A distillery brand home manager who has been delighting visitors for five years about Benromach Speyside single malt Scotch whisky has become a Keeper of the Quaich at an exclusive ceremony at Blair Castle in Perthshire.
Susan Colville was invited to join the international and select society which recognises those who have shown outstanding commitment to the Scotch whisky industry.
Susan, who was born and raised in Speyside, joined the Forres-based distillery in 2013 to lead a dedicated team of guides who deliver a highly personal and up-close experience to thousands of visitors from all over the world each year.
Throughout 2018, as Benromach celebrates its 20th anniversary since production restarted, Susan has been driving an exciting programme of activity. She began by leading the team that staged the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival opening gala dinner in May and is helping to host colleague and trade events throughout the year.
Susan was thrilled to be honoured by the Keepers of the Quaich She said: “This has been an incredible year at the distillery, and to receive this accolade during our 20th anniversary is particularly special for me.
“As one of only a few distilleries in Scotland where every whisky is handcrafted without any automated equipment, we’ve worked hard to deliver tours and tastings to our visitors that are truly unique. Since 2013, we’ve seen a 40% increase in visitor numbers from across the globe.”
Susan, who lives in Elgin, Speyside with her husband and daughter, was determined to pursue a career in the Scotch whisky industry from an early age having been inspired by her father who worked for over 30 years as a distiller at Glenrothes Distillery.
Beginning her career as a tour guide at Glenfiddich and Glenfarclas Distilleries over the summer holidays, she then moved to Edinburgh to work for Royal Mile Whiskies. With a natural disposition for customer service and a love of Scotch whisky, Susan relished the opportunity to develop her knowledge and hone her sales skills.
Sales and marketing roles with Douglas Laing, AD Rattray, Wemyss and Glenglassaugh saw Susan travel the world, conducting countless masterclasses and tastings to an audience keen to learn and enjoy Scotch whisky.
Susan was acknowledged by her industry peers in 2012 when she was presented with the Young Ambassador of the Year accolade at the Icons of Whisky Awards. Following this recognition, Susan was named Visitor Centre Manager of the year at the World Whiskies Awards in 2015.
The venue for the Keepers of the Quaich ceremony – Blair Castle – is home to the Atholl Highlanders, Europe’s only private army. The banquet is held in the Grand Ballroom of the Castle, famous for its ceiling decorated with 175 deer antlers.
Keith Cruickshank, distillery manager at Benromach, commented: “Susan’s tireless commitment and significant contribution to our wonderful industry makes her an outstanding candidate to become a Keeper of the Quaich.
“She is a terrific ambassador for Scotch malt whisky and is truly deserving of this honour.”
Last month, Benromach Distillery, which attracts more than 13,000 visitors per year achieved its Five Star Visitor Attraction status from VisitScotland’s Quality Assurance scheme.
Glen Scotia distillery in Campbeltown is set to host one of the first performances of an exciting new opera set in a distillery and featuring music by Scot indie stars Admiral Fallow.
Navigate The Blood, which is written by Sian Evans, is about a couple whose son has disappeared in mysterious circumstances, with the action taking place in a small family distillery.
The new production combines singing, music, theatre and storytelling, and has been created to reflect the lives of the distillery community in Scotland. By being relevant to those based in Scotland’s distilling regions, it also aims to encourage new audiences to experience opera.
Distilling is an industry that employs, directly and indirectly, 41,000 people in Scotland and attracted two million tourists to various Scottish distilleries last year.
The contemporary opera features music by top Scottish indie-folk band, Admiral Fallow, who joined forces with composer Gareth Williams to push the collaborative boundaries and form this exciting new partnership. Working with Gareth, Sian and classical opera singers, they have embraced an intense writing process, resulting in a compelling first new work of modern opera by the talented and versatile musicians
The production will tour Scotland’s traditional distilling regions, from the Highlands, to the Lowlands, via Speyside, Islay and Campbeltown, where Glen Scotia will host the sole performance. Glen Scotia is one of only three surviving distilleries in Campbeltown, formerly known as the Victorian capital of Scotch.
Iain McAlister, Distillery Manager at Glen Scotia, said: “Navigate The Blood has been created to showcase Scotland’s distilling industry and we can’t wait for it to be performed here at Glen Scotia. Campbeltown, one of Scotland’s five official malt-producing regions, has a rich distilling heritage, with over 30 distilleries based in the town during its Victorian heyday when it was known as the Scotch capital of the world. We are extremely proud of our role as the sole host for Campbeltown.”
James Robert Carson, the founder and artistic director of New Opera in Scotland Events (NOISE), which is producing Navigate The Blood, said: “Scotland has a deep and historic involvement with the art of distilling. By performing Navigate the Blood in each of the five distinct distilling regions, NOISE has designed an opera that reflects and celebrates the success and continued innovation of this remarkable industry. The band Admiral Fallow and composer Gareth Williams have created a truly magical and original score, with a story set in a distillery.
“NOISE is delighted to be able to tour this new production to audiences who live and work in some of the country’s most important and unique working communities, such as Glen Scotia in Campbeltown.”
Navigate The Blood is to be performed at Glen Scotia Distillery on November 9. Tickets are available from www.seeticket.com.
COMPASS BOX WHISKY CO. ANNOUNCES THE RECENT WINNER OF ITS INAUGURAL GLOBAL BARTENDER COMPETITION, THE CIRCLE
Rosey Mitchell was revealed as the winner of The Circle after competing against
5 leading bartenders in a three-day final.
London, Thursday 16 August 2018. Compass Box, the Scotch whisky blending house announced Rosey Mitchell as the winner of The Circle at a reveal party in London.
The Circle launched earlier this year and encouraged the most inventive bartenders from around the world to compete for a one-of-a-kind opportunity – a place to work side-by-side with Founder and Whiskymaker, John Glaser to create a Compass Box Limited Edition blend, which will be sold internationally.
THE CIRCLE FINALISTS
Bartenders from Argentina, France, USA, Spain and the UK competed in regional heats, which saw the following six leading bartenders secure a spot in the final.
Adriano Marcellino | BrukBar, Buenos Aires
Baptiste Etcheverry | Fairmont Rey Juan Carlos, Barcelona
Charlotte Pederson | Little Red Door, Paris
Max Venning | Three Sheets, London
Meredith Barry | Vol 39, Chicago
Rosey Mitchell | Three Sheets, London
The three-day final was designed to encourage the bartenders to cross-boundaries with a series of blending, cocktail and design challenges.
The finalists worked closely with Compass Box Whiskymakers John Glaser and Jill Boyd, experimenting with different aromas and flavours before creating their own bespoke blend.
The bartenders got creative behind the bar, building their own signature serves inspired by their home city and bespoke highball serves featuring their very own blend.
The programme of challenges culminated in a final pitch, which was presented to and judged by a panel of experts including Ryan Chetiyawardana of Super Lyan, Matt Whiley of Scout, Sandrae Lawrence of The Cocktail Lovers, Ivan Dixon of Enotria & Coe and Compass Box’s John Glaser.
The final pitch saw the bartenders present their blend and signature highball serve as well as a design inspiration for their whisky, with Rosey receiving top-marks and the title of The Circle winner 2018.
Rosey Mitchell from Three Sheets, commented of her win: “It’s been an incredible couple of days, something I am so excited to be a part of. I have never been in a competition quite like it, John Glaser and everyone involved have truly changed the game and I can’t wait to start blending and see where the future holds.”
Commenting on Rosey’s win John Glaser, said: “I’d like to congratulate Rosey and welcome her to the Compass Box circle. The Circle is all about finding like-minded creators who aren’t afraid to do things differently, if it means doing things better, and we’ve certainly found that in all our finalists. Rosey created a blend and serve that I would be proud to put a Compass Box label on, and I’m excited about what we can create together.”
The Circle judge and Founder of Super Lyan, Ryan Chetiyawardana said: “This was such a personal competition and it covered so many different aspects of the craft; all the bartenders should be incredibly proud. Rosey did an amazing job and I’m super excited to see what she will create with John. Compass Box has always been a brand close to my heart, and it’s great to see that The Circle competition is a fittingly progressive challenge to bartender’s passion and creativity.”
The Compass Box Limited Edition blend, created in collaboration with Rosey will be available worldwide from Spring 2019, coinciding with the launch next year’s competition.
Each month. Malt Marketing like to bring you updates from our clients and after their recent September auction, rare whisky auctioneer Whisky-Online share their results with some notable closing hammer prices fetched.
Last night’s auction finished with a slew of prices at the upper end of the sale that might once have been described as eye-popping. But think what it says about today’s secondary whisky market and how much things have changed in the space of only about 3 years, that we can look at a Macallan 65-year-old Lalique for £41,100, or a Bowmore 1964 Fino for £15,600 and simply take those prices in our stride? How times change…
Also interesting was the 1996 hogshead of Tobermory that fetched £12,700, not in the same league as other bigger named distilleries of similar ages, but this is a serious price for a name like Tobermory. It seems casks are now very much part of the fabric of whisky auctioneering. And, arguably, where the smart money went in recent years.
Most of the bottles at the upper end of this sale were predictably on the high side. Results such as the Bowmore Gold for £12,400 or the Macallan Anniversary Malt 1968 for £3300 were all pretty typical. More telling – and perhaps more interesting – was the Lagavulin SMWS 111.1 selling for £4100. Another of these bottles that shot from sub four figures to this sort of result in a very short space of time. And further evidence of the hunger there is out there, not just for older, sherried Islays or Lagavulin, but for Scotch Malt Whisky Society rarities. Especially low numbers.
Other tasty examples were the Wray & Nephews 1962 25-year-old commemorative rum. The name Wray & Nephew carries some serious clout amongst rum lovers so it wasn’t surprising to see it fetching £2600. Another long undervalued bottling was the Gordon & MacPhail Secret Stills Talisker 1955 which fetched £2350. Again, this bottling was hovering around the £400-600 mark for quite a long time and it is underrated liquid so it’s nice to see it garnering a little more limelight.
The Lagavulin 38-year-old Syndicate bottlings all held strong at £1600 a piece. Exactly the same result as the Dalmore 1981 Matusalem Sherry Finesse bottling. I know which one I’d rather drink, but that just goes to show how varied the secondary market is these days in terms of a buyer profile. And how the effects of that spending is creating multiple bubbles and effects. Speaking of Lagavulin, it was notable that the 1985 Special Releases 21-year-oldhit a muscular £1400, further confirming this bottling is comfortably on its way to the £2000 mark.
In terms of milestones though, perhaps the most notable was the Oban Bicentenary Manager’s Dram. Two bottles of which finished up at £1100, comfortably across the four-figure line. This bottling has been going from strength to strength lately, it will be interesting if it settles down now or continues it’s almost month by month march up the price range.
Laphroaig 1969 Connoisseur’s Choice performed well at £1000 and the Ardbeg Mor 1st release held strong at £950. While other examples of the Manager’s Dram series also continued to perform well, the Clynelish, Aberfeldy and Cardhu bottlings hitting £750, £725 and £675 respectively. While a 1980s 15-year-old Springbankknocked the ball out of the park at £700. These older official standard range Springbanks are good indicator that it is wise to never underestimate Springbank. Even today it’s probably worth putting aside a case of the current 10-year-old every so often. You never know how things will be in 10 – 20 years…
One long underrated bottling it was good to see doing a little better was the Glen Calder 40 year old at £550. Technically a blend, this beautiful old dram really just tastes like a late 1940s single malt. Nice to see it getting a bit more recognition. Impressive in a different way was the Compass Box Hedonism hitting £525. Exactly the same price as the Dunvilles rotation 1948 half bottle. Another juxtaposed pair that illustrates the wildly different spending habits and buyer profiles which are converging to create today’s secondary market.
It’s interesting to see how a large proportion of Port Ellen bottlings are sitting around the £400-500 mark rather consistently these days – especially numerous independent examples from the likes of Douglas Laing. I think these bottles are still worth buying at this price. Sooner or later there will be a market shift upwards to the £600-800 range and not long after that four figures will loom on the horizon. On a 3-5 year investment, these look like good buys. Not to mention if you’re a drinker looking for a slightly more reasonable Port Ellen – most are terrific drams!
Back to the Manager’s Drams and the Talisker 17-year-old landed on £400. Unsurprising as this terrific bottling was never going to sit around the £200 mark forever. In all likelihood, this one will continue to rise steadily for the foreseeable.
In terms of bargains then, once again and rather predictably, there weren’t many. The I W Harper 1946 – 1952 looked interesting for old Bourbon fans at £260. Just as the Johnnie Walker Liqueurlooked totally bewildering at £235 – the contemporary power of a brand name! The Balblair 1986 CASK bottling by Gordon & MacPhail was a good buy at £195, as was the Glenfarclas 1990 Family Cask 9246 at the same hammer price. Both exceptional drams.
Another soon to shift bottling, I suspect, will be all these 1980s Highland Park 12-year-olds in the old screen print dumpy presentation. Most contain wonderful, old school, subtly peaty, sherried Highland Park. They’ve sat, across almost all auctions, around the £160-200 mark for quite some time and represent pretty great drinking value at that price. I suspect it won’t be long before they move into the £250-300 range – then beyond. Might be worth snapping one up before they do. A 1952 – 1977 Hine Cognacalso looks highly quaffable, and something of an anomaly at £140.
Generally though, it was slim pickings for bargain hunters in this sale. As ever the market remains powerful and a weak pound hits UK buyers but helps sellers. The fever of whisky is far from diminishing. Let’s see what next month brings…
The Macallan has launched Rare Cask Batch No. 1, 2018 Release, the first of three releases during 2018. This first batch introduces new packaging for Rare Cask, designed to provide consumers with even more insight into the whisky making process, with more detail revealed on this complex spirit.
Rare Cask exemplifies the ‘art of the cask’ and The Macallan’s unrivalled dedication to using only the best quality wood – a process carefully managed from acorn to cask. Only the finest sherry seasoned casks are hand selected by The Macallan whisky makers at the perfect point of maturation, to create this remarkably rich and unique expression.
This process of hand-selecting the casks is highly skilled and complex, requiring a balance of cask knowledge and creativity. Less than 1% of the casks maturing in The Macallan reserves meet the strict criteria for this distinctive whisky and 100% are first fill sherry seasoned oak casks, with the perfect balance of European and American oak delivering rich flavours and a natural mahogany red colour.
Batch numbers and the year of release will now feature on the new packaging, adding to the element of collectability. Rare Cask Batch No. 1, 2018 Release is one of three batches to be released this year, with four planned for each subsequent year. Each limited release batch represents the volume of only 50 oak sherry butts.
Nick Savage, The Macallan Master Distiller, said: “The rarity of Rare Cask lies in the limited number of first fill sherry seasoned casks. This whisky truly exhibits the art of cask selection and the role of our Whisky Making Team to hand pick the casks for each batch. The casks give the greatest contribution to the character and are the only source of the rich mahogany colour. It is one of The Macallan’s most complex yet balanced whiskies that we’ve created, with soft notes of rich oak, vanilla and chocolate.
“Rare Cask’s flavour has been created to be savoured and shared with those who appreciate a single malt with a rich depth of a complexity and perfect balance. With the release of yearly batches, Rare Cask can also be a memorable way to celebrate or mark a special year or occasion.”
The Macallan Rare Cask Batch No. 1, 2018 Release is presented in a redesigned pack to align it to the new bottles recently unveiled across The Macallan’s range of single malt whiskies. The new design now also features deeper reds and subtly incorporates wood grain to pay tribute to the incredible cask story. A new lighter background inside the pack emphasises the rich mahogany whisky and the pack is encased within a premium gift box, featuring a gold badge highlighting the Rare Cask name, as well as the batch number.
Each batch of The Macallan Rare Cask will be a limited edition release. The Macallan Rare Cask Batch No. 1, 2018 Release has an estimated retail price of £230.
Whisky Makers Notes:
Colour: Mahogany red
Aroma: Soft notes of opulent vanilla and raisin pique the nose, giving way to a sweet ensemble of apple, lemon and orange
Palate: Oak resonates, timeless, polished and rich. Vanilla and chocolate lead the finale along with a light citrus zest
Finish: Full and warming
For further information visit www.themacallan.com
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