Monday, August 24, 2009

US urged to boycott Scottish products after Lockerbie bomber's release

US urged to boycott Scottish products after Lockerbie bomber's release American efforts to mount a boycott of British goods and services are gathering pace over the controversial decision to repatriate Lockerbie bomber, Abdelbaset Ali Al Megrahi.

US urged to boycott Scottish products after Lockerbie bomber's release drinkers are being urged to switch to US, Canadian or Irish whiskeys.

US citizens are being urged to stop buying items ranging from Scotch whisky to kilts and petrol sold at BP-owned outlets as well as to cancel planned holidays in Britain to register their protest.

Websites are being used by protest groups to whip up support for the boycott, and drinkers are being urged to switch to US, Canadian or Irish whiskeys and switch their holidays to Ireland.

British companies with considerable US business are taking a relaxed view about the likely effect on their business, while appreciating the strength of feeling behind the protests.

The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) – with £370m worth of export business to the US annually – has been closely monitoring the developments, but feels any action or impact on sales is likely to be short-lived.

However, in some quarters it is felt that the boycott could have a longer life, particularly if British companies benefit from increased trade with Libya.

Campbell Evans, SWA director, said: "We have been faced with other boycotts in the past and found they haven't lasted. We appreciate what lies behind this action. In the heat of the moment it is understandable."

Scotch is the most visible and high-profile element in Scotland's near £3bn a year of exports to the US but tourism is an important contribution to the economy. US tourists are estimated to account for around 14pc of foreign visitors to Scotland and are regarded as the biggest contributors to a £1bn-a-year business.

Diageo, the world's biggest drinks company with 40pc of its operating profits generated in the US, is monitoring developments and so far has not seen any fall off in business. Johnnie Walker is its biggest whisky brand, but rum and tequila brands are more important to it in the market.

The websites make no distinction between the role of the Scottish or British governments in the repatriation decision. "Don't travel to Scotland or do business there (or in the UK in general) and don't buy any British or Scottish products," tells US citizens.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

More misery

Reading this and the other similar stories, I wonder when it will end and what the long term impact the job cuts will have on the industry. If the Japanese distillery owners are clever, they can pickup some great talent. Made in Japan, by Scotsmen?

"Whisky producer Whyte & Mackay has confirmed plans to cut dozens of jobs at sites across Scotland.
Up to 85 posts will be lost, with another 15 overseas sales staff facing the axe. A month-long consultation and review of operations is under way.
Whyte and Mackay has plants in the west of Scotland, Highlands and Grangemouth, but no site is facing closure. The firm blamed the economic downturn.
The GMB union said the move was "bitterly disappointing".
The cuts come just weeks after drinks giant Diageo said it was cutting 900 whisky jobs.
Indian billionaire Vijay Mallya bought Whyte & Mackay in a £595m ($1.2bn) deal in May 2007, posting pre-tax profits of £25.6m for the 18 months to the end of March last year.

The firm currently employs 574 people across its seven sites in Scotland, including its Glasgow city centre headquarters, the Invergordon Distillery and its bottling factory in Grangemouth.
It is understood the job losses could include 30 in Invergordon, two at Dalmore and two on Jura."

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Press Release - Glenglassaugh Distillery - New Spirit

Glenglassaugh Distillery, Portsoy.

Innovative ‘New Spirit’ release from Glenglassaugh.
‘Single Mash’ is world first for Portsoy distillery.

The Glenglassaugh Distillery Company announces the release of their first entirely new product since re-opening the distillery in December 2008.
A Limited Release of 8,160 individually numbered 50cl bottles of new make spirit are available under the title “The Spirit Drink that dare not speak its name™”.
As Managing Director Stuart Nickerson explains:
“8,160 bottles is the entire output from a single mash. We felt it was an interesting concept to turn normal practice on its head and, for the new spirit, release a single mash rather than a single cask. We’re excited by the result and we think this is a world first, offering the connoisseur and enthusiast a different insight into distilling practice and flavour development.”
As required by EU legislation, the product is described as a Spirit Drink and, in deference to the law applying to Scotch Whisky, does not carry the Glenglassaugh name in the branding. Instead, the “The Spirit Drink that dare not speak its name™” is a tongue-in-cheek reference to the restrictions applying to the new make spirit that, after three years, can carry the distillery’s name and the descriptor ‘whisky’.
“We believe “The Spirit Drink that dare not speak its name™” offers something new to the market,” says Nickerson “and we are delighted to release this expression in acknowledgement of the interest aroused by Glenglassaugh’s re-opening.”
“The Spirit Drink that dare not speak its name™” will be available internationally from leading specialists at a RRP of £30 for a Limited Release of 8,160 50 cl bottles at 50% abv.
For further information, please contact:
Mhairi McDonald 01261 842367 or

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Clear spirits are calling

I just had a chat with the owner of a distillery in Scotland. He tells me that they have started selling new make spirit - at 50% ABV. For those who have not experienced new make and don't know what it is, one way to describe it is whisky before it can be called whisky. It is the spirit before it is aged. As whisky has to be aged for at least 3 years in oak to be called whisky, if the spirit is not aged in oak for at least 3 years, then you can't call it whisky.

They are also starting to market spirit that has been aged for 6 months in Californian Red wine casks.

These products are not whiskies, but are interesting to use in tastings and could be quite fun to use in cocktails.

And on their own - I will wait for my sample bottle to arrive and let you know.

Press Release - Bunnahabhain 25 year old

Islay’s Bunnahabhain 25 year old, in the space of just two weeks, has augmented its already impressive list of accolades. It has just claimed gold and best in class at the International Wine and Spirit Competition for the second successive year, along with gold at the International Spirits Challenge. Both events, acknowledged globally as leading competitive forums for spirits, were held in July in London.
At the same time the 12 year took gold at the International Wine and Spirits Competition and silver at the International Spirits Challenge whilst the 18 year old received silver medals at both these prestigious competitions.
According to Bunnahabhain spokesperson, Brian Glass, these latest wins indicate an appreciation for Bunnahabhain’s subtle peat flavour and fruity, floral characteristics. “Whereas Islay is renowned for producing whiskies with pronounced peaty and maritime characteristics, Bunnahabhain single malts show a gentler profile that is clearly very attractive to whisky lovers the world over.”
Produced on the southern Hebridean island off the west coast of Scotland, Bunnahabhain is able to express a more subtle character thanks to the use of unpeated malted barley, as well as the pure spring water that flows freely underground away from the peaty moorlands.

Bunnahabhain takes its name from the Scottish Gaelic word for “mouth of the river”. Founded in 1881 at the remote north-eastern tip of Islay, close to the Margadale River, its single malts are made by master distiller Ian MacMillan, who has over 30 years’ experience.
The 12-year old offers a wonderfully fresh and aromatic experience, its palate opening with notes of fruit and nuts that lead onto a malty sweetness to end in a rich, lingering finish. It is distinguished from the 18-year old, with its fragrant nose of honeyed nuts, subtle sea-induced salty tang and wafts of toffee and leather balanced by sweet oak spice and sherry on the palate. The 25-year old announces itself with a sweet aroma of caramel and flavours of berries and cream, balanced by roasted nuts and malt, ending in a tantalising dry finish.

The Bunnahabhain 12 year old retails for about R460, the 18 year for R710 and the 25 year old for R1 800 per 750ml bottle. For more information please visit

Notes to the editor
Bunnahabhain belongs to the portfolio of Burn Stewart Distillers, integrated Scotch whisky producer and brand owner with a portfolio of leading whisky brands, including Black Bottle. Burn Stewart is owned by CL WorldBrands, the UK-based global drinks group with distribution networks in Europe, the US and Far East. Distell is in a joint venture with the company that also involves distributing a selection of its whiskies in sub-Saharan Africa.

DATE 29 July 2009