Whisky News, October 2012
It is that time of year again when Diageo announces its latest batch of Special Releases. This time around the single malts in question are a 30-year-old Auchroisk, a 35-year-old Brora, a 14-year-old Caol Ila, a 25-year-old Dalwhinnie, 12 and 21-year-old Lagavulins, a 32-year-old Port Ellen and a 35-year-old Talisker.
"Once again I hope we have released whiskies here to interest very many single malt drinkers and connoisseurs" says Nick Morgan, Diageo's Head of Whisky Outreach.
"The iconic 21 year old Lagavulin will, I'm sure, not disappoint those who have bought the previous highly-regarded bottling, and will be a delight for those who haven't tried it before. An 'unpeated' Caol Ila from ex-bodega European Oak will be fascinating. We are particularly excited about the Talisker 35 year old - the oldest we have ever released from this celebrated distillery.
"And our ever-diminishing stocks of Brora and Port Ellen have once again been successfully explored for hidden treasures, which will no doubt further increase the huge over-demand for these rare products. It is amazing to think that those distilleries closed nearly 30 years ago."
Prices range from an RRP of £66 for the Caol Ila up to £600 for the Port Ellen, with the latter expected to sell out very quickly.
Staying with Diageo, the world's largest whisky-making company has recently submitted pre-planning applications for three potential locations for a new malt whisky distillery, as previously featured in these pages.
Proposal of Application Notices (PANs) have been lodged in relation to three possible sites for the new distillery, although no final decision has been taken on its location. One has been submitted to Highland Council for a possible development at Teaninich, Ross-shire, and two have been submitted to Moray Council for potential development at Glendullan and Inchgower. All three locations are adjacent to existing Diageo distilleries. The PAN process allows for consultation to begin with local communities in advance of a full planning application being submitted.
Subject to the planning process and the final decision on location, Diageo plans to build a new malt whisky distillery which would produce approximately 13million litres of alcohol per year. It would also involve an onsite bio-energy plant which would use the co-products of distillation to provide renewable energy to the distillery. Included in the pre- applications are proposals for expansions of the existing distilleries, at Teaninich and Glendullan.
Brian Higgs, Diageo Malt Distilling Director, says that "Earlier this year Diageo announced plans to invest £1bn in expanding its malt whisky production capacity in Scotland in order to meet growing global demand for our brands. A key part of that investment plan is the building of a new malt whisky distillery. We are still working to finalise the location of the new distillery, but it will be one of the three sites where we have submitted pre-planning applications.
"It's necessary for us to begin the planning process at all three potential locations, so we will be able to move forward as quickly as possible with construction of the new distillery once our final location decision has been made. As part of the planning process we will be consulting carefully with the local communities around each site about our plans."
Fifty Not Out
Not many people are employed by one company for their whole working lives these days, so the achievement of Balvenie Malt Master David Stewart in notching up half a century with William Grant & Sons Ltd is a notable one.
Stewart's landmark anniversary was recognised by a Celebration Dinner held in Balvenie distillery maltings earlier this month, and more than 120 guests turned out to honour his long service, with a limited edition bottling of The Balvenie Fifty being launched to mark the occasion.
David Stewart was appointed Master Blender in 1974 and finally handed over the blending reins to Brian Kinsman in 2009, though he continues to have full involvement with The Balvenie brand and all its new releases.
Just 88 bottles of The Balvenie Fifty are available, each with a price tag of £20,000. A company spokesperson says of the rare single malt that "The particularly long maturation has created a wonderful fragrant and floral whisky, which is velvety sweet with a beautifully balanced combination of sweet citrus notes and gentle hints of honey, spice and oak."
David Stewart's latest contribution to The Balvenie portfolio is a 17-year-old variant of DoubleWood, which will be reviewed in next month's Recent Releases section. Photo courtesy Drinks Business.
The Macallan is currently running its third Masters of Photography competition, and the closing date for entries is 23rd October.
A Macallan spokesperson says that "This year the event is supported by one of the most renowned and well-respected portrait photographers on the planet - Annie Leibovitz. Known for her high concept portraits of various personalities including the famous image of John Lennon and Yoko Ono for Rolling Stone, Annie has created an iconic series of images to mark the launch of four single cask whiskies by The Macallan.
"We're inviting entrants to upload a portrait shot at the Masters of Photography website. You can enter as many times as you like; so even if you have already taken part, you can increase your chances of winning by submitting your latest portraits."
First prize is a photographic tour of Scotland for two people, commencing with two days in Edinburgh. This is followed by a trip north to The Macallan distillery at Easter Elchies on Speyside. The spokesperson adds that "There you'll be treated to a VIP tour of the distillery, where you'll get the chance to sample a selection of The Macallan's finest whiskies, try your hand at fly fishing and take your own pictures of the estate."
Second and third prizes are a Macallan ice ball machine and matching glassware, while a limited edition Annie Leibovitz book, showing the making of the whole project, and a leather-covered hipflask
will be awarded monthly throughout the competition to entrants whose photographs inspire the folk at The Macallan. To enter visit www.themastersofphotography.com
You must be Kitten
On the subject of whisky-related competitions, The Famous Grouse Experience at Glenturret distillery in Perthshire has now acquired a new distillery cat, donated by a local farmer, and is looking for a suitable
name for the young ginger tom.
The team at The Famous Grouse is calling on whisky fans and animal lovers to find the perfect name for the feline in question, noting that "The name will be given to the famous whisky's newest recruit and the
winner will be invited to meet him at his new home and take a VIP tour of the distillery. To offer your suggestions visit bit.ly/catnamingcomp".
Cats have long played a part at Glenturret distillery, most famously through the exploits of Towser, who still holds the Guinness World Record for best mouser, having caught 28,899 mice in her 24 years at the distillery.
Tracy McCafferty, General Manager at The Famous Grouse Experience, says that "The newest addition to our family is already settling in well to distillery life and proving to be a big character but he
really needs a name. His predecessors were well loved by visitors and staff and it's clear he will be no different."
Having featured in this spot last month in relation to Cullen skink, Glenglassaugh distillery makes another appearance here, this time courtesy of Norbert Leege.
According to Glenglassaugh's PR department, "Norbert Leege is a huge fan of the Glenglassaugh distillery near Portsoy in Aberdeenshire, and has shown his allegiance by having a tattoo of the company logo etched
onto his arm. "Norbert works as a commercial director in Germany but also runs a small whisky store called Whisky and Stone in the village of Betzigau, in Bavaria. While attending a Whisky Fair in Munich, Norbert and his wife Ines met with Stuart Nickerson, the managing director of Glenglassaugh distillery, who then invited the couple to Scotland for a tour of the picturesque distillery.
"Norbert says that 'For me it was love at first sight when I visited Glenglassaugh Distillery… I loved the historic, traditional buildings and the location is absolutely beautiful…In the past I had never
considered getting a tattoo and at the age of 56 I never imagined I would decide to have one done. But for me, the Glenglassaugh company logo is the perfect symbol for whisky. You can see the barley, the
water and the two birds together, and after a lot of consideration I decided to take the leap and I couldn't be happier with the result.'"
Here at whisky-pages we content ourselves with a few discreet body piercings, but we are reliably informed that one senior female executive in the Scotch whisky industry has a large tattoo of a worm tub in
a singularly intimate place.