Whisky News, August 2011
A new survey, commissioned by the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA), reveals that distilleries and associated visitor centres attracted 1.3 million visitors last year, injecting £30.4 million into the Scottish economy.
The report, compiled by 4-Consulting, claims that the true impact of whisky on Scottish tourism has not been fully acknowledged – noting that visitors who have a connection with Scotch whisky in their home countries tend to spend more when in Scotland.
An SWA spokesperson says that “The role of Scotch whisky in Scotland’s tourism is significant, but this role has not been fully recognised. Countries to which Scotland exports Scotch whisky tend to spend more as tourists in Scotland. There is a strong link between Scotch whisky exports and direct tourism spending of £640 million. After accounting for tourism multiplier effects, the overall impact is likely to exceed £1billion each year.”
Some 90 per cent of the 1.3 million tourists who visited the country’s 52 Scotch whisky visitor centres and distilleries which are open to the public came from outside Scotland, and nearly two-thirds were not from the UK. According to the 4-Consulting report, visitor centres and distilleries directly provide 640 jobs, while each distillery supports a further 130 jobs in the local community.
Campbell Evans, the SWA’s director of government and consumer affairs, declares that “Scotch whisky and tourism can be seen as the perfect blend and complement one another. Our survey shows the scale of the economic impact of Scotch whisky and how exports can help drive up tourism. Spending by tourists, and the jobs created as a result, is injecting new money into the Scottish economy.
“We’ve found countries which are the biggest export markets for Scotch whisky tend to spend more on tourism in Scotland. At the same time, in countries where the number of tourists to Scotland increases we see a willingness to pay more for a bottle of Scotch whisky.Whisky is an important part of Scottish culture and identity and has a wide role to play in attracting overseas tourism.”
Malcolm Roughhead, chief executive of VisitScotland, adds that “Whisky is undoubtedly one of our most valuable icons when marketing Scotland abroad and a huge draw for visitors. Not only is whisky instantly synonymous with Scotland, it is a high-quality product that positions the country very well in the minds of potential visitors from across the world, especially in emerging markets such as China and Russia.”
Vatted Vintage Reserve
This year’s annual Glenfiddich Vintage Reserve bottling dates from 1974, and is the first ever ‘vatted’ Vintage Reserve.
Brian Kinsman, Glenfiddich Malt Master, chaired a selection panel that comprised 13 of Glenfiddich’s Brand Ambassadors, Glenfiddich’s Global Brand Ambassador and the owner of the world’s largest collection of Glenfiddich whisky, with participants coming from all corners of the world, including South Korea, USA, China and RSA.
The panel nosed and tasted three vatted vintage casks dating from 1973, 1974 and 1975, and after due consideration and in-depth debate, Vatting Number 2, a 1974 Glenfiddich, was selected.
Brian Kinsman says that “We are always looking at ways of improving and innovating at Glenfiddich, so we continue to produce the world’s favourite single malt Scotch whisky. I’m delighted to unveil our first vatted Vintage Reserve, which I carefully married prior to the selection process. After the pioneering launch of Snow Phoenix, which was created by combining single malt whiskies of different strengths, ages and finishes, it’s wonderful to be releasing another vatted whisky in the form of the 1974 Glenfiddich Vintage Reserve.
“It’s also very exciting this year to have had such a knowledgeable panel of judges who are genuinely passionate about Glenfidddich; the nosing and tasting discussion was a truly fascinating experience.”
Ian Millar, Global Brand Ambassador for Glenfiddich, adds that “Being a part of the Vintage Reserve selection panel has been a real career high for me. I became a Glenfiddich Brand Ambassador because of my love for fine whisky and passion for Glenfiddich. It is a real life adventure, and I am thrilled to have played a part in Glenfiddich’s pioneering history.”
According to Brian Kinsman, “This year’s Vintage Reserve selection is distinctively Glenfiddich, with rich, spicy oak notes and an amazing vibrancy for whisky of this age. The nose of the 1974 Glenfiddich Vintage Reserve is rich and oaky with vibrant vanilla sweetness and an intriguing hint of polished leather and liquorice. To taste, it’s initially very sweet with a vanilla toffee character – it’s a beautiful whisky. Just 1,000 bottles will go on sale in September and I look forward to hearing what whisky lovers around the world think of this year’s limited edition bottling.”
Another key Scotch whisky figure also has a new release to be proud of. Glenmorangie’s Dr Bill Lumsden recently unveiled Glenmorangie Pride 1981, described by a company spokesperson as “A marriage of two of the most iconic names in whisky and wine – created by maturing Glenmorangie in Châteaud’Yquem Sauternes ‘barriques.’
“Glenmorangie Pride 1981 is the culmination of 28 years of passion and artistry from the company’s whisky creation team headed by Dr Bill Lumsden, who describes Glenmorangie Pride 1981 as his signature whisky and his finest creation to date. “
The‘original’ whisky of Glenmorangie Pride was distilled in October 1981, and was allowed to mature for 18 years in ex-Bourbon casks, before being transferred into barriques from the renowned vineyard of Château d’Yquem in 1999, for a further 10 years of ageing.
Bill Lumsden says that “We are always looking to push boundaries and innovate, and Glenmorangie Pride 1981 is the pinnacle of those efforts. It is my personal pride and joy. Creating this whisky felt like bringing together two legends in their respective fields.
“The opportunity to mature this superb 18 Year Old whisky for a further ten years in Château d’Yquembarriques was too exciting to pass up. The resulting liquid, one of our most mature to date, is characterised by rich flavours of sumptuous desserts, and undertones of oak tannins, resulting from the extra-maturation process.”
Just 1,000 bottles ofGlenmorangie Pride 1981 are being made available worldwide, and each carries a £2,500 price tag.
Good news for lovers of whisky heritage is that reconstruction work has now started on the long-silent Annandale distillery in south-west Scotland. Distillery owner David Thomson tells ‘whisky-pages’ that contractors are on site, and that a ‘reconstruction diary’ will be added to the website (www.annadaledistillery.co.uk) and regularly updated as progress continues.
Annandale dates from 1830, and during the last few years of the 19th century and the early 20th century, the distillery was operated by John Walker & Sons, who finally closed it in 1921. It was acquired by locally-born, Oxfordshire based businessman Professor David Thomson in 2007.
“It will be a manually-operated distillery, and the emphasis will be on craftsmanship and heritage,” declares Thomson. “It will also be a very ‘green’ distillery, and we are restoring the malting floor so that ideally we can one day make our own malt. There will be a small visitor centre in the ground floor of the restored malting, too.
“Initially, we plan to distil 250,000 litres per year, then double that once we are fully up and running,” he says. “The distillery has to be able to produce enough whisky to make it economically viable, and ultimately it needs to have a fantastic reputation for quality.”
He adds that “To an extent you design the plant to produce the style of whisky you want, and we will make both peated and un-peatedspirit, to keep our options open. We will have lots of fun experimenting and we will end up with a unique Annandale style.”
Part of that style will be provided by the unusual still configuration, which is to consist of one large wash still and two spirit stills, to be fabricated by renowned Speyside coppersmiths Forsyth’s of Rothes.
Richard Paterson, high profile Master Blender for Whyte and Mackay, has embraced new technology with an enthusiasm not always found in people of his age (sorry, Richard!).
This month sees Paterson taking to Google+ to host a live whisky tasting session, using the new service's group video chat feature to get enthusiasts together to "…have a dram and talk whisky," as he puts it.
As Google is not allowing individual brands to sign up at present, Paterson says he will also be tasting Jura and Dalmore whisky to avoid accusations that he is trying to bend the rules.The whisky tasting
sessions will be held on August 15th and 16th at around 7pm UK time. Those who wish to take part can find out more at www.whyteandmackay.com/blog.
Manly Whisky Tea?
Cameron House Hotel at Loch Lomond has joined up with nearby Glengoyne Distillery to offer a new Whisky Afternoon Tea, designed to appeal to men. It features what is described as “…a selection of savoury, carnivorous Scottish favourites served with Glengoyne whisky and a mug of tea on a slate spread.
“This is a more masculine alternative to the traditional Champagne afternoon tea, which typically includes light, dainty sandwiches and sweeter treats arranged on a tiered stand with tea served in delicate bone china.”
The menu includes Rare Roast Beef and Arran Mustard Sandwiches, Haggis Sausage Roll, John Ross Smoked Salmon roll, Mini Aberdeen Angus Burger, Black Pudding Scotch Egg, Glengoyne Whisky Fruit Cake and a 10 Years Old Glengoyne Whisky Miniature. Served in the hotel’s Whisky Bar, the Glengoyne Whisky Afternoon Tea is available daily from 2-5pm for £26 per person. To book a Whisky Afternoon Tea, telephone the Whisky Bar on + 44 (0) 1389 722 581, or visit www.cameronhouse.co.uk.
Whisky-pages’ favourite whisky-themed meal was Stornoway black pudding and fried egg in a floury, white roll, served on a kitchen counter at AbhainnDearg distillery on the Isle of Lewis with a glass of ‘new make’ straight from the still. But then we just don’t have a lot of class…