in its capital Stornoway (and named after it), ran for just two years in the 1850s. After that, Lewisians had to import their Scotch from the mainland, or source it from illicit local operations.
In 2008, Marko Tayburn built a distillery at Red River [Abhainn Dearg] on the western coast of the island making this officially the most remote whisky-making site in Scotland. Tayburn designed and built the stills himself, modelling them on an old illicit still he had discovered.
Its first 10-year-old single malt, bottled at 46% ABV, was released in 2018, matured in ex-Bourbon casks originating from Kentucky’s Buffalo Trace distillery.
James Espey, currently with The Last Drop Distillers, helped launch the Classic Malts, Johnnie Walker Blue Label, Chivas Regal 18-year-old, Baileys and Malibu and established the Keepers of the Quaich.
When with the Baileys factory in Dublin, he tried to persuade Irish farmers to change their calving patterns because he was worried about having enough cream for Bailey’s.
Baileys bombed in research, but became one of the most successful drinks launches in history; the follow-up, John Dowland’s Greensleeves – ‘the English Baileys’ – was researched brilliantly, but was a total failure – most probably because the liquid was chlorophyll-green.
Johnnie Walker Oldest – later renamed Blue Label – was a judicious marriage of 15-year-old whisky with ‘homeopathic’ amounts of 60-year-old liquid (the original label featured the now illegal ‘Aged 15 to 60 Years’ descriptor). The result was a huge boost to the Walker franchise – and to luxury blended Scotch in general.
The Classic Malts sextet was created because Glenfiddich had done a brilliant job while United Distillers hadn’t. The only brand they were selling was Cardhu, which was made the home of Johnnie Walker. UDV had 32 distilleries at the time and decided on a balanced portfolio of interesting distilleries. Each pick saw a major boost in demand, with Lagavulin running out of its 16 YO for a season.
The statement on both the carton and bottle on all Chivas whiskies 'From 1801' is without foundation. The Chivas brothers in question, James and John, weren’t even born then. James Chivas’ first sniff of whisky came when he was 28 years old, in 1838, when he joined William Edward, fine grocer and wine seller, in his first job as a full-time hired employee. John, born 1814, joined his brother James only in 1857 and they created Chivas Brothers Holdings that year.
In 1857, Waterloo Distillery was founded in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. Joseph E. Seagram started as a partner, but became sole owner in 1883, and the company became known as Joseph E. Seagram & Sons.
In 1924, Samuel Bronfman(1889-1971) and his brothers founded Distillers Corporation Limited, in Montreal, which enjoyed substantial growth in the 1920s, in part due to Prohibition in the United States (the Distillers Corporation Limited name was derived from UK’s Distillers Company Limited, which controlled the leading brands of whisky in the UK, and which was doing business with the Bronfmans).
In 1928 the Distillers Corporation acquired Joseph E. Seagram & Sons from their President Edward F. Seagram; the merged company, however, retained the Seagram name.
Samuel Bronfman went on to own 13 American distilleries.
Edgar, the eldest son of Samuel Bronfman wanted to preserve their stock of aged whiskies to blend the Royal Salute brand for impending royal events, with ages from 25-50 years. Chivas 18 was launched against Edgar’s wishes; shortly thereafter, on his wedding anniversary, Master Blender James Espey was fired.
Edgar Bronfman handed over to his eldest son, Edgar Jr, in 1994.
Edgar Jr had no interest in whisky, preferring the glamour of the cinematic world and presided over Seagram's implosion.
Passport is a popular Speyside-influenced blended Scotch whisky whose key markets are Brazil, Angola, Mexico, India, Russia and Eastern Europe.
The blend recipe for Passport was developed by Chivas Brothers’ blender Jimmy Lang during the 1960s, a classical Chivas blend using Speyside single malts Strathisla and Glen Keith. Glen Keith was promoted as the ‘Home of Passport’, with a banner replicating the bottle label displayed in the distillery entrance.
Allt-a-Bhainne, Braeval, Glenlivet and Longmorn distilleries began to appear in the Passport recipe from the 80s.
Lang developed the 100 Pipers blend and was responsible for Seagram’s key Scotch brands Chivas Regal and Royal Salute after WWII.
Known as Britain’s worst-ever peacetime fire-service disaster, the Cheapside Street whisky bond fire, in Glasgow, killed 19 servicemen in 1960. The warehouse, owned by Arbuckle, Smith and Company, contained over a million gallons of whisky and rum held in wooden casks. The liquid exceeded boiling point, causing a massive explosion in the building, killing firemen standing at street level. Around 450 firefighters battled the blaze, which took an entire week to extinguish.
|THE CHEAPSIDE STREET FIRE OF 1960|
The oldest whisky in the world — bottled between 1851 and 1858 — is a 13.5-ounce bottle of Glenavon Special Liqueur Whisky. It was owned by a family from Ireland and fetched an incredible £14,850 at auction when it was sold to Bonhams in London.
Dimple Haig, launched at the end of the 19th century became the deluxe, sophisticated whisky in the standard Haig & Haig blend. In the US it has long been known as Dimple Pinch.
By 1939 the combination of the Dimple and Gold Label brand extensions made Haig the top-selling Scotch in the UK, while Dimple Pinch had recovered its pre-Prohibition sales in the States. Dunhill Old Master Finest Scotch Whisky was a 1970s blend created by International Distillers and Vintners (IDV) exclusively for London luxury retailer Dunhill.
It’s said to have contained 8-year-old grain whisky and malts up to 20 years old, with a spiritual home of Tamdhu. The brand was later joined by the Dunhill Gentleman’s Speyside blend. Rather uniquely for the time, the whisky was non-chill-filtered.
The whisky was blended for the company by IDV and sold by its wine and spirits subsidiary, Morgan Furze & Co.
Born on the island of Islay, blended malt Big Peat is a smoky, oily whisky, with sweetness from Caol Ila, the fruitiness of Bowmore, a medicinal quality from Ardbeg and an earthy tone from Port Ellen.
Each year, Big Peat launches a Christmas Limited Edition expression, which is bottled at natural cask strength – around 53% ABV.
Bùrn Taobh was launched in 2015 as part of Murray McDavid’s Vatting series. Only one batch of Bùrn Taobh has been released so far.
Bùrn Taobh is a blend of two Speyside malts matured in ex-Bourbon casks for at least 26 years.
The Famous Grouse has released more blended malt than single malt or blended Scotch whiskies.
Every generation of Famous Grouse owners and distributors has had a Matthew Grouse.
For many years, quasi-official Linkwood bottlings have come from Gordon & MacPhail of Elgin – often from ex-Sherry casks.
Although there was an Alloa distillery, this whisky actually came from the lost North of Scotland grain distillery in Tullibody, three miles west of the town. The whisky produced there was intended for blends but some 40-year-old casks from 1964 have been bottled by Hart Bros and the German independents Jack Weibers Whisky World and Alambic Classique.
Way back in 1795 a certain Alexander Glen was running the Alloa distillery. Also known as the Grange distillery, it fell silent in 1851 and is buried under Diageo’s Carsebridge site in Alloa.
In 1958 George Christie set up the North of Scotland distillery just down the road on the site of the old Knox Forth Brewery to give blenders another source of grain whisky. For a year it also produced a malt whisky called Strathmore from a pair of pot stills, but Christie decided the future lay in grain whisky. The distillery closed in 1980.
Arthur John Tedder, an Excise Officer at Glengoyne distillery, is said to have pioneered the distillery’s ‘unhurried’ approach to whisky making, shaping the whisky as it’s known today.
Throughout its history, Glenfiddich has far surpassed its competitors in production capacity and innovation. Today, Glenlivet is a close second. At first, Glenfiddich produced mixes for several clients, but when their biggest client Pattison went bankrupt in 1898, William Grant created his own “Steadfast” mix and in 1903 Glenfiddich was incorporated as William Grant & Sons.
The Yamazaki distillery was founded in 1923 and is located in Shimamoto. This was the first whisky distillery established in Japan. It earned a Double Gold Medal at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition in 2009 and 2013.
This brand is owned by Beam Suntory which also owns other brands such as Jim Beam, Maker’s Mark, Laphroaig, Knob Creek, Old Overholt and Sauza Tequila, among several others.
A 142-year-old bottle of Irish whiskey was apparently discovered wrapped in a 19th-century newspaper and tucked away in the pocket of an old Gladstone doctor’s bag inside a wardrobe recently. Now the rare bottle of original Cassidy’s Whiskey from Monasterevin in Co. Kildare has gone on auction.
John Cassidy originally opened the Monasterevin Distillery in 1784, according to notes accompanying the sale. Some believe that it may have been medicinal, given it was found in a doctor’s bag and the newspaper was the Supplement of the Tablet, which is dated from 1899, a time when whisky would still have held medicinal value. It is being sold complete with the leather bag and its newspaper wrapping.
Glen Scotia, awarded Scottish Whisky Distillery of the Year at the Scottish Whisky Awards last year, has just unveiled its oldest and rarest limited edition to date. It’s a 46-year-old single malt Scotch whisky with just 150 bottles available worldwide and a retail price of £6,750. It was laid down in refill ex-bourbon casks in 1974 for 36 years, before being re-casked in first-fill ex-bourbon casks in 2011. It was then moved again for a four-year finish in ex-Oloroso sherry butts before being bottled at 41.7%.
1,841 pubs were opened in the UK in 2021!
Two bottles of Midleton Very Rare Irish whiskey sold at auction for a combined €94,000 set a new record for the category. The history-making whiskeys, put up for sale by private collectors, were sold separately at auction on 21 March 2022, with the first – a 2020 bottling of Midleton Very Rare Silent Distillery Collection Chapter One – fetching €48,000 (€50,952 including fees), the highest price paid for an Irish whiskey at public auction. The second, a bottle of the 2021-released Chapter Two, sold for €46,000 (€48,829 including fees).
Presented in a hand-blown Waterford Crystal decanter and displayed in a wooden cabinet made from reclaimed whiskey vats, there are just 70 bottles of Midleton Very Rare Silent Distillery Collection Chapter Two in the world. When the Old Midleton Distillery in County Cork closed its doors in 1975, after 150 years in business, several casks of trial whiskey innovations disappeared with it. They slumbered deep within their barrels for close to half a century -- until their resurrection in 2021. The first release was a 45-year-old peated single malt, created in 1974 by master distiller emeritus Max Crockett and guarded at the abandoned distillery for four generations since.
Port Amadán, a 25-year-old Islay whisky was sourced from an undisclosed distillery on Islay. It is bottled at cask strength 56.2% ABV without any additional colouring or chill-filtration after it was matured in an ex-bourbon barrel for a quarter of a century. There’s no adulteration here, just a pure presentation of Islay whisky made with barley peated to 33.5 ppm.
Karuizawa Distillery, established in 1955 to make single malt whisky was the highest in Japan at 850m above sea level; low temperatures and high humidity provided an ideal microclimate for whisky production. It closed in 2001 was then demolished in 2016.
The Karuizawa Geisha series was created to celebrate both the skill, beauty and tradition of the geisha by this distillery. Only cask-strength bottles aged between 21-38 years remain and are sold between US$ 20-75,000 each, with ex-Sherry cask bottles selling at higher prices than ex-Bourbon.
Jameson, the largest-selling Irish whiskey, and the pride of Ireland today, was actually created by John Jameson, a Scottish businessman and distillery manager.
Jack Daniel, the man who created the largest-selling American whiskey brand was taught the art of distillation by an African-American slave, Nathan Nearest Green. He went on to become the first African-American Master Distiller at Jack Daniel’s new endeavour, a free man under newly enacted US laws.
Major James Grant was the first man in the Highlands to own a car. Glen Grant was also the first distillery to have a light bulb illuminate its rooms.
Deanston Denominations: This distillery was originally a mill for curtain lace before sense took over. However, in the frenzy of the industrial revolution, there was a shortage of coins and workers were paid in the mill’s own currency; foreign coins branded with the Deanston stamp.
George Orwell famously travelled to the Isle of Jura to write his dystopian novel 1984.
You will find Skaill House on the rugged west coast of mainland Orkney. This fine mansion is said to be built on top of an ancient Pictish burial ground which has led to numerous reports of ghostly figures and apparitions in the House’s empty rooms!
Highland Park prides itself on its Viking origins and the Valknut expression is a perfect example of that. In Norse mythology, the Valknut is a symbol of three interlinking triangles and the name means “knot of those slain in battle”. The symbol is associated with the Norse god Odin, who guided the spirits of the dead to the underworld and back to the world of the living.
Malt Master Balvenie David C. Stewart likes to say, “The dog is a good companion for an angel. When the amount of the whisky lost ‘to the angels’ appears to be a little higher on certain casks… well, maybe it wasn’t the angel who came to visit, maybe it was the dog who’s been for a little wander around the warehouse.”
Towser the mouser who protected the grounds of Glenturrent Distillery for a rumoured 23 years, is said to have maintained her hunting prowess by drinking a dram of whisky in her milk every day. Named in the Guinness Book of World Records as “The Most Prolific Mouser of All-Time”, Towser lived in the Glenturrent Distillery until her death in 1987 having made a record 28,899 kills (an average of 3 mice a day). So missed was Towser, a statue was erected outside of the distillery in her honour.
Towser also has a distillery bottling named after it.
Towser was replaced by a kitten named Peat. Sadly, in Sep 2014, Peat the kitten was found dead on the side of the road near the distillery and was presumably hit by a car.
The Beast, a three-legged cat with the biggest head the Ardmore still men had ever seen, was named Tommy.
Semi-feral and fiercely independent, Tommy had two pleasures in life: basking in the heat of the Ardmore stillhouse of the late 1980s and early 1990s (the distillery was coal-fired until 2000) and decimating the local mouse population.
Established in 1984, Broxburn Bottlers is a subsidiary of Ian Macleod and J&G Grant Distillers, providing customers with a variety of sizes to choose from. They now have 9 varied and highly flexible bottling lines, with in excess of 40 customers from across the whole industry producing in excess of 50 million bottles per annum.
Whisky bottles have codes etched on them, for most brands; e.g., bottling codes on malt whisky bottles used bottled by Ardbeg. A bottle of Ardbeg 10 has the code very faintly engraved into the glass near the bottom of the bottle. The code is L7 256 21:15 4ML. This code means it was bottled in the year 2007 on the 256th day at 9.15pm that day. 4ML is the code for Ardbeg.
Diageo has a similar and easy system. A bottle of Talisker 10 has its code printed just above the rear label on the glass. If that code is: L7302CM000, it means that it was bottled in the year 2007 on the 302nd day and it is a Classic Malt.
The change of 750ml to 700ml for bottles in the EU holding strong liquor took place in 1992. The USA standard bottle is 750 ml and Scotch Whisky must be at least 43% ABV, or 86 proof (75 proof the world over).
According to the yellow, parchment-style labels of Abbot’s Choice, John McEwan & Co was established in Leith in 1863. The firm owned other blended whiskies including King George IV and Chequers
The brand was originally called ‘McEwan’s Whisky – the Abbot’s Choice.
In the 1960s, ceramic monks filled with Scotch sold as far afield as Peru. Today Abbot’s Choice lives on as an occasional oddity in whisky auctions.
Scotch whisky has been bottled in everything from miniature golf bags to models of Nessie and Big Ben, so why not use a ceramic monk and employ his head as a stopper? Every time you felt like a dram you could decapitate the poor fellow and then put him back together again.
The blend may have contained Linkwood
Situated ‘a football kick’ from Morrison & Mackay’s new blending and bottling facility, Aberargie is designed as a ‘barley to bottle’ operation – every process bar the malting (courtesy of Simpsons) will take place on-site.
Every drop of spirit produced at the distillery is destined for Aberargie single malt, although some may be commandeered as fillings for Morrison & Mackay’s Bruadar whisky liqueur.
Fed by the Pitilie Burn [where gold is still panned] Aberfeldy became the malt at the heart of the Dewar’s blends.
A private railway line linked the plant with the firm’s operational hub in Perth.
When Diageo was forced to offload, The Dewar’s estate [the Blends, plus Aberfeldy, Aultmore, Craigellachie and Royal Brackla] were bought for £1.1bn by Bacardi-Martini.
Bailie Nicol Jarvie (BNJ) was a blend originally created in the late 19th century by wine merchant Nicol Anderson, and later produced by Macdonald & Muir – the original name for The Glenmorangie Company – which claimed it had the ‘highest malt content of any blended Scotch whisky’.
Anderson named the blend after one of the central characters in Walter Scott’s 1819 novel, Rob Roy.
BNJ became an available and respected brand which was introduced into the US by agents Balfour, Guthrie & Co of San Francisco after Prohibition had ended.
BNJ appeared in 1994 as a rich blend with a 60% malt content drawn from Islay, Speyside and the Highlands, and grain from Girvan. The youngest component whisky was at least 8 years old.
Caermory is a limited edition run of unpeated single malt from Tobermory distillery on the Isle of Mull, bottled under a different name.
Matured solely in ex-Bourbon casks, Caermory was initially released as a NAS single malt Scotch whisky from the Isle of Mull, but has since been bottled as a 15-year-old (at 56% ABV), 20-year-old (at 49.6% ABV) and most recently as a single cask 21-year-old (at 48.2% ABV).
A container-load of ex-Bourbon casks that arrived at the Glenkeith warehouse complex from Kentucky had some animal alive in one cask; a ‘very bedraggled, dirty, black-and-white little cat’, staggering and blinking in the light. She’d survived the four-week-long transatlantic journey, by train, sea and lorry, by licking the condensation off the inside of the casks, which explained why Dizzy, as she was instantly named, was so unsteady on her feet. She wasn’t Dizzy for long. She was taken to live at Glen Keith distillery, then the home of Passport whisky – and appropriately renamed Passport. When Glen Keith fell silent in 1999, she hopped across the Isla to Strathisla distillery and finally, to an employee’s house.
The Orkney distillery of Highland Park was home to three kittens from the same litter, and they were named Barley, Malt and Peat.
A diabetic’s urine can AND has been used to make single malt whisky. Created by James Gilpin, a designer and researcher, The Gilpin Family Whisky is not up for commercial sale but is promoted as an art piece.
July 27th is National Scotch Day.
Many distilleries store casks of whisky belonging to other brands and distilleries in their warehouses. This way, if a fire or catastrophe occurs, they won’t lose all their stock.
Mackmyra, a Swedish distillery, is teaming up with Microsoft and a Finnish technology consultancy to start using AI to help generate the perfect whisky recipe based on past and current consumer trends.
The French are the biggest consumers of Scotch whisky, importing 176 million bottles last year. India comes in second, importing 136 million bottles, while the USA ranks third with 126 million bottles in 2021. The USA alone imports around £790 million worth of Scotch whisky.
The value of rare whisky has skyrocketed in recent years, with limited-edition whisky selling for millions at auction. The most expensive whisky ever sold was a bottle of The Macallan 1926 60-Year-Old Scotch which sold for a staggering £1.452 million or $1.9 million in 2019. In 2018, a similar bottle from that limited release sold for $1 million, while in 2015, a six-litre crystal decanter of Macallan Imperiale ‘M’ whisky sold for over $628,000. The prices quoted are specific for the year sold in and are not adjusted for any external factor.
In Scotland, grain whisky was first made in 1830, while malt whisky was first created in 1494.
When prohibition was introduced in the United States, certain brands of whisky were exempt due to its supposed ‘medicinal properties’. When Winston Churchill visited in 1931, he had a doctor prescribe him “the use of alcoholic spirits, especially at meal times”.
In the old days, whisky was linked to masculinity. Nowadays, women are sipping and distilling whisky in increasing numbers. Women are in technical roles at distilleries and have even opened a few distilleries. Women are also an excellent choice for taste testing as it is suggested they have a better sense of smell and taste than men.
If you look carefully, the trees around any distillery are black. This is a disease caused by the spirit fumes from the nearby distillery. Luckily it has no negative effect on the tree itself, just the colour.
No matter how peaty your whisky is, once you open the bottle it will start to lose its peatiness due to oxidation.
Contrary to popular myth alcohol (of any variety) does not warm you up. In fact, it actually lowers the core body temperature.
Campbeltown-based Springbank produces a whisky distilled 2.5 times. How’s that possible? The distillery takes the feints (tails) of the first spirit still and combines them with a portion of the low wines obtained during the initial stripping run. That mixture is then distilled again on the second spirit still; for the feints, it’s their third trip through the still. That means a portion of the finished distillate has been distilled three times, while another portion has been distilled twice – voilà, 2.5 times distillation.
Deanston Distillery started life in 1785 as a cotton mill and remained as such for 180 years until it was transformed into a distillery in 1966.
Deanston is now the only distillery in Scotland to be self-sufficient in electricity, with power generated by an on-site hydro-energy facility.
Deanston, a Highland single malt whisky, is handmade by ten local craftsmen, un-chill filtered, natural colour and bottled at a strength of 46.3% ABV or higher.
Deanston first acquired its name in 1500, when Walter Drummond (the Dean of Dunblane) inherited the lands now known as Deanston from the Haldanes of Gleneagles. The Scots word ‘dean’ was coupled with the Scots Gaelic term ‘toun’, meaning farm/settlement, to make Deanston.
The mill was opened in 1785 as the Adelphi Mill, after the Greek word adelphoi meaning ‘brothers’.
Due to a shortage of currency at the time (1789-1840), Deanston was the first major industrial works to produce its own currency.
By 1833, Deanston was powered by four large water wheels - the first two small wheels were reconstructions of the original Adelphi Mill wheels and the third wheel was called Samson. The fourth wheel (named Hercules) measured 36 ft 6in in diameter, was of 300 horsepower, and was the largest waterwheel in Europe and the second largest in the world.
Deanston started bottling in 1971 and the first single malt was named Old Bannockburn.
Teith Mill, a blended whisky, was also produced at this time - a kiosk was set up at Blair Drummond Safari Park which sold Old Bannockburn and Teith Mill in take-away cartons.
Deanston Distillery looks very unlike a traditional Scotch whisky distillery and has a number of unique production features which contribute to its distinct character in taste and look.
The spirit is handmade by ten local craftsmen who rely on traditional distilling techniques; no technology or computers are used.
Deanston uses only Scottish-grown barley and in 2000, was one of the first distilleries in Scotland to start producing organic whisky, certified by the Organic Food Federation and using barley grown in specially selected sites, free from pesticides and chemicals.
The distillery also uses an 11-ton open-topped mash tun - the only one of its size in Scotland - and four unique pot stills with upwards-sloping lyne arms and boiling balls, which help give the whisky its light character.
The spirit is matured in the original weaving shed built in the 1830s, which holds a capacity of 45,000 casks.
Cork is the outer bark of the evergreen cork oak (Quercus suber). This species covers 2.7 million hectares of Spain, southern France, Italy, The Mahgreb of Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria and, especially, Portugal, which accounts for 51 per cent of world cork production.
Types of cork stoppers made include quality ones hand cut from single pieces of bark & composite corks made from broken pieces of cork.
A lot of bottle cork stoppers break not because cork is bad and the screw top is good, but because the cork stoppers are made from composite cork for economic gain, i.e., cheapness.
Air conditioning and central heating create atmospheres that dry out corks.
Cork is one of the best, more natural, and if properly harvested and manufactured, sustainable materials that can be used for stoppering our whisky bottles.
Cork harvesting is an environmentally friendly process during which not a single tree is cut down. Once harvested, the bark renews itself during the following nine years, ready for its next harvest. A tree must be more than 25 years old before it can be first harvested and it is not until its third harvest that the bark can be used for the production of whisky (or wine) corks. Bark from the first two harvests is used for other products. Each cork oak tree produces an average of 16 harvests during its 150-200 year lifespan.
The oldest cork oak tree in existence is known as the Whistler tree – it is now more than 225 years old. When last harvested, during the year 2000, it took a team of five men four hours to harvest 650 kilos of cork which produced around 55,000 bottle corks.
Cork consists of a tight web of up to 40 million cells per cubic centimetre. The structure and make-up of these cells is responsible for the cork’s suitability for the uses to which it is put; it is light, resistant to wear, stable in size and, very importantly, elastic. Cork for bottle stoppers accounts for 70 per cent of the total value of the cork market.
In the 1920s, innovation in whisky bottle closures was a levered, flip-top metal cap which could be easily replaced. This was superseded by ROPPs (roll on, pilfer-proof caps), stelcaps (ROPPs with a collar which extends down the bottle’s neck) and various non-refillable fitments, such as the widely available Guala.
Scotch Whisky is probably one of the most taxed products in the world – around 80% of the price of a bottle is actually tax. Official bodies and producers are in a constant fight to have it reduced.
Berry Bros & Rudd is the world’s oldest family-owned wine and spirits merchant. Founded in 1698 as a grocery, the company has gone on to become a greatly respected and renowned drinks company throughout the globe.
The company owns a selection of small-batch whiskies and casks, all under Berry’s Own Collection. The family also own the Glenrothes Single Malt brand.
Gordon & Macphail, a globally known independent bottler, started as a grocery in 1895.
The company also owns the Benromach Distillery
The Rest & Be Thankful Whisky Co. is an independent Whisky and Rum company dealing in small batch/single cask releases, now owned by the Fox Fitzgerald Whisky Trading Co. Ltd., founded by Eamonn Jones and Aidan Smith.
The company had focussed almost entirely on Bruichladdich distillery with single cask releases of casks filled from 2002 onwards, including several Port Charlotte releases as 16-19 YO bottlings.
The origin of this evocative name came from a stone inscription made by soldiers as they completed construction of the old military road in 1753; a road out of Glen Croe that was so long and steep that it was traditional for travellers to rest and repose at the highest point.
It has also bottled a 2007 Benrinnes single malt at cask strength, matured for 11 years in an ex-bourbon hogshead before being bottled in 2019. A Teaninich 10 YO cask strength was released in 2019. Its oldest release was a Bowmore 25 YO 1990 Bourbon Cask (53.7%). They have also bottled single casks from distilleries such as Macallan, Highland Park, Springbank, Bunnahabhain, etc.
William Grant & Sons is the biggest independent bottler of whisky in Scotland. The company operates four distilleries, Balvenie, Glenfiddich, Kininvie and Ailsa Bay, and has the third-largest malt distilling capacity in the whisky industry. Their product range is huge, from 40-year-old releases to younger blends and single malts.
Wilson & Morgan is one of several indie bottlers that are not based in Scotland. While they do have offices in Edinburgh that they operate out of when sourcing casks, the company is actually based in Treviso in northern Italy.
Scotch Whisky Investments is one of the oldest whisky investment companies in Europe. They unveiled bottle No. 1 of the world’s oldest whisky, the Glenlivet 80-Year-Old by independent bottler, Gordon & MacPhail.
Bottle No. 1 was auctioned by Sotheby’s in Hong Kong just months before, and sold to SWI for over US$190,000.
Rare Whisky investment outperformed wine and gold in recent years…Macallan is still the most traded brand, followed by Ardbeg and Bruichladdich.
Hazelburn is one of three styles of single malt made at Springbank distillery in Campbeltown. The bulk of the distillery’s output is concentrated on producing the Springbank malt, 10% of its production time is dedicated to the heavily peated Longrow, and a further 10% to the triple-distilled Hazelburn, all at 46% ABV.
Springbank began triple distilling for the first time ever in 1997. In 2005, an 8 YO Hazelburn made its debut. The 10 YO came in 2014.
The low wines and feints produced during Balvenie’s Week of Peat are collected separately and reused in the next year’s Week of Peat.
During mashing, the peated barley affects all those working on that product – it goes for the eyes, nose, throat, and lingered on them, through the whole shift. Workers complain about the reek of peat on their clothes, as do their wives when they come home!
The term Slàinte Mhath (Pronounced Slanj-a-va) is actually both Irish and Scots Gaelic. The way the phrase is pronounced is the same for both dialects, however, the way it is spelt differs subtly. The Irish spell it Slàinte Mhaith. The phrase translates to "Good health" in both dialects, and if you want to respond to this using Scots Gaelic, you would say, "do dheagh shlainte" meaning "to your good health."
The Balvenie is unique among single malts due to its natural alchemy and centuries-old craftsmanship, The whisky-making process is dedicated to maintaining the ‘Five Rare Crafts’ as it is the only distillery in Scotland that still grows its own barley, uses traditional floor maltings and keeps both a coppersmith and a team of coopers on site.
The Glengoyne Distillery is named after the migrating geese that stop by. Glen of the geese in Gaelic is Glen Guin, ergo, Glengoyne.
Glengoyne's liquid waste is cleansed in CO2-capturing reed beds and solid waste is harvested for enough energy to power 354 homes each year.
The distillery is powered by the winds outside that run its turbines.
They claim to be the slowest whisky distiller in Scotland
The Glen Spey Distillery was built at Rothes, Speyside.
The town is also home to Glen Grant, Caperdonich, Glenrothes and Speyburn.
The distillery was founded in 1878 by James Stuart, who sold it shortly after buying Macallan eight years later. The buyers, W&A Gilbey (more famous for their gin), were the first English company to own a Scottish distillery.
Gilbey rebuilt Glen Spey after a fire in 1920 and shepherded the distillery through the Prohibition era and WWII, before merging with United Wine Traders to form International Distillers and Vintners (IDV), a forerunner to (and one of the key whisky-distilling elements of) what would become today's globe-straddling drinks behemoth Diageo plc.
Almost all of Glen Spey's 1.3 million litres/year output goes into the J&B blended whisky.
Linkwood has been released as three different 26-year-olds, each spending 14 years in ex-rum, red wine or port casks respectively.
At one time the distillery grew its own barley and had cows which ate the distillery’s own spent - and alcohol-free grain.
The whisky features prominently in Johnnie Walker blends, but has also been bottled as a single malt in Diageo’s Flora and Fauna range.
Dailuaine was founded in 1853 by farmer William MacKenzie, the distillery has been rebuilt several times, just like its contemporaries along the Spey valley. In 1889, it was the first distillery to be fitted with architect Charles Doig’s pagoda roof, which allows peat smoke to exit the malting while protecting the grain from the elements.
1889 saw the installation of Scotland’s first pagoda on a kiln whose pitch was deliberately steep to minimise the contact time between peat smoke and drying malt, one of the clearest indications of how the old ‘Strathspey’ style was changing.
At the end of the 19th century, Dailuaine was the largest single malt distillery in Speyside and also one of the most innovative in terms of design.
In 1898 Dailuaine formed a company with Imperial and, somewhat bizarrely, Talisker on the Isle of Skye.
Single malt bottlings of Benrinnes are extremely rare. The spirit is in high demand by blenders as a result.
The distillery was built by Peter Mackenzie in 1826 at the bottom of Ben Rinnes hill. Three years after its founding, the distillery was destroyed by a flood. A few years later it was rebuilt at a different higher site, 1.5 km afar, by John Innes and renamed Lyne of Ruthrie.
Later the distillery went bankrupt and was sold to William Smith who named it back to Benrinnes.
In 1896 the distillery was destroyed again. But this time it burned down.
Its most famous owner was Alexander Edward who was a partner in Craigellachie distillery, owned Aultmore, Dallas Dhu and was for a time co-owner of Oban.
In the 1950s it was rebuilt and renovated by the John Dewar & Sons company, which ended the farming at Benrinnes and closed the malting floors.
Benrinnes used to have two wash stills with ca. 21,000 litres volume, two intermediate stills with ca. 5,000-litre volume and two spirit stills with about 7,000-litre volume.
It has six stills which are run in two pairs of three. For years a form of partial triple distillation was utilised to help promote a meaty/sulphury new make character. The low wines from the first distillation were split into strong and weak feints. The lower-strength portion was redistilled in the middle still and split into two again, with the stronger part [strong feints] being carried forward, and the weaker being retained for the next charge. The strong feints were then mixed with the highest strength distillate from the wash still and redistilled in the spirit still. Today they use the small intermediate stills as spirit stills.
The unique quality of the Benrinnes is that the wash still is more than double the size of the spirit stills.
As many as 11 distilleries use water sourced from Benrinnes.
The Perth Royal, introduced by Matthew Gloag & Son in 1897/8, around the same time as The Famous Grouse blend, was still available through to the late 1990s, when sales of Perth Royal were limited and mainly confined to Perth and Perthshire. For a time during the 1970s, the Corrie Blending Company (which was struck off the companies register in 1989) bottled Perth Royal, but it reverted to Matthew Gloag & Sons – now a subsidiary of Edrington – for the rest of its existence. It is no longer bottled.
Inchmurrin’s intensely fruity new make spirit, which evolves into lighter flavours of grass and flowers, is the result of a high cut point from a pot still equipped with rectifying heads at the versatile Loch Lomond distillery in Alexandria. It is part of the still developing Loch Lomond Island Collection malts range.
Loch Lomond distillery has been developed since its founding in 1966 to be capable of producing at least eight styles of spirit.
In 1707, the Act of Union between England and Scotland led to the dissolution of the Scottish Parliament and Scotland was subjected to direct rule from London; The Act stipulated that taxes on alcohol had to be the same on both sides of the border.
In 1713, London attempted to introduce the English Malt Tax in Scotland and set off violent protestS there. The Malt Tax was highly controversial in Scotland. British distillation for the production of gin was based primarily on wheat. There was only a little malt being used in England, mostly for the production of beer, so the tax was not particularly onerous. The bulk of the malt being produced was in Scotland and Ireland for whisky.
Between 1786 and 1803, a span of 17 years, the duties on stills had increased by a factor of more than 77 times.
The Brits faced rampant alcoholism from cheap gin. The consumption of gin in London had reached 3.5 million gallons in 1727. By 1735 it had risen to 5.5 million gallons, i.e., two pints per week per inhabitant.
Lowland distillers, principally the Haigs and Steins, the first whisky dynasties, had started sending whisky to London for rectification into gin in 1777. This was the first recorded export of Scotch outside Scotland.
In 1816, one year after Waterloo, taxes on whisky were cut by a third, and the use of smaller stills was again allowed in the Lowlands. Following a lengthy Royal commission, Parliament passed the Excise Tax of 1823. Taxes were again decreased and most restrictions on the production and export of whisky for licensed distillers were eliminated.
In August 1822, King George IV made a highly publicised trip to Edinburgh, where he discovered the illicit whisky being produced in the district of Glenlivet in Speyside. It is not entirely clear whose whisky the king tasted. The distillery that today bears the name “The Glenlivet” hadn’t even been founded yet.
Elizabeth Grant of Rothiemurchus’, in her Memoirs of a Highland Lady 1797-1830, described how all of Scotland “went mad” over the king’s visit, how Lord Conyngham “was looking everywhere for pure Glenlivet whisky” as “the king drank nothing else.”
In 1835, William IV granted the first royal warrant to a whisky producer, The Brackla. He declared it his favorite whisky. Queen Victoria granted royal warrants to both Lochnagar and Royal Brackla (hence the designation “royal” in their names), and gave a standing order that all royal coaches should carry a bottle of whisky under the coachman’s seat in case of an “emergency.”
A Lomond still consists of a pot still topped with a neck fitted with several plates, which can be turned on or off depending on the producer’s desire.
The Lomond still was developed in 1955, when blended Scotch was extremely popular, to allow distillers to make a range of whisky styles on a single piece of equipment, multiplying their opportunities to create different flavour profiles for blending. By choosing which plates to engage, producers could simulate a short-necked still, a long-necked still, or something in between, with varying levels of rectification within the column itself. They could even change the angle of the lyne arm, adding yet another variable.
During the mid-20th century, Lomond stills were installed at Loch Lomond, Glenburgie, Miltonduff and Scapa, although only the wash still at Scapa and the Lomond still at Bruichladdich remain in use.
Mannochmore has warehouses capable of storing more than 250,000 casks of maturing spirit. The distillery has its own dark grains processing plant, converting draft and pot ale into animal feed.
The first official single malt was only released in 1992.
Founded in 1798, Blair Athol is one of Scotland’s oldest legal distilling sites. The Distillery sits in the quaint town of Pitlochry in picturesque Perthshire. One of the key components of the famous Bell's Blend, Blair Athol is adored for its fruity flavour and smooth finish.
The reason for green bottles for whisky was simple-to prevent direct sunlight from hitting the whisky inside and affecting it adversely. Nowadays, it is used as a marketing ploy by some brands.
The requirement for only brand new casks to be used in the production of bourbon and rye is not down to specifics of flavour, of ancient production mandates or to keep traditions alive, it is actually down to lobbying.
The Cooperage Union, at the end of prohibition, successfully negotiated, with the help of external pressure, for the American whiskey industry to only use new casks for each spirit fill. This definitely helped in job retention.
Rye was born in the northeastern parts of the United States during the revolution era. When the English blockaded the harbours, the US ran out of rum so created whiskey from rye grain.
Bourbon did not take over as America’s whiskey until after prohibition.
As well as being the President of the United States, George Washington was the country’s largest producer and distributor of rye whiskey in the USA.
At the San Francisco World Spirits Competition, Lagavulin’s 16-year Scotch flourished, winning four consecutive double gold medals between 2005 and 2008. But it was the 2017 competition when the Scotch took home the title of Best Distiller’s Single Malt and won a double gold medal, receiving unanimous gold medal scores from panellists.
The Glenesk Hotel in Angus, Scotland broke a world record for the largest whisky collection in December 2017. Its 2,500 bottles comprise 1,031 on the official hotel docket as well the owners’ impressive 1,449-bottle private collection. The most expensive pour on the list is Lagavulin 25, which retails for €299 per dram (approximately $345).
The early story of whisky in Scotland, from the 18th century onwards, largely went un-documented due to illegal production and smuggling. It’s often only the hidden remains of whisky bothies, forgotten objects and oral tradition that can provide the record of this formative period for the national drink from Scotland.
There are around 30 known illicit still sites on properties cared for by The National Trust for Scotland, including Mar Lodge Estate, Torridon, Kintail, Ben Lomond, Ben Lawers, Glencoe and Grey Mare’s Tail.
SWA and NTS are now appealing for any stories about whisky making, smuggling and drinking to get a bigger picture of the history of distilling across Scotland.
Early in 2018, the world’s first regulated whisky investment fund was launched. Single Malt Fund allows investors to buy a small part of a bigger collection of rare and limited-edition whiskies.
If bourbon is aged for more than two years but less than four, it must bear an age statement on the label.
The combination of beer and whisky is known as a ‘boilermaker’ in America, where blue-collar labourers regarded it as an effective pick-me-up after a shift down in the mines.
After Prohibition ended, 69-year-old James B. Beam got his distillery up and running in just 120 days. Factually, that was 120 days late. Having got wind of the momentous decision a day earlier, hundreds of motor boats loaded with liquor were waiting at the 12-mile international border, both East and South, for a signal to rush in. JFK's father Joe Kennedy, a good friend of then President FD Roosevelt who lifted Prohibition, starting with the Cullen-Harrison Act of 1933, made a fortune when Prohibition was lifted.
Joe Sheridan, a head chef in Foynes, County Limerick claims to have invented and named the Irish Coffee. A group of American passengers disembarked from a Pan Am flying boat on a miserable winter evening in the 1940s, so Sheridan added whiskey to their coffee. When they asked if they were being served Brazilian coffee, Sheridan replied, ‘No, Irish coffee”.
Jack Daniel’s is Tennessee whiskey, not bourbon.
When Norman Lamont was Chancellor in the early 1990s, the bag which was waved at photographers outside No 11 contained a bottle of Highland Park, while the speech itself was carried in a plastic bag by his then-aide, William Hague.
The world’s largest collection of Scotch whisky is known as ‘the Perfect Collection with a staggering 3,384 bottles.
The record for the smallest bottle goes to White Horse, who produced a bottle containing just 1.3 millilitres of whisky.
Blair Athol’s ancient source of water is the Allt Dour – in Gaelic “the burn of the otter” - which flows through the grounds from the slopes of Ben Vrackie.
Blair Athol was saved during the depression by Arthur Bell and Sons.
The early 1900s were a difficult time for whisky production. Production at Glen Elgin began in 1900 and within 6 years it was mothballed twice and then sold.
Fortunately, Glen Elgin was revived and has contributed to the flavour of one of the world's most treasured blended whiskies as well as being available to enjoy as a honey-sweet Single Malt in its own right.
The buildings of the Glen Elgin distillery are rather modest, this being due to a lack of funding when it was first built in 1898. In 1901, the distillery was acquired at auction by the Glen Elgin-Glenlivet Distillery Company for £4,000. Production began once more, though it only lasted from 1904 to 1905.
A grain whisky is any whisky made using grains but not on a pot still.
This definition can be extended to grain Scotch whisky, providing that the output of the processing is matured as a New Make for three years in a wooden cask < 700 L.
Barley is used more often than not in the grain mash that is processed to make grain whisky.
Among all grains usable in making grain whisky, barley has the maximum catalytic agents to convert sucrose to lower sugars and then ethanol. Its presence calls for a reduction in the amount and types of yeast used for fermentation.
Grain whisky naturally interacts with the wood, and like malt whiskies gains additional flavours (additive maturation), loses unwanted notes (subtractive maturation), but still never reaches the depth and complexity of a malt whisky. The distillate from the column distillation, being more efficient, removes more of the base flavours and makes for fewer and less desirable flavour compound creation.
Most grains do not necessarily mature in fresh or particularly notable oak casks. As casks and barrels can be used almost indefinitely in Scotland, the bulk of grain whiskies matured in casks that are reaching the end of their natural life. This is especially true when it comes to cheap brands.
Bulk ethanol is usually stored in metallic containers of up to 25-30,000L capacity.
The Balvenie distillery is conveniently located just 200 metres from the train station of Dufftown.
Balvenie is one of almost two dozen malt whisky distilleries that were founded during the 'whisky boom' of the late 19th century and which have managed to survive until this day. The other survivors include Aberfeldy, Ardmore, Aultmore, Benriach, Benromach, Bruichladdich, Bunnahabhain, Craigellachie, Dalwhinnie, Dufftown, Glendullan, Glenfiddich, Glen Moray, Glenrothes, Glentauchers, Knockandu, Knockdhu, Longmorn, Tamdhu and Tomatin.
Amrut 'Amaze I', 50% ABV, OB was made for SMAC, Bangalore, the first private Club Bottling in India. The release (120 Bts) is the first of a planned Trio of Amaze Series.
The Amrut 'Amaze II' had 248 Bts, 750ml.
Grain whiskies are often stored in spent casks. After three years, they may be stored anywhere. The low costs incurred paved the way for No Age Statement whiskies.
Malt whiskies 3-5 years in age are mixed with indifferent grain whiskies that are three years old. Their cost is in single digits.
Bladnoch is a Lowland Single Malt Scotch Whisky Distillery with a complicated history. Production-wise, its style varied. At the start of the Bell’s era it was light and floral, but the blender’s template of nutty and spicy became the norm towards the end of its ownership. Inconsistency in its owner’s concept has seen a regular change of ownership, interspersed with closure.
Intensity is what helps to define Aultmore. Its wort is clear, the fermentations long, but its stills are relatively small with downward lyne arms. Running the stills slow helps to maximise reflux, but the shape also allows some heavier elements to come across. In character, therefore, Aultmore shares some of the same characteristics as Linkwood – fragrant on the nose, substantial on the tongue.
Twice in its history (1817-), Bladnoch’s saviours have come from Northern Ireland. The first of these was Belfast distiller Dunville & Co. which owned the Royal Irish distillery. In 1994, however, two brothers from Northern Ireland bought it with the initial idea of turning the extensive site into a holiday village but switched to distillation. Lack of interest saw it close down again, in 2014. In July 2015, Australian businessman David Prior, along with ex-SWA CEO, Gavin Hewitt, announced the purchase of Bladnoch and restored the distillery to its former glory.
In 1923, Aultmore became part of the John Dewar & Sons estate and has remained so ever since. In fact, so highly prized is it as a blending malt that it is said that when Bacardi was in the process of buying Dewar’s from Diageo, it was willing to walk away from the deal if Aultmore wasn’t included.
Ahead of Bladnoch’s reopening in 2017, three single malts created using existing stocks of Bladnoch (Samsara/Adela/Talia), were released in limited quantities in Australia, the UK and other global markets. Today, Bladnoch produces a light, grassy and malty Lowland-style malt.
Only the presence of two stainless steel washbacks (part of a 1966 refurb) alters the impression that little has changed. The new style is medium-weight and very fruity with a heavy honeyed floral character.
Blenders however found it a difficult customer, one of those highly individual malts which didn’t rub along particularly well with other elements in a blend. Had the single malt market been up and running in the 1970s its story might be very different, but its sheer awkwardness meant it was deemed surplus to Highland’s requirements and when it closed in 1986, no one thought it would ever re-open.
It did. In 2008, a Russian-financed firm bought the plant and restarted production. In 2013, it changed hands once again, becoming the third member of the BenRiach Distillery Co. (with Benriach and Glendronach).
Lochindaal Distillery was built in 1829 and dominated the village for 100 years until it closed in 1929 due to the Prohibition era.
After the neighbouring distillery Bruichladdich was bought, they announced that they would reopen the old Lochindall Distillery under the name Port Charlotte, but that plan has definitely been abandoned.
Two ruined farmsteads found in a Scottish forest may have been an illicit distillery, experts claim. Archaeologists surveyed the 18th-century remains in the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park in advance of trees being harvested. They say the results suggest the Wee Bruach Caoruinn and the Big Bruach Caoruinn, near Loch Ard, were used to make whisky. The farms were abandoned in the 1840s. By the 1860s, they had fallen into ruin.
Denmark and Canada have decided to formally end their “light-hearted” dispute that spanned over 50 years over an uninhabited Arctic island. Dubbed as “Whisky wars”, the NATO allies had been squabbling over Hans Island, situated at an equal distance between Greenland and Canada's Ellesmere Island, since 1971, when the dispute first emerged at a bilateral meeting to discuss territorial boundaries.
The conflict earned the moniker “Whisky War” due to military ships visiting the island and planting flags and bottles of Canadian whiskey or Danish schnapps to mark their territory.
As of 22 Feb 2022, the Glenmorangie Signet is considered the best whisky in the world, with its use of high roast chocolate malt barley and a blend of Glenmorangie's rarest whiskies matured in bespoke casks.
In time, Sulphury new makes require time to let the sulphur lift to show delicate fruits, as the meatiness changes to sweet toffee notes and, after extended ageing, a notable spiciness. Balblair Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky is a prime example.
In 2013, Balblair acted as the distillery where the (fictitious) only extant cask of Malt Mill was auctioned in Ken Loach’s whisky caper ‘The Angel’s Share’.
Balblair was closed in 1911, not reopening until after WWII when Churchill set out his edict that whisky needed to be made, and sold to the US. Robert Cumming, the owner of Old Pulteney, bought the silent site.
Early in 2018, the world’s first regulated whisky investment fund was launched. Single Malt Fund allows investors to buy a small part of a bigger collection of rare and limited-edition whiskies.
According to the Scottish Whisky Regulations of 2009, Scotland is divided into two protected localities (Campbeltown and Islay) and three protected regions (Highland, Lowland, and Speyside).
According to The French Federation of Spirits, whisky accounts for the highest retail sales of any spirit in France at 47.2 per cent. This is compared to Cognac which makes up only 0.7 per cent of sales.
The tagline on the Canadian group Hiram Walker & Sons'-which, in 1954, had taken over Bloch Brothers' holdings in Scotland- Ambassador Blended Scotch 1970s labels was ‘Scotch at its World’s Lightest’, but was never seen east of the USA.
Port Ellen is reputed to have been the first distillery to have incorporated Septimus Fox's spirit-safe design in the distillation process.
in 1836, Port Ellen became the first distillery to trade with North America in 1848.
The peat that is used at the Port Ellen maltings is harvested from Castlehill moss, which is located less than three miles from the Port Ellen distillery.
The Port Ellen Maltings House is the largest building on Islay.
The original name for The Glenmorangie Company was Macdonald & Muir.
In 1887, Macdonald & Muir took over products blended by wine merchant Nicol Anderson.
Of note was the Bailie Nicol Jarvie (BNJ) blend, which Anderson claimed as having the ‘highest malt content of any blended Scotch whisky. This was in the era when Blended Malts ruled the roost, till being overtaken after ~1880 by Blended Scotch. BNJ was bought, reportedly, for £20.
Anderson named the blend after one of the central characters in Walter Scott’s 1819 novel, Rob Roy – a patriotic Glaswegian magistrate and merchant and example of the Lowland gentry.
BNJ, as it was colloquially known, was a full, rich blend composed of Islay, Highland and Speyside malts along with Lowland grain.
BNJ was introduced to the US by agents Balfour, Guthrie & Co of San Francisco after Prohibition ended.
Distilleries cite the PPM of the malted barley used as the base ingredient rather than measuring and sharing the PPM of the finished product.
Ailsa Bay single malt Scotch whisky is scientifically distilled at 022 parts “peat” and 019 parts “sweet”, then micro matured to a precise balance of oaky sweetness and smoky notes.
Ailsa Bay contains 22 ppm, which is assessed prior to bottling guaranteeing a more accurate measurement.
It is the first whisky to have an analysed measurement of sweetness identified (19 sppm) within it, allowing a balance between the peat and sweetness.
Ailsa Bay is also the only Scotch whisky to undergo a process called ‘micro maturation’. The distillery’s new make spirit is first filled into Hudson Baby bourbon casks that are between 25-100 litres in size, for six to nine months. The relatively small casks enable intense rapid maturation. The liquid is then transferred into virgin, first-fill and refill American oak casks for several years. The process is the first of its kind within the Scotch whisky industry.
Ailsa Bay distillery was built to both replace ‘Balvenie-style’ malt for Grant’s blends and offer other flavour possibilities. Not surprisingly, the stills are shaped the same as Balvenie’s.
Four different characters are made: estery, nutty, fruity and heavily peated.
Many malt distilleries have been built within grain plants: Inverleven at Dumbarton (1959-1991), Ben Wyvis at Invergordon (1965-1977), Glen Flager and Killyloch at Garnheath (1965-1985), and Ladyburn at Girvan (1966-1976).
All of them were built by blending firms and came into being at a time when an increase in production was deemed necessary. All then closed when a downturn in demand occurred.
William Grant & Sons built Ailsa Bay in 2007 on the same Girvan site where Ladyburn had once stood. Demands for Grant’s blends (the Family Reserve range and Clan MacGregor) were growing, but so was the demand for its two flagship malts Glenfiddich and Balvenie, particularly the latter. This was the main reason for the construction of this eight-still, 5m litres per annum capacity site.
Ailsa Bay's first official bottling as a single malt was a no-age-statement heavily peated whisky released in February 2016.
Kilkerran has also been making a heavy peat style for a few years now in order to satisfy the ever-growing demand for a good peat monster. Its heavily peated batch editions go up to 84ppm at an ABV>59%.
Bruichladdich distillery was mothballed in 1994 due to a lack of demand for single malts that seems almost inconceivable today. Bruichladdich wouldn’t reopen until 2001.
The crystal decanter of Chivas Regal The Icon carries an intricately designed metal Chivas Regal logo, and an exquisite heavy stopper bearing the Chivas luckenbooth, an ancient Scottish symbol of love, which embodies the Chivas’ love for Scotch whisky.
Though a NAS whisky, The Icon has often been quoted as a 25 YO and a decanter recently auctioned by Sotheby’s was a 50 YO, distilled in 1968 and bottled in 2018, in memory of Manchester United’s European Cup final victory in 1968.
James had four children, Julia Abercrombie (1855), Alexander James(1856), Williamina Joyce Shirres(1857)and Charles James (1859). When he died in 1886, Alexander stepped up in his place as specifically nominated in James Chivas’ will.
In 1857, on the corner of Erb and Caroline Streets in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, entrepreneurs William Hespeler and George Randall established the Granite Mills & Waterloo Distillery, the company that Canadian whisky man Joseph Emm Seagram would purchase in 1883, marking the official beginning of the Seagram legacy in the annals of beverage alcohol.
In 2004, Tim Morrison, formerly of Morrison Bowmore Distillers, revived the Dewar Rattray company first established by his ancestor Andrew Dewar Rattray. The firm also developed Stronachie, a single malt sourced from Benrrinnes distillery on Speyside, and intended to replicate whisky produced at the now long-lost Stronachie distillery.
In 1860, loaf sugar sold for 10 pence per pound in Aberdeen; common black tea 3 shillings to 3 shillings, 6 pence per pound; Guinness’s Extra Double Stout 4 shillings, 6 pence per bottle; rum ranged from 9 to 14 shillings per gallon, while brandy garnered a steep 32 shillings per gallon because of stiff duties. Ordinary Highland malt whisky sold for 6 shillings, 6 pence per gallon; finer malt whisky at 11 per cent over proof brought in 8 shillings per gallon; and the malt whisky from George Smith’s new Glenlivet distillery at Minmore, considered Scotland’s crème de la crème, sold for 20 to 22 shillings per gallon.
Throughout the late 1860s and early 1870s, Alexander Joyce Clapperton Chivas, James and Joyce’s elder son, and Charles James Joyce Chivas, their youngest child, typically spent school holidays with their father in the shop. The latter seemed disinterested from the outset.
Charles James Joyce, proved to be a failure, requiring regular unrecorded bailouts to meet gambling debts. When James the father somehow caught wind of the sibling bailout through the Aberdeen social grapevine, he castigated both brothers and packed the younger ‘wastrel’ off to America in 1881, to look after their not-too-impressive American assets.
He met and married an American, Emma Grosskopf from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA and settled there. He dropped the name Charles to be called James Joyce Chivas thereafter and died in Milwaukee in 1908.
The water for the main house and for The Glenlivet distillery came from a pristine subterranean source, called Josie’s Well, the same water source used in the distillery today.
Morrison also established the Cask Collection label for single cask bottlings, and in 2011 the peated blended malt Cask Islay was released, being transformed into a single malt two years later.
Grand Old Parr Deluxe 12 YO is named in honour of Old Tom Parr, a character in British history who lived during the 16th and 17th centuries. He is known for being the oldest man in English history, having reportedly died at age 152.
Grand Old Parr was originally named Ancient Old Parr, changing to Grand Old Parr in 1941.
Brands that have been around for a century or more often sit toward the bottoms or backs of the shelves and don’t seem to receive much attention from publicists or writers but have dedicated long-time followings. Old Overholt and Old Granddad ryes are two examples; they were “discovered” by cocktail bartenders ~1940.
Brothers James and Samuel Greenlees were whisky blenders and merchants in 1871 and created the Old Parr blend in 1909. A big seller in London, it grew to become more successful as an export, mainly to Latin America. It claimed to have 52% of the entire Colombian Scotch whisky market in 2010.
An 18 YO Old Parr Superior also exists, but this family is not seen in Europe or the USA. The 15 YO, Old Parr Elizabethan and Tribute extensions were dropped by 2010.
Some 43 per cent of German tourists in Scotland visit a distillery while visiting, making it the second most popular activity for the demographic.
The Jack Daniel’s distillery is located in a ‘dry county', meaning alcohol sales therein are prohibited. An exception has been made for the distillery.
There was a whisky rebellion in Pennsylvania in 1794 due to whisky taxing. The tax was eventually repealed in 1802.
The first Scottish distillery to install a Coffey Still was the Grange Distillery, which fell silent in 1851.
There are over 300,000 varieties of barley but only a few are suitable for malt whisky production.
The year 1904 marked 500 years since the first written reference to Irish whisky was penned. Many producers released anniversary bottlings.
The year 1994 marked 500 years since the first written reference to Scotch whisky was penned. Many producers released anniversary bottlings.
In Victorian times, some Scottish distilleries allowed workers to stop for a dram each time a bell rang.
After Prohibition ended in the USA, 69-year-old James B. Beam got his distillery up and running in just 120 days. That was 119 days after a hundred thousand gallons of Scotch Whisky bottles had already changed hands.
Distilled alcoholic beverages made from gluten grains are gluten-free due to distillation removing gluten proteins.
A cooper’s apprentice must work accompanied for four years before being allowed to tackle their own barrel.
One large oak tree is said to yield enough wood for approximately three 60-gallon casks.
The combination of beer and whiskey is known as a ‘boilermaker’ in America, where blue-collar labourers regarded it as an effective pick-me-up after a shift down in the mines.
The Keeper of the Quaich is awarded to those who make an outstanding contribution to the Scotch whisky industry for at least five years and outstanding Keepers may progress to become Masters of the Quaich.
George Washington was the only founding father to commercially operate a distillery. It was one of the biggest distilleries of its time but was unfortunately destroyed by a fire a few years after opening.
Ireland’s Old Bushmills Distillery claims to be the country’s oldest legally functioning distillery. Operations on the present site date back to 1276 by some accounts, which seems doubtful. The company that originally built the distillery was formed in 1784, although the date 1608 is printed on the label of the brand – referring to an earlier date when a royal licence was granted to a local landowner to distil whisky in the area.
In 2017 Scottish scientists powered a car using a biofuel derived from whisky residue.
The world’s largest collection of Scotch whisky is known as the Perfect Collection with a staggering 3,384 bottles.
The record for the smallest bottle goes to White Horse, who produced a bottle containing just 1.3 millilitres of whisky.
The record for the largest bottle of whisky goes to Famous Grouse. The distillers created a 1.7-metre bottle containing 228 litres of whisky.
Jack Daniel ran away from his stepmother at the age of six and learned to distil whisky from a Lutheran minister.
You can earn an academic degree in distilling.
The Guinness World Record for the oldest bottle of whisky in the world belongs to the Glenavon Special Liqueur Whisky. Bottled between 1851 and 1858, it sold at auction for an astounding £14,850.
The Royal Brackla Distillery in Nairn, Scotland is situated in the Cawdor Estate. In Shakespeare’s play, this is the home of the fictional Thane of Cawdor, Macbeth.
Inchmurrin is one of a raft of single malt styles produced at Loch Lomond distillery, which has been developed since its founding in 1966 to be capable of producing at least eight styles of spirit.
It has historically been mostly reserved for the company’s blends. Bought out in 2014, Inchmurrin has adopted a more significant role in the portfolio, with current variants including a 12-year-old, Madeira wood finish and 18-year-old.
Perhaps taking its inspiration from Johnnie Walker’s famous ‘Coloured Label’ bottling and John Dewar & Sons ‘White Label', the Dundee whisky firm of John Robertson & Son went for the colour yellow for its signature blend. It was last seen ~ 1980.
Serendipity Blended Malt Scotch Whisky was an accidental product. The Glenmorangie Company had no plans to produce this blended malt; its creation arose from a mistake made in the blending hall at the company’s blending facility at Broxburn.
As a result of the error, Serendipity became a blend of Ardbeg and Glen Moray single malts, with Ardbeg making up most of the mix. The result was a toned-down Ardbeg that Glenmorangie marketed as a ‘lighter taste of Islay’ bottled as a 12-year-old.
Independent family distiller, William Grant & Sons, has launched a 10-year-old single malt Scotch whisky, Aerstone, in the US, focussing on the impact of maturation and malting on flavour. It is available in two expressions – Sea Cask 10-Year-Old and Land Cask 10-Year-Old. Their aim is to make people understand what a spectrum of flavours is, using clear taste descriptors on the two different types of bottlings.
Sea Cask is a classic Speyside-style single malt with nutty vanilla notes. Since this whisky is matured in warehouses located close to the sea on the Ayrshire coast, it has a subtle salty note on the finish.
Land Cask, on the other hand, is described as ‘rich and smoky’ and is a peated single malt zeroing in on the use of highland peat in the malting.
Johnnie Walker has a limitless supply of very old casks and regularly offers whisky connoisseurs ultra-rare limited edition bottles with corresponding prices. The next on this lineup of ultra-rare bottles is the 48-year-old Masters of Flavour Whisky. The package includes a limited digital art piece designed by buzzworthy artist and graphic designer, Kode Abdo, aka BossLogic.
Masters of Flavour is crafted from fleetingly rare whiskies from Port Dundas, Brora, Glen Albyn, and Glenury Royal, four Scottish “ghost distilleries,” long since disappeared from productive life.
With so many brands disappearing, Glenkinchie now plays an integral role in the crafting of Johnnie Walker whiskies.
Dewar's 25-Year-Old was finished in Royal Brackla casks and introduced to travel retail in October 2017.
The Grand Old Par is named in honour of Old Tom Parr, a character in British history who lived during the 16th and 17th centuries. He is known for being the oldest man in English history, having reportedly died at age 152.
The deluxe Ancient Old Parr 12 YO Scotch whisky was first introduced in 1909 by the Greenlees Brothers of London and Glasgow, and renamed Grand Old Parr in 1941. Though it’s blended and bottled in Scotland, it’s no longer sold in the U.K.
Its primary malt is Cragganmore.
The standard blend is the 12-year-old called Grand Old Parr (40% ABV). The 15-year-old blend is known as Old Parr (43%), and the 18-year-old is known as Old Parr Superior (43%). Old Parr Superior was launched in 1989 and is blended in small quantities in Scotland twice a year.
Discontinued blends Old Parr Tribute and Old Parr Elizabethan, the latter launched in the mid-1980s, retailed at a higher price than Superior.
In 2014 a new Old Parr Tribute was introduced for the Colombian market.
As rye whisky in the US enjoys a boom, Scotch whisky producers are beginning to experiment with rye whisky in production and maturation. The Glenmorangie Spios was aged entirely in American rye whisky casks, and some Johnnie Walker releases have also featured rye cask maturation.
Microdistilleries have been popping up across Scotland like flies. The usual route is through Gin for the three years required in the cask for Scotch whisky.
The Fife distilleries of Eden Mill and Kingsbarns have seen an enormous demand for their budding young malts, while Ncn’ean and Lindores have produced a new whisky/gin hybrid, infusing their malt spirit with botanicals until their stock ages long enough so it can legally be called ‘whisky’.
With the launch of its Captain’s Reserve, Glenlivet may be the first Scotch whisky distillery to have a core range bottle involving Cognac maturation.
In 2018, as per Scotch Whisky Association, the export volume of Scotch whisky increased by 558 million bottles.
Today’s young customer idea of contemporary Scotch is a category spearheaded by brands like Monkey Shoulder, Haig Club, Naked Grouse and Copper Dog. These brands are, each in their own way, challenging the conventions of the Scotch category and thriving as a result.
The Scottish whisky market was valued at US$ 4.97 Bn in 2018, and it is expected to reach US$ 7.89 Bn by the end of 2027, exhibiting a CAGR of 5.3% during the forecast period (2019 to 2027).
The modern version of Bailie Nicol Jarvie appeared in 1994 when Macdonald & Muir relaunched it as a rich blend with a 60% malt content drawn from Islay, Speyside and the Highlands, and grain from Girvan. The youngest component whisky was at least 8 years old.
After a failed attempt to take market share from Bell’s and the Famous Grouse, and with increasing pressure to conserve Glenmorangie’s malt portfolio for single malt bottlings, BNJ was finally withdrawn.
Glenmorangie distillery started life as the local brewery for the town of Tain. In 1843, William Matheson converted it to a distillery and it remained in the family until 1887, when it was sold to the Glenmorangie Distillery Co, co-owned by the Maitland brothers and Duncan Cameron.
After WW I, the business was sold to a partnership between two blending and broking firms, Macdonald & Muir and Durham & Co, soon passing entirely to the former, which used the whisky for blends such as Highland Queen. Although it was bottled in small quantities from the 1920s, a change of strategy in 1959 saw Glenmorangie revived as a single malt that soon became the biggest seller in Scotland.
The distillery at Red River [Abhainn Dearg] on the western coast of The Isle of Lewis is officially the most remote whisky-making site in Scotland.
Abhainn Dearg, the first legal distillery in the Outer Hebrides in 200 years, invokes the provenance of its location in its whisky, launched its first 10-year-old 46% ABV single malt – the oldest whisky to be produced by a legal distillery in the Outer Hebrides, In December 2018.
Coleburn distillery was founded in Longmorn, Elgin in 1897, but was closed in 1985 by then-owner Distillers Company Limited due to degrading plant equipment and a turbulent period in the whisky industry. Much of Coleburn’s whisky was used in blends, mainly the Johnnie Walker Family, and as a result has rarely been bottled as a single malt.
Scotch whisky contains high levels of elegiac acid, which is an antioxidant compound that prevents the body against cancer. Furthermore, Scotch whisky also reduces the risk of stroke, helps prevent diabetes, and lowers the risk of dementia.
In November 2019, Diageo launched a new artificial intelligence-based whisky selector, which is helpful in selecting single malt scotch whiskies for consumers based on their individual tastes. This device can be accessed from all smartphones or electronic devices, which are connected via the internet. This mobile application is named “what’s your whisky” and uses innovative FlavourPrint Technology.
Bowmore Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky became an exclusive spirits partner of Aston Martin Lagonda in 2019. These two British luxury brands came into collaboration for creating an exclusive series of outstanding products and experiences by selling Scotch whisky to its customers. The company's first range features new designs created by Aston Martin for Bowmore’s existing 10-, 15- and 18-year-old whiskies in global travel retail (GTR).
They have a $75,000 version as well as a $66,000 bottle.
William Maxwell & Co. Ltd (now known as Ian Macleod Distillers), a distributor of Scotch whisky in Scotland was founded approximately 80 years ago and is the self-declared 10th largest whisky company in Scotland.
Smokehead Islay Single Malt Whisky is grabbing headlines with a world-first in the whisky industry, the first-ever single malt in a ready-to-drink can serve (2020).
Kick-starting the brand-new ready-to-drink range are two serves: 'Smokehead mixed with Cola’ and ‘Smokehead mixed with Ginger Ale + Lime’.
After 25 years of silence, the beating heart of the Scottish town of Falkirk, Rosebank Distillery produced a whisky that was often described as the ‘King of the Lowlands’ until its gates closed in 1993. Macleod Distillers took over in 2017 and has begun the painstaking process of restoring and reopening the distillery.
At the peak of Campbeltown’s fame, in 1851, the region was home to 29 legal distilleries plus at least 50 (and probably many more) illicit distilleries. In fact, it was the most productive whisky region in Scotland. Today, sadly, only 3 operating distilleries remain in Campbeltown – Glen Scotia, Springbank and Glengyle distilleries.
Kilkerran is derived from the Gaelic ‘Ceann Loch Cille Chiarain’ which is the name of the original settlement where Saint Kerran had his religious cell and where Campbeltown itself now stands.
The well-known Kilkerran 12-year-old Single Malt logo is inspired by the tower of Campbeltown’s Lorne and Lowland church which can be seen from the distillery. The logo is a depiction of the view through a particular window in the distillery.
Why is Glengyle Distillery whisky branded as Kilkerran? Firstly, because the name Glengyle is already used for a blended Highland malt. Secondly, the owners are very proud of the antecedents of Kilkerran.
The local cemetery is also named Kilkerran.
Traditionally, washbacks have been made of wood, Oregon Pine to be precise, but distilleries are now turning more towards stainless steel washbacks. The question is what does this do to flavour? The biggest and most obvious difference between wood and stainless steel is the fact that wood is natural and therefore porous. This can allow a lot of bacteria that thrive off the sugars in the wash liquid to grow in all the little crevices of the wood, making it vital that wooden washbacks and thoroughly and extensively cleaned. Stainless steel washbacks must also be thoroughly cleaned, but the risk of bacteria growing in wooden washbacks is much higher. Some distillers believe that the wood has its own long-term impact on the flavour.
At Glengoyne, the barley is only ever dried by air; the stills are the slowest in Scotland and the casks take six years to prepare. The spirit is nursed through the stills to create a complex, fruity, award-winning spirit.
The Tamdhu story doesn’t start at a distillery on Speyside. It starts under the warming Spanish sun. In 1898 Tamdhu’s founders secured their first precious shipment of sherry casks from the finest bodegas in Spain. Tamdhu matures its whisky exclusively in the finest Oloroso sherry casks and, CL for CL, is amongst the most expensive whiskies in Scotland.
Ian Macleod Distillers Smokehead Islay Single Malt Twisted Stout Scotch whisky is a limited-edition iteration, released in Jun 2022, that has spent an unspecified time ageing in ex-stout barrels. It is not available in Europe due to Brexit problems.
GlenWyvis, a ‘craft’ distillery, features 100% self-sufficiency. Powered by its own wind turbine, hydro scheme, solar panels and biomass boiler, the distillery operates completely off-grid. It has its own electric car and at some point in the future will offer visitors tours in its electric bus.
The turbine belongs to MD John McKenzie, who takes GlenWyvis’ draff for his cows as payment.
GlenWyvis is an amalgamation of the lost distilleries Ben Wyvis and Glenskiach, both of which closed in 1926.
Glen Mhor was one of a number of single malts bottled in the late 19th and early 20th century, proving that the commonly held notion that this was a 1960s concept is not borne out by historical evidence.
Glen Mhor was in the news most recently when it was named as one of the malts in the Mackinlay’s blend found entombed in ice under Ernest Shackleton’s hut.
The Yetts of Muckhart Perthshire distillery was sporadically open from 1817 to 1832 under three different licensees.
Berry Bros & Rudd is Britain's oldest wine and spirit merchant, established in the 17th century. Its flagship store has been located at 3 St James's Street, London, since 1698.
The company offers the ‘Selected by Berrys' After Dinner Range’ of whiskies, Blue Hanger blended malt, Craoi na Móna single Irish malt whisky and the special edition ‘John Milroy Selection of Scotch Whiskies.’
The company’s colourful history encompasses placing wines on board the Titanic, supplying smugglers running alcohol into Prohibition-era America, and sheltering Napoleon III in cellars beneath the shop!
The firm created the Cutty Sark blended whisky in 1923 and pioneered the vintage concept for the Glenrothes single malt (sold since to Edrington).
Achenvoir distillery was licensed to Malcolm McIntyre in 1816, but it closed in 1818.
Ambassador is a discontinued export blend first created by Glasgow blender Taylor & Ferguson Ltd, a big success in the US but unknown elsewhere. Over the years it was available as De Luxe, De Luxe 8-year-old, 12-year-old and Royal 12- and 25-year-old. It is likely that the constituent malts included Scapa and Glen Scotia.
The company was absorbed by blenders Bloch Brothers after WWII.
The tagline on the 1970s labels was ‘Scotch at its World’s Lightest’, and Ambassador continued to be available, principally in the US, until the late 1980s. It was advertised in Life magazine.
Caol Ila's receives the same spec of malt as Lagavulin, but its distillation regime – longer fermentation, higher cut point, taller stills –reduces the heavy phenols markedly.
The unpeated variant is equally delicate, with a fresh, estery and almost floral lift. Both versions are used by the Johnnie Walker family of blended Scotch, with volumes dependent on the forecasts of Diageo’s blending team.
If Glen Garioch can substantiate its claim that it officially opened in 1797, then this Oldmeldrum plant will become the oldest distillery in Scotland.
Glen Garioch’s malted barley used to be dried with peat from Pitsligo, giving its distinctive reek.
Glen Garioch survived in an era when other eastern distilleries foundered only because of its ownership by blenders J.F. Thompson of Leith ~ 1884. William Sanderson of Vat 69 (at that point one of the top-selling blends in the world) became a partner in 1886 and took full control in 1908.
Glen Garioch had always struggled for water and it was closed in 1968. A local water diviner found a new source of water and production not only restarted in 1970, but also increased.
At Bowmore, waste heat warmed the water of the town’s swimming pool, whereas At Glen Garioch, it heated two acres of greenhouses where tomatoes were grown.
House of Burn – also called House of Burns – was a close neighbour of Clathick distillery at Monzievaird, Perthshire. Both are closed now though the actual House of Burn is still at the same site today.
Interestingly, the sequestration of its last owner, McAra & Stirling, in 1827 even made the London Gazette in February 1828.
Located just outside the fishing port of Buckie, Inchgower is a defiantly coastal style of single malt. No other new make reaches the same level of intense spiciness perceived on the tongue as salinity.
Inchgower’s spicy character is driven initially by a hotter than usual second water during the mashing regime which cuts back any overt nuttiness. Fermentation is short and the steeply angled lyne arms on the stills help to capture weightier elements.
Built in 1871 by Alexander Wilson with apparatus bought off the failed Tochineal Distillery, this is one of the few distilleries to have been owned by the local town (Buckie) council which stepped in to save the plant in 1936 when the Wilson family went bankrupt. Two years later, Arthur Bell bought it for the princely sum of £3,000.
It has always been a significant player in blends, in this case Bell’s, whose own distilleries all shared variations on the ‘nutty-spicy' theme. It also plays a role within the Walker range.
Linkwood is the only distillery in Scotland in which the spirit stills are larger than the wash stills, allowing even more copper contact. The new make from Speysider Linkwood has the aroma of a spring meadow – mixing cut grass, apple and peach blossom.
Linkwood's freshness shows up on the palate as a thick texture which slows the whisky down in the mouth. It is this combination of texture and delicacy which makes it prized by blenders – and much loved by malt whisky aficionados. The fragrance is achieved by creating very clear wort, having a very long fermentation and slow distilling.
Kavalan is in fact the most visited distillery in the world, welcoming around 1.25 million visitors per year. To put this into perspective, Scotland’s best-visited distilleries (Glengoyne/Speyburn) receive a measly 90,000 visitors annually.
A distillery name must not be used as a brand name on any Scotch Whisky which has not been wholly distilled in the named distillery.
Tamdhu has had particular success marketing its whiskies to Taiwan, Japan and South Korea.
Glenglassaugh, another fairly sweet whisky, has proved to be a hit in Australia.
BenRiach has an “apple orchard” flavour that comes from the compound ethyl caprylate. Lipids in the spirit & fats from the barley, degrade during maturation to release this compound over time. It occurs commonly in Speyside casks more than in the casks of other regions.
England today has 14 distilleries.
The single malts that constitute a core single malt are blended at 20% ABV. The single malts that comprise a Blended Scotch are also blended at 20% ABV.
The Glenesk Hotel in Angus, Scotland broke a world record for the largest whisky collection in December 2017. Its 2,500 bottles comprise 1,031 on the official hotel docket as well as the owners’ impressive 1,449-bottle private collection.
In Stieg Larsson’s “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest,” literary icon Lisbeth Salander described Lagavulin as something that could “be used to tar a boat.” The heroine sips Lagavulin when she finds herself bellying up to the bar at The Rock Hotel on Gibraltar.
Johnnie Walker introduced its “Johnnie Blonde” exclusively to the Texas market, positioned as a lighter, sweeter, more mixable approach to blended scotch.
Dewar’s Celtic truth knot, a sign of strength and longevity, is constructed from the three D’s representing our founders – John, Tommy and John Alexander Dewar.
Dewar’s is The World’s Most Awarded Blended Scotch Whisky, accumulating over a thousand awards to date.
In 1892, while in New York, Thomas asked for his Dewar to be served in a tall glass, along with soda and ice. The ‘Original Highball’ was born.
In 1892 he set out on a two-year journey around the world, which was immortalised in the book A Ramble Round the Globe. His creative and revolutionary marketing techniques (including throwing empty bottles of Dewar’s overboard with reward notes inside for their finders) eventually became legendary.
Dewar’s French Smooth is an 8-year-old Blended Scotch Whisky finished in Apple Spirit (Calvados) Casks.
The intro to the Signature Blend series from The Last Drop contains liquid that has aged for at least 50 years, with a mere 500 bottles available worldwide and priced in the four-figure range.
Future expressions will be created in partnership with a powerhouse group of independent spirits experts dubbed “The Assembly.”
A Compass Box limited edition includes a parcel of whisky aged for three years in vino Naranja casks, a fortified wine from southern Spain, to which orange peel is added to the cask for a portion of the wine’s ageing process. That process results in “intense citrus oil and honeyed oak notes.” The finished blend, bottled at 46% ABV, also includes “marmalade stickiness” in the tasting notes.
A total of 5,880 bottles will be released worldwide. The packaging includes a frame on the label; consumers are encouraged to use the bottle’s QR code to link to a template where they can put their own photo, sketch, text, or the like within the frame and then print the personalised label.
Brazilian Claive Vidiz collected 3384 Scotch whisky bottlings, from the ultra-rare to the everyday dram. Diageo bought it in 2006 and put it on display for all to see at Edinburgh’s Scotch Whisky Experience.
GlenAllachie is one of the four distilleries designed by William Delmé-Evans, besides Macduff, Tullibardine and Jura and was built in 1967 as Glenallachie.
In July 2017, a capital ‘A’ was added to the distillery name by its new owner Billy Walker. He had made a similar change to BenRiach and GlenDronach distilleries.
Although its whisky was predominantly used by past owner Chivas Brothers for blending, under new ownership GlenAllachie is emerging as a single malt.
Located just outside the fishing port of Buckie, Inchgower is a defiantly coastal style of single malt. No other new make reaches the same level of intense spiciness which is perceived on the tongue as salinity.
In 1938, Arthur Bell bought Inchgower for the princely sum of £3,000.
One of Diageo’s ‘Flora & Fauna’ range, it plays a definitive role in the Johnny Walker series of blends.
Located on the lower slopes of Speyside’s sentinel mountain, Benrinnes, ‘The Ben’ is another of those intriguing distilleries which produces a highly individual make but which – due to its demand by blenders – has never become a front-line single malt.
It has six stills which are run in two pairs of three. For years a complex form of partial triple distillation was utilised to help promote a meaty/sulphury new make. The low wines from the first distillation were split into strong and weak feints. The lower-strength portion was redistilled in the middle still and split into two again, with the stronger part [strong feints] being carried forward, and the weaker being retained for the next charge. The strong feints were then mixed with the highest strength distillate from the wash still and redistilled in the spirit still.
Glengoyne Distillery was the 1905 anglicisation of Glenguin Distillery, in itself a renaming of the Burnfoot Distillery in the Campsie Fells, north of Glasgow.
Marshal of the Royal Air Force, Arthur William Tedder, 1st Baron Tedder, GCB (11 July 1890 – 3 June 1967) was born at Glenguin and was commissioned into the British Army. He was granted a peerage as Baron Tedder, of Glenguin in the County of Stirling on 8 February 1946.
Glengoyne whisky played a vital role within Lang Brothers' blends --the best known being Supreme-- and those of Robertson & Baxter (now Edrington).
Single malt bottlings began in the early 1990s when Glengoyne was sold as 'the unpeated malt', while much was also made of the fact that, geographically, the distillery is in the Highlands while its warehouses, directly across the road, are in the Lowlands.
Among its many lines, Munich grocer and delicatessen, Dallmayr, sells a wide range of wine and spirits, including Scotch whisky.
Glen Grant Ltd. was formed in 2005 by Italian beverage manufacturer, Gruppo Campari, following its purchase of Glen Grant distillery. The subsidiary was created to distribute Campari’s drinks portfolio in the UK, northern and eastern European markets, as well as oversee the production and sale of the group’s Scotch whisky brands, which also includes the Old Smuggler blend.
In 2004 Tim Morrison, formerly of Morrison Bowmore Distillers, revived the Dewar Rattray company first established by his ancestor Andrew Dewar Rattray, to bottle single cask, single malt whisky.
The firm also developed Stronachie, a single malt sourced from Benrinnes distillery on Speyside, and intended to replicate whisky produced at the now long-lost Stronachie distillery, located on the old Perthshire/Kinross-shire border.
Andrew Dewar Rattray set up a winery in Glasgow in 1868 and started blending and retailing Scotch whisky.
He also acted as an agent for Stronachie distillery.
The marrying tun in which Glenfiddich 15 is married before bottling is never allowed to be less than half full. A small amount of whisky, therefore, remains from the original 1998 batch that made the first Glenfiddich 15.
Glenfiddich 15 is the only single malt to be aged in three different types of casks—ex-sherry, ex-bourbon, and new oak—and then blended in an oaken solera vat.
Glenburgie was known as Kilnflat from installation till 1871.
Glenburgie’s has been bottled only once and Chivas Bros. has only ever included it in its limited edition Cask Strength series (available only through the firms’ distillery visitors' centres). Glenburgie was sold as Glencraig single malt up to 1981.
Glenburgie was first released as a 15-year-old single malt (alongside expressions from Glentauchers and Miltonduff) in July 2017 under the Ballantine’s brand.
Glenburgie is featured as one of the malts in the Old Smuggler blend.
Glenburgie has been closely associated with the Ballantine’s blend. It has been part of Chivas Brothers since 2005.
Mannochmore was built by DCL in 1971 to cope with increasing demand internationally for blends, and like its sister plant, Glenlossie, it has been closely associated with the Haig and Dimple brands.
Flowers and delicate fruits gain in weight when Mannochmore is matured. Although some older expressions have appeared on occasion, Mannochmore is most commonly seen as a 12-year-old in the Flora & Fauna range.
In 1996, its new make was used in one of the most controversial single malts of the late 20th century – Loch Dhu, the ‘black whisky’. Although the full tale of how the Loch Dhu 10 YO was created has never been told (and is unlikely ever to be revealed), the enthusiastic use of spirit caramel is seen by most as the most likely candidate for the pitch black hue.
A Lowland single malt Scotch whisky, Rutherglen Bridge distillery was situated northwest of Rutherglen bridge, near what is now Glasgow Green, across the Clyde from Richmond Park and Shawfield Stadium.
George Brown held the licence at Rutherglen Bridge from 1817 until he was sequestrated in 1819. The licence subsequently passed to Rutherglen Bridge Distillery Co., which ran the distillery until its closure in 1823.
The marrying tun in which Glenfiddich 15 is married before bottling is never allowed to be less than half full. A small amount of whisky, therefore, remains from the original 1998 batch that made the first Glenfiddich 15.
Chivas Regal debuted as the world’s first luxury brand of blended Scotch whisky (25 YO)before World War I (1909, in the USA) and remains the acknowledged gold standard to this day.
The Glenlivet is the prototypical single malt whisky born in Scotland’s most renowned Highlands river valley, Glenlivet. The Glenlivet by the mid-nineteenth century made Scotland’s malt whiskies the most prized whiskies of all. Even so, the first brand to be marketed as a single malt was Glenfiddich.
James and John Chivas did not own a distillery nor did they distill whisky. They purchased aged whiskies in barrels and then mixed them together to create blended whisky brands. They, or any other member of the Chivas family, had nothing to do with the origin and marketing of the whisky that would be named after them in 1909, decades after their death.
From the last half of the twentieth century up to the present day, succeeding families, specifically the Bronfmans of Canada and the Ricards of France, have confronted the world’s increasingly complex commercial arena by continuing the founding families’ quests and legacies.
Robert Burns, Scotland’s bard, in his late eighteenth century poem Scotch Drink, called the native whisky of Scotland “. . . my Muse! guid auld Scotch Drink . . .”
Greater Scotland includes the 787 islands of the Inner Hebrides, Outer Hebrides, the Orkneys, and the Shetlands. Of these rugged and windswept islands, 130 are inhabited. Six of the inhabited islands—Arran, Islay, Skye, Mull, Orkney, and Jura—currently produce single malt whisky.
Ben Nevis in the western Highlands is Scotland’s highest peak at 1,344 metres.
Scotland has no shortage of peat since peat bogs still cover an estimated 810,000 hectares (over 2 million acres) of the nation’s surface.
Three more vats have been constructed for the Select, Reserve and Vintage Cask range. The vatting cask for the 40-year-old, containing whiskies from the 1920s, is also never fully emptied. Glenfiddich is a late entrant to the whisky world, with its first bottling as late as 1887, even later than Gloag's Famous Grouse.
William Grant of Dufftown left Mortlach to build his own distillery, Glenfiddich, with his wife and 9 children. Their first stills were those sold by Cardhu's Liz Cummings when Cardhu was being upgraded. Working in icy conditions, they managed to get their first new make by Christmas 1887.
Glenfiddich was the first whisky to be sold as a single malt. In the late 1960s, it was one of the first to be sold in new duty-free outlets and in 1969 the distillery’s doors were opened to the public – another first.
Signatory Vintage Scotch Whisky Company is an independent bottler with a vigorous release policy, and usually, some 50 different single malt expressions are available at any one time. Whiskies are bottled across a number of ranges, including the Un-chill Filtered Collection, the Cask Strength Collection and the Single Grain Collection.
Signatory also owns Edradour distillery, near Pitlochry in Perthshire and its bottling, bonding and office facilities are located in a building adjacent to the distillery.
Signatory was initially based in the Newhaven area of Edinburgh, where a bottling plant was developed, but in 2002 the firm acquired Edradour distillery from Pernod Ricard, and subsequently moved all of its operations north to the picturesque Perthshire location.
Signatory Vintage Scotch Whisky was established in 1988 by Andrew Symington and the first cask bottled by Symington was a 1968 Sherry-cask-matured Glenlivet.
Berry Bros & Rudd stocks more than 4,000 wines and spirits and 40 different ranges of own-label wines, as well as own-label spirits under the ‘Berrys' Own Selection’ banner.
Additionally, the company offers the rarely heard of ‘Selected by Berrys' After Dinner Range’ of whiskies, Blue Hanger blended malt, Craoi na Móna single Irish malt whisky and the special edition ‘John Milroy Selection of Scotch Whiskies.’
Berry Bros & Rudd was also the proprietor of the Glenrothes single malt brand for several years in the 2010s, though the distillery itself was owned and operated by The Edrington Group. As of 2017, the brand has been sold back to Edrington.
The company is Britain's oldest wine and spirit merchant, established in the 17th century. Its flagship store has been located at 3 St James's Street, London, since 1698 when it was founded by the Widow Bourne.
A supplier to the Royal Family since the reign of King George III, historic customers have included Lord Byron, William Pitt the Younger and the Aga Khan.
The company’s colourful history encompasses placing wines on board the Titanic, supplying smugglers running alcohol into Prohibition-era America, and sheltering Napoleon III in cellars beneath the shop!
The firm created the Cutty Sark blended whisky in 1923 and pioneered the vintage concept for the Glenrothes single malt.
London-based Elixir Distillers is an independent bottler specialising in whisky, predominantly Scotch but also Japanese, Irish and American whiskies.
Owned by the people behind The Whisky Exchange, Elixir Distillers serves as the home for the creation, blending, bottling and international sales of all spirits created by the company.
The company’s three core whisky brands are Elements of Islay, Port Askaig and The Single Malts of Scotland, while it also bottles navy rum under the Black Tot brand. A short-lived lost Lowlands distillery situated in Banknock, close to Bankier distillery, John Henderson & Co. established Holland Bush distillery in 1827, but the site closed in 1830. Details about what happened to the distillery buildings have been lost.
Originally built to aid demand for Bell's blended whisky, Pittyvaich sadly grew surplus to requirements.
Not commonly seen, Pittyvaich shows an estery top note which rises above the classic Bell’s ‘nutty-spicy’ house style. It was bottled – from Sherry casks – as part of the Flora & Fauna range while there are occasional bottlings from Diageo’s annual Special Release programme.
The Queen Anne blend, created by Edinburgh merchants Hill, Thomson & Co. circa 1884 and carried a Royal Warrant, grew to become one of the shining stars of The Glenlivet Distillers’ portfolio.
With access to famous malt whiskies from the Glenlivet, Grant Grant and Longmorn distilleries, later adverts boasted that Queen Anne offered the taste of ‘three of Scotland’s finest malt whiskies in one bottle.’
Hill, Thomson & Co. was established in 1857, though its roots go back to William Hill’s licenced grocer’s shop which opened in 1793. It remained at 45 Frederick Street in the heart of Edinburgh’s New Town for two centuries. It is the oldest grocery that marketed whisky.
Queen Anne was an 8 YO, alongside the bestselling 12 YO, Something Special, and was being sold in over 100 countries by the 1980s.
44 bottles (70cl @40% ABV) of Scotch Whisky are shipped from Scotland to around 180 markets around the world each second, totalling over 1.3bn every year.
Laid end to end those bottles would stretch about 377,000kms - that's 98% of the distance to the moon!
In 2021, Scotch Whisky exports were worth £4.5bn.
In 2021, Scotch Whisky accounted for 75% of Scottish food and drink exports, 22% of all UK food and drink exports, and 1.4% of all UK goods exports.
The Scotch Whisky industry provides £5.5bn in gross value added (GVA) to the UK economy.
More than 11,000 people are directly employed in the Scotch Whisky industry in Scotland and over 42,000 jobs across the UK are supported by the industry.
7,000 of these jobs in rural areas of Scotland provide vital employment and investment to communities across the Highlands and Islands.
All numbers have gone up starting early 2022. According to SWA data, on average the equivalent of 53 bottles of Scotch Whisky are exported every second -- up from 44 per second in 2021. Bottled Blended Scotch Whisky accounts for 59 per cent of value exports, with Single Malt 32 per cent of all Scotch whisky exports by value.
Amrut Spectrum single malt whisky is the world’s first-ever multi-wood barrel whisky using staves from four different types of wood.
Around 90% of barley requirements of the industry are sourced in Scotland.
In 2019, there were 2.2 million visits to Scotch Whisky distilleries, making the industry the third most popular tourist attraction in Scotland.
Some 22 million casks lie maturing in warehouses in Scotland waiting to be discovered - that is around 12bn 70cl bottles.
There are currently 140 operating Scotch Whisky distilleries across Scotland. Numerous mini-distilleries are springing up, both in Scotland and Great Britain, also selling Gin to keep its till turning up to distillation of its whisky.
Glen Mhor's history is very much tied up with its neighbour Glen Albyn. It was established in Inverness in 1892 by John MacKinlay and John Birnie, a former distillery manager at Glen Albyn who had left in a fit of pique after being refused a share in the distillery by owners Gregory & Co.
The name is pronounced Glen Vawr.
An event of poetic justice occurred in 1920 when Birnie and MacKinlay took over Glen Albyn from Gregory & Co, and Birnie finally got his hands on the distillery he had walked out on.
In 1954 Glen Mhor became the first distillery to install Saladin Box Maltings, which were used until 1980.
It was demolished in 1988.
World’s Largest Private Whisky Collection Sold for $4.5 Million:
A collection of 9,000 bottles of whisky was sold in 23 auctions over the course of more than a year, ending in November 2021. This collection was put together by a mysterious Pat over the course of 15 years. Earlier this century, the collector, who still wishes to remain anonymous, became enamoured of whisky, and set about acquiring bottles he could drink and share with friends and family. The more he sampled, the more his passion grew, until he’d amassed more than 9,000 bottles from all over the globe, including more than 150 Scotch distilleries. At the time of the sale, the collection was widely considered the world’s largest and most diverse.
It included 5,000 single malts, 1,000 blended whiskies and over 600 American whiskeys.
Bon Accord was a successful enterprise for its time, producing more than 300,000 gallons (roughly 1.4 million litres) a year on its four pot stills, mostly sold duty-free on ships as Cock O’ The North.
Cock O’ the North – a brand name once used by Bon Accord – was revived in recent years, this time applied to a whisky liqueur.
This whisky liqueur was created by one of Scotland's most famous clans, the Gordons, whose Chief has been known for centuries as "The Cock O the North". The present Chief, and Cock O the North is the Marquis of Huntly.
This whisky liqueur is made with Speyside single malt whisky and Scottish blaeberry fruit. May be had straight, as a hot toddy or poured over ice.
A century ago the ancient highland town of Kingussie was dominated not by a castle, but by a distillery, The Speyside Distillery. An imposing late Victorian edifice, it had access to railway sidings from where the very finest malt whisky was transported to all points of the British Empire.
Today, the whisky is made on the banks of the River Tromie, in an old-fashioned manner. The stills are among the smallest in Scotland, there are not even warehouses.
Virtually unseen as a single malt – it has appeared under the Drumguish and Glentromie labels and is the liquid in the Loch Dhu ‘homage’ Cu Dubh.
The mature spirit has appeared, incognito, in blends across Asia, has been launched in Mongolia, is a single malt range (called ‘Spey’) in Taiwan, and has been added to neutral spirit to produce Bhutanese whisky.
Probably the worst-timed decision to set up shop was by Watt Independent Bottlers in Campbeltown in Dec 2019, just before the Covid-19 pandemic broke out. Brexit was round the corner, 1 February 2020.
Despite the vast numbers of distilleries that have been established there over the centuries, there has never been an independent bottler established in the town other than Cadenhead’s, who moved there in 1972 from Aberdeen.
|NINE BOTTLES NINE COLOURS ON THE LABELS|
Watt groups their whiskies by colour, instead of the usual regions. They have come up with 9 different colours of taste buds with 3 colours in each, i.e., 27 different colours to choose from. If the blendmaster smells their defined olive green on the nose of the whisky, that will be reflected on the lower label of the whisky, the theory being that if you like one of their whiskies with a green label then you will possibly like others in the same colour spectrum.