Online whisky auction site, Whisky Hammer, and its sister retail business Still Spirit, is poised for global expansion after selling a 49% stake of the Scottish family business to Rare Whisky Holdings, a whisky investment group managed out of Hong Kong.
The multi-million-pound deal will deliver a 2.6X return to retail investors on their original investment, who participated in its crowdfunding campaign just two years ago.
Whisky Hammer started in 2016 by brothers Daniel and Craig Milne who are originally from Macduff, near Speyside, an area renowned for the production of Scotch whisky.
The success of Whisky Hammer, and its vast potential, has been recognised by Rare Whisky Holdings, which is the same management team behind the Platinum Whisky Investment Fund, the first private equity fund in the world to focus on rare single-malt whiskies.
Platinum Whisky Investment Fund launched in 2014, raised USD 12 million and is in the final stage of its wind down, exiting at over USD 24 million in 7 years.
Rare Whisky Holdings also owns the Glenor Cask Company, which holds 1,000 casks of maturing single malt, blended, and grain whiskies. The new investment and partnership ensures registered members of Whisky Hammer and Still Spirit will receive exclusive access to a range of cask opportunities for the long-term.
Whisky Hammer hosts monthly auctions, dedicated to whisky and other fine spirits, allowing buyers and sellers from every corner of the globe to participate. It has auctioned a wide range of whiskies, both bottles and casks, with auctions selling in excess of £1 million under the hammer each month.
A recent feature included the 31-Year-Old Black Bowmore ‘DB5’ collaboration with Aston Martin, distilled in 1964 and sold for a hammer price of £81,000 in March 2021. The customer base of Whisky Hammer features an extensive global network of whisky enthusiasts who buy and sell on the platform, resulting in a 70% growth in revenue in 2020.
Whisky Hammer re-located in 2019 to a new, purpose-built facility in Aberdeenshire, which is also home to Still Spirit – a whisky shop, e-commerce site and dram bar offering over 100 rare whiskies to taste while overlooking the beautiful Scottish countryside.
Daniel Milne, Managing Director of Whisky Hammer and Still Spirit said: “This is a very exciting time for our business. The transaction signifies an important bond with our new Asian partner that will rapidly bring the group to the next phase of growth, and we are incredibly excited about what lies ahead. In addition, we are delighted to have generated a substantial return for our crowdfunding investors that helped us build the business to where it is today.”
Rickesh Kishnani, Co-Founder of Rare Whisky Holdings commented “Our investment group is proud to join the Milne family business and help with their expansion to Asia, where the demand for whisky continues to grow at a rapid pace. We are also excited to use this new partnership to provide Whisky Hammer and Still Spirit members with exclusive access to our collection of aged casks.”
Legal support was provided for the transaction by Goodwin Proctor LLP (acting on behalf of the buyer) and Brodies LLP (acting on behalf of the sellers).
Among Best in Category Trophy, Hibiki® 21 Wins Double Gold, Yamazaki® and Hakushu® Score Several Gold Awards in Prestigious Global Tasting Event
London, 14 July 2021: – The House of Suntory, the founding house and pioneer of Japanese Whisky, received its latest wave of industry accolades from this year’s 2021 International Spirits Challenge across its core portfolio of premium whiskies, including a category win for Japanese Whisky Distiller of the Year, and a Double Gold win for Hibiki® 21 – one of only 11 Double Golds awarded in the entire competition.
Other Gold wins for the House of Suntory went to Hibiki, Yamazaki® and Hakushu® expressions. The House of Suntory received 21 medals in total across the brands, including 13 Gold medals. Held in London in June, the International Spirits Challenge recognises outstanding quality, excellence and achievement in spirits around the world.
“We are honored to continue receiving this level of outstanding recognition year over year by one of the most prestigious industry competitions in the world,” says Jon Potter, Managing Director for the House of Suntory at Beam Suntory. “These awards are a testament to our company’s commitment to quality, precision and excellence. We congratulate our Chief Blender, Shinji Fukuyo, and his diligent team across our distilleries who exhibit the highest level of skill and passion for their craft. This hard-working group commit themselves daily to producing nothing but the best spirits.”
The full list of House of Suntory competition results:
Hibiki 21 Year Old
Hibiki Blender’s Choice
Hibiki Japanese Harmony
Hibiki Japanese Harmony Master’s Select
Hibiki 30 Year Old
Yamazaki Single Malt 12 Year Old
Yamazaki Single Malt 18 Year Old
Yamazaki Single Malt 25 Year Old
Yamazaki Single Malt Mizunara 2020 Edition
Yamazaki Single Malt Spanish Oak 2020 Edition
Yamazaki Single Malt Bordeaux Wine Cask 2020 Edition
Hakushu Single Malt 12 Year Old
Hakushu Single Malt 18 Year Old
Hakushu Single Malt 25 Year Old
Suntory Whisky Chita
Suntory World Whisky AO
The Hakushu Single Malt Whisky
The Hakushu Single Malt Whisky Peated Malt 2021 Edition
The Yamazaki Single Malt Whisky
The Yamazaki Single Malt Whisky Puncheon 2020 Edition
The Yamazaki Single Malt Whisky Peated Malt 2020 Edition
ABOUT THE HOUSE OF SUNTORY
Since 1923, Suntory has been renowned as the pioneer of Japanese whisky for its House of Master Blenders and for their Art of Blending. The founding father of Japanese whisky Shinjiro Torii, built Japan’s first malt whisky distillery in Yamazaki, and the Suntory legacy continued with Torii’s son, Keizo Saji, Suntory’s second master blender who continued to establish distilleries including the Hakushu distillery. As the generations of Suntory’s master blenders carry on, Suntory Whisky remains committed to heritage and innovation. The House of Suntory Whisky has been named four-time Distiller of the Year at the International Spirits Challenge in London, UK (2010, 2012, 2013, 2014).
whisky.suntory.com @suntorywhisky #suntorywhisky
London, 2nd July 2021 – House of Suntory has announced the return of its advocacy programme which will educate bartenders on their premium portfolio of craft spirits: Roku Gin, Haku Vodka, Toki Whisky, and Hibiki Whisky.
DOJO, which translates as ‘a place to master the way’, is a first-of-its kind program that seeks to engage with bartenders to not only improve their skillset, but deepen their understanding of the philosophy and customs that embody The House of Suntory’s roots in Japanese craftsmanship.
Led by House of Suntory’s Brand Ambassador, James Bowker, the DOJO programme will be supported by traditional Japanese Craft Masters. Together they will provide best-in-class education in Japanese culture, craft and bartending, centring on the three key pillars of House of Suntory: Hibiki, Omotenashi and Monozukuri.
Between June and September, the Japanese Craft Masters will each present an online masterclass with James Bowker:
In addition to this and in the spirit of traditional DOJO training, participants will also be able to take part in Kaizen Challenges, inspired by the idea of Kaizen – continual refinement – wherein participants will demonstrate their newfound skills and apply them to a classic cocktail. The participants who display the most commitment and personal development will be invited to a grand finale where House of Suntory will select the strongest DOJO apprentices to join them for a one-of-a-kind trip to Japan.
Commenting on the re-launch, James Bowker, UK Brand Ambassador for the House of Suntory said: “We are extremely proud to bring back DOJO for a second year. The programme is a great opportunity to engage with bartenders across the country and share with them the three pillars behind the House of Suntory brand that makes it so unique. Educating bartenders on Japanese culture has always been a passion of mine and I cannot wait to welcome the next cohort of Dojo ambassadors.”
For more information on DOJO, please visit www.suntorydojo.com
London, 13th May 2021: Ultra-premium spirits company, Edrington, is re-presenting its Naked brand with a new identity. Embracing its independent spirit and honouring the liquid by placing a first-fill sherry cask centre stage on the bottle, the brand will also evolve to Naked Malt to reinforce its quality credentials and reflect the blend of some of Scotland’s finest single malts.
The launch of Naked Malt, formerly Naked Grouse, will see no change to the award-winning liquid. However, the brand is revealing a new, contemporary design and 100% recyclable packaging. The bottle – which remains transparent to showcase the liquid – will now be embossed with a stunning “Naked” first-fill sherry cask, a homage to the unique process and the delicious flavour it embodies. Each bottle will also carry a signature from Naked Malt Master Blender, Diane Stuart, to acknowledge the meticulous blending, care & craftsmanship that goes into every specially selected cask.
Comprised of world-renowned single malts, Naked Malt’s exceptional flavour is enhanced when the unique blend is extra-matured in first-fill (or naked) Oloroso sherry casks for at least six months. As they’ve never held whisky before, this imparts the best flavour and cask character to create a distinctive taste that is rich and fruity yet versatile for any preferred serve. The brand wants to inspire a new generation of whisky drinkers to celebrate the freedom to drink whisky their way, and ultimately Live Naked, free from traditional constraints.
The finished Naked Malt blend features hints of buttery toffee and sweet spice on the nose, notes of vanilla, stewed fruit and raisins on the palate with a rich and sherried spice finish, creating a contemporary spirit that gives consumers the freedom to enjoy their way – whether that be neat, on the rocks or as part of a cocktail. The brand’s signature serve is a simple Naked Sour which reflects the versatility of the liquid.
Naked Malt will be available to purchase on Amazon, Master of Malt and The Whisky Exchange from July 2021 and will cost £27.
Elaine Miller, Global Brand Controller at Naked Malt, said: “For our consumers, the whisky category can be difficult to navigate and bound with conventions they don’t want to be constrained by, so for us, it’s about making whisky more accessible. We want to give a new generation the freedom to try whisky their way, whilst providing the reassurance of a great quality, versatile liquid.
“The new bottle design reinforces our ‘Naked’ cask story, and our ‘Naked’ bottle itself is stripped back because we want to liberate the whisky and let the quality shine through. We also took this opportunity to ensure that all packaging components are 100% recyclable, a key consideration for our consumers.”
Diane Stuart, Naked Malt Master Blender, added: “Naked Malt is blended using some of the finest Scottish single malts, each selected for its quality and individual flavour. Every cask of Single Malt Scotch whisky selected for our blend is nosed to ensure it meets our exacting standard.
“By extra maturing Naked Malt in first-fill Oloroso sherry casks, we deliver quality and intensity of flavour enviable in the contemporary whisky category. We create the perfect balance of sweet, fruity character from the American oak with the rich, dried fruit and spicy notes from the European oak to produce Naked Malts signature flavour. But what matters most is that you enjoy it whichever way you like.”
Like with all occasions to celebrate with style, World Whisky Day is no different. This World Whisky Day on Saturday 15 May, why not explore a little further and find a whisky that represents exactly who you are. As with any considered purchase, the time taken in making a selection is more often than not rewarded later and with selecting the right whisky it is no different.
Meaning ‘time’ in Japanese, Toki brings together old and new – the House of Suntory’s proud heritage and its innovative spirit. A blended Japanese whisky that is both ground-breaking and timeless, the finish is subtly sweet and spicy with a hint of vanilla oak, white pepper and ginger.
Highland Park 10 YO
Highland Park 10 YO is matured predominantly in sherry seasoned European and American oak casks. This particular whisky has notes of oranges, vanilla cream and smoky heather peat.
Stockist: Master of Malt
The Macallan 12 Year Old Double Cask
The Macallan 12 Year Old Double Cask has been aged in a combination of American oak and ex-sherry casks. This is a rich whisky which combines fruity citrus and caramel with spicy ginger and nutmeg.
Bowmore 12 YO
Bowmore is Islay’s oldest distillery, and home to the world’s oldest whisky maturation warehouse, the No. 1 Vaults. The most perfectly balanced 12 Year Old which embodies Bowmore’s signature style. Bowmore 12 YO is both complex and perfectly balanced, with Bowmore’s trademark peat smoke, leading to a delicious, long and mellow finish.
By maturing the liquid in small batches in five unique casks, Laphroaig has created a liquid that is rich, complex, varied and above all, storied. Laphroaig Lore uses different aged liquids ranging from 7 to 21 years, which allows the richest possible flavour. As the name suggests, this offering from Laphroaig is inspired by the knowledge and traditions passed down from generation to generation of its distillery managers, blenders and craftsmen.
The Famous Grouse
First produced in 1860, The Famous Grouse has been the No.1 whisky in Scotland since 1980. The Famous Grouse is a nicely balanced, malty blend with notes of toffee apples and hints of biscuity barley. The blend was awarded a Royal Warrant and represents great value for money.