August’s Whisky News

Replacing ‘The Week in Whisky’, here’s a round-up of all the whisky news from August i.e. the feature is now longer but hopefully you’ll find it slightly more fulfilling!

The rejuvenation of the Scotch Whisky industry continues, with Bladnoch – Scotland’s most southerly distillery – set to reopen after being bought by an Australian entrepreneur (from BBC News).  And he’ll have some help from Burn Stewart Distillers’ former master blender, Ian Macmillan (from The Spirits Business).

A poll has been launched to find the location R&B Distillers new distillery in the Scottish Borders (from BBC News).  Whisky distillation is also set to return to Edinburgh for the first time in 90 years, spearheaded by former Macallan master distiller, David Robertson (from The Whisky Business).

Following Ardbeg’s recent experiment, Japanese whisky firm Suntoy is sending flasks of whisky to the International Space Station to test how zero-gravity affects the whisky’s flavour (from The Guardian).

Various whisky companies releases financial results in August.  Diageo reported a 0.8 per cent decline in operating profits – to a mere £1.45 billion – due to declining market share in North America and disruption in Asian market (from the Daily Record).  This has resulted in Diageo postponing its £1bn Scotch Whisky expansion plans (from Drinks Business Review).  Despite these difficult conditions though, a number of companies reported good figures, including:

  • Isle of Arran, which posted record growth (from Harpers)
  • Glenmorangie reported a rise in profits of 8 per cent (from The Scotsman)
  • Chivas Brothers owned Pernod Ricard revealed robust whisky sales that helped annual profits to rise by 9 per cent (from The Scotsman)

All these companies might be helped though by a new trade deal between the EU and Vietnam, which will help to end the 45 per cent tax currently placed on the spirit in the country (from the Press & Journal).

And although whiskies companies might have mixed fortunes, things are good for whisky collectors, with the market for rare whiskies soaring in value by 34 per cent, to £4.6m (from The Telegraph).

New Releases
Tomatin – one of my favourite distilleries – has released a limited edition pack of whisky called Contrast, with each containing two 350ml bottles from vatted casks – one from ex-bourbon and the other ex-sherry (from The Drinks Report).

Independent blenders and whisky merchants, Edinburgh Whisky Ltd, has launched the first batch of its own blended and single malt whiskies (from The Whisky Business).  New(ish) Kingsbarn Distillery has started bottling its new make spirit, which comes in at a hefty 63.5% (from The Whisky Business).  And the first single malt whisky to be bottled in Shetland is set to go on sale (from STV).

Amongst the old boys, Dalwhinnie has launched a new whisky created using only casks which have been laid down in the winter months (from The Spirits Business).  And Bowmore has launched a limited edition single malt which has been finished in Japanese Mizuara casks (from The Whisky Business)

Following the launch of its vodka, Arbikie Highland Estate has launched Scotland’s “first farm to bottle” gin – Kirsty’s Gin, which is named after master distiller Kirsty Black (from The Spirits Business).

A bit of a gimmick here – Ardbeg has created the world’s first single malt ‘vapour’ (from the Daily Mail).

And finally…
I wrote this piece for the Press Association over the summer which appeared in a few outlets – enjoy!