Whisky News, September 2011
The world's best-selling single malt whisky Glenfiddich remains in the family ownership of its founders, William Grant & Sons, who place great value on innovation and a pioneering spirit. Accordingly, the company has teamed up with global forecasters The Future Laboratory to identify the world's leading 'pioneers.'
Apparently, 20th-century heroes such as Scott of the Antarctic and Sir Edmund Hillary have been superseded by a new breed of innovators. The new report, commissioned by Grant's, reveals the extent to which people will go to achieve their dreams. For example, a remarkable 92 per cent of Taiwanese men are willing to risk death to fulfil their ambitions.
According to men in the UK, today's typical pioneer lives in Western Europe (87 per cent) and can be described as adventurous (61 per cent), intelligent (59 per cent) and self-motivated (54 per cent). This persona is almost certainly set to change, with Africa (36 per cent), Asia (36 per cent) and Latin American (31 per cent) pinpointed as the launch pads for future pioneers.
If exploration (36 per cent), art, design and architecture (25 per cent) and food/drink (21 per cent) motivated previous innovators, the fields set to determine future pioneers are the environment (47 per cent), scientific research (42 per cent) and technology (36 per cent).
The Glenfiddich Inspiring Pioneers report (www.glenfiddich.com/pioneers) reveals the stumbling blocks to becoming a true pioneer are money, the economy and fear of failure. However, research from around the world and in-depth insight from a panel of leading international experts including 'futurologist' Raymond Kurzweil, ICA director Philip Dodd and astrophysicist Dmitriy Tseliakhovich indicates there has never been a better time to be a pioneer.
Peter Gordon, chairman of Glenfiddich, says that "Our company was created in response to a competitive threat. In difficult times, the instinct to survive and even to flourish can trigger a surge of creativity and innovation. By identifying and celebrating the make-up of a true pioneer, we hope to flourish for many more generations."
In addition to the psychological make-up of the modern-day pioneer, the report lists the world's most pioneering people, who can be identified at pioneers. There the interactive report can be read, and videos of key pioneers can be viewed.
Visitors to the site may also register for the chance to attend the Glenfiddich One Day You Will Summit, described by the company as "An exclusive two-day event at the Glenfiddich distillery
which will inspire attendees to fulfil their lifelong ambitions. The Glenfiddich One Day You Will Summit, in association with the Future Laboratory, will feature inspirational seminars and workshops,
pioneering speakers, a gala dinner and exclusive nosing and tasting sessions - and is open to just a select number of innovative people from around the world."
From 13th to 18th of this month the Kentucky Bourbon Festival celebrates its 20th anniversary in Bardstown - the Bourbon Capital of the World.
Thirty-nine events are planned, including two new entirely ones, namely 'Half Pint of Whiskey History with a Shot of Humor,' hosted by noted historian Dixie Hibbs at Wickland Home of Three Governors, and 'Any Way She Likes It,' a private Bourbon tasting for females, hosted by former Master Bourbon Taster Peggy Noe Stevens and the 'Bourbon Women.'
"With the rapid growth of the new Bourbon Women's association, it seemed like a natural fit," says Noe Stevens. "I plan to have great fun teaching women about Bourbon and taking them on a deep sensory dive into distinguishing flavours."
Highlights of the five-day festival include the 'Kentucky Bourbon All-Star Sampler,' which provides an opportunity to meet the master distillers of the Bourbon industry, and a 'Mixed Drink Challenge' competition to create the next world-class Bourbon cocktail. Other events celebrate the connections between Bourbon and country music, Bourbon and food, and Bourbon, cigars and jazz.
Additionally, there is the celebrated black-tie 'Great Kentucky Bourbon Tasting and Gala' event, not to mention the 'Whiskey City Cruisers Car Show,' a tour of the Oscar Getz Museum of Whiskey History and the World Championship Barrel Relay.
For more details of the festival, Kentucky and Bourbon in general visit www.KyBourbonFestival.com
A new retail venture from Royal Mile Whiskies of Edinburgh and London goes by the name of 'drinkmonger,' and has its first outlet in the Perthshire tourist centre of Pitlochry. According to a Royal Mile spokesperson, "drinkmonger takes the things that we already specialise in (whisky, other fine spirits, Havana cigars, pipes and tobacco) and adds a very carefully selected, yet comprehensive range of great wines.
"Our second branch of drinkmonger will be situated adjacent to Bruntsfield Links in Edinburgh. Currently in the hands of our shop-fitters, it is scheduled to open in October. While Pitlochry is split 50:50 between wine and specialist spirits with a wee Cigar Box at the back, the Bruntsfield drinkmonger will have even more space to accommodate our wine range, as well as a good solid selection of whisky and other fine spirits."
Drinkmonger is at 100 Athol Road, Pitlochry, PH16 5BL, tel. +44 (0)1796 470 133. For more information visit www.drinkmonger.com
It has long puzzled whisky-pages that more innovative folk out there in the world of whisky marketing have not latched on to the concept of 'world whiskies,' comprising a blend made up of whiskies from various producing nations.
Now St James Distillery has launched Orbis Aged World Whiskey, the first in a planned portfolio of brands and exclusively available in travel retail outlets. Orbis contains aged whiskeys selected from Scotland, Ireland, America, Canada and Japan, and each bottle is individually hand-numbered.
St James Distillery Marketing Director Janet Murphy says that "The experienced team behind St James Distillery felt there was a gap in the market for premium spirits brands created with the traveller in mind and available exclusively to them through travel retail. Exclusivity and premium go hand in hand in travel retail but, in addition to that, the traveller needs to be engaged with a product that is different to anything else in the market place.
"A world blend has never been launched before. Orbis offers something unique for the travelling consumer in a category where demand for niche brands is growing. Because it's different, it will not only appeal to existing whiskey lovers but also attract new drinkers."
Murphy added that the inspiration behind Orbis is the concept of 'no boundaries'. "In developing Orbis, the brand has not been limited by geography, history or convention; our Master Blender has travelled the world in search of the finest whiskeys - in some cases aged 15 or 16 years, although Orbis is not about an aged statement. Our main target consumer is the male international business traveller who likes to indulge, is stylish and savvy and enjoys the benefits of globalisation in their cosmopolitan lifestyle."
The bottle and gift tube design is presented in black and gold packaging, and the explanatory text is in English as well as Chinese, Korean, Japanese and Hindi to appeal to the target Asian market. Orbis sells for around £38 per bottle and is described as "Well rounded, with a light copper colour; the taste is generous and complex with an abundance of rich fruit cake, subtle vanilla and coconut influences."
We hope to bring you our own evaluation in due course. Meanwhile find out more soon at the fledgling website www.stjamesdistillery.com
Firkin rare whisky
BenRiach distillery on Speyside has recently announced its most exclusive bottling to date. Just 40 bottles of a 32-year old single malt expression will be available later this month, following the discovery of two 'firkin' casks at the site south of Elgin.
BenRiach's Managing Director Billy Walker says that "It's always exciting to discover exceptionally rare and unique casks in our warehouses, and BenRiach has more than its fair share! Upon unearthing this firkin, we knew we had found something truly extraordinary and sublime which will delight even the most demanding of BenRiach whisky aficionados."
Firkin casks were traditionally used for the maturation of ale and the name is derived from the Middle Dutch word 'vierdekijn,' meaning 'fourth' - in other words, a quarter of a full-size barrel.
"Because a Firkin's size is smaller than that of a standard barrel, there's a greater surface to liquid ratio when the spirit undergoes maturation, and this imparts a more intense, fuller flavour," explains Walker.
"This cask, number 6337, is one of the only two firkins in our possession. Distilled and filled to cask on June 26, 1978, and bottled at 40.1% earlier this year, the style of the whisky is classic Speyside. Due to the size of the cask, and the age of the whisky, it has generated only forty bottles, so it's bound to become a much sought-after collector's item."
More details can be found at www.benriachdistillery.co.uk
Dalmore Distillery Exclusive
The Dalmore has launched a Dalmore Distillery Exclusive bottling to celebrate what a spokesperson describes as "The unrivalled artisanship of the 13 craftsmen and women who hold the secrets to distilling the world's most revered malt."
Chosen by the 'artisans' themselves, only 450 bottles of this £150.00 expression have been produced, and it will only be available for sale in the distillery shop. As a vintage 1991 single malt, The Dalmore Distillery Exclusive has been drawn from cask 446 after 20 years maturating in American white oak casks.
Bottled at 46%abv, The Dalmore Distillery Exclusive is described as "generous and rewarding on the nose, followed by tastes of marmalade, roasted Java coffee, crushed pecan nuts and liquorice, all finished off with notes of pear, honey, vanilla and crème brulee."
The Dalmore Master Distiller Richard Paterson says that "We are very excited to be offering this Distillery Exclusive in honour of the Dalmore's band of artisans. The passion of our craftsmen and women shines
through in every intricate detail of our single malts and the Exclusive is no exception."
For further information visit www.thedalmore.com.
Like The Dalmore, Jura distillery is owned by Whyte & Mackay Distillers, and Jura has recently launched 'Caskaway', an online promotion providing fans of the single malt with a unique opportunity to own a cask from Jura distillery, worth £10,000, at a fraction of the cost.
As a spokesperson for the Jura brand explains, "The islanders of Jura believe that knocking on wood before drinking a dram brings good fortune. So over a period of eight weeks, whisky lovers all over the world will have the chance to 'knock' on a cask of whisky worth £10,000 and try and earn some good fortune for themselves.
"For every knock on the whisky cask, the price will drop down by £1. At the end of the eight weeks, one lucky participant will be chosen at random and given the opportunity to own the cask at its new price. So if there are 10,000 knocks, the price will be £0!
"The whisky itself started life maturing in American white oak, before being transferred to an Oloroso Sherry cask where it will be left to mature over the years. The Sherry wood acts as a silk coat wrapped around this elegant spirit, bringing citrus fruits and crushed almonds with whispers of parma violets and walnuts."
Although the cask in question will remain on the island, the owner will be sent several cases each year, and can look forward to receiving a total of 100 bottles. Each year's release will have a slightly different character as the whisky continues to mature in its Sherry cask.
Distillery Manager, Willie Cochrane says that "This is a once in a lifetime chance for real whisky lovers to own a truly unique single malt from the Isle of Jura. Having tried a drop of it myself, I can vouch for certain that the lucky owner will not be disappointed. And the best thing about it is that every year the whisky will mature and change in flavour, due to its longer maturation in the Oloroso Sherry butt. So bring some good fortune into your lives and get knocking."
To find out more and take part in the promotion, visit www.isleofjura.com
Ardbeg has just announced the release of a new, annual limited edition by the name of Ardbeg Alligator.
'Alligator charring' describes the method of charring (or burning) the inside of oak casks before they are filled with spirit. The burnt wood staves take on the appearance of an alligator's scales, hence the name. The heart of Alligator is spirit matured in 'Level 4' casks - the most intense type of charring possible.
Ardbeg's Dr Bill Lumsden notes that "Extremely fierce charring of the casks has imparted additional smoky, barbecue flavours, giving Ardbeg Alligator a unique spicy bite that'll catch you unawares."
As this Islaygator (sorry!) is a limited edition, fans of the iconic brand (www.ardbeg.com) would do well to snap up a bottle soon…