Wednesday 31st August – Edrington, the international premium spirits company has announced the appointment of a new Master Blender for The Famous Grouse.
Craig Johnstone is a Scot who brings nineteen years of industry experience to the role in the UK and most recently in Tasmania. He returns to Scotland to take on one of the most prestigious roles in the industry as the blender behind the UK’s No 1 Whisky.
Craig follows in the footsteps of renowned Master Blenders including Gordon Motion and Kirsteen Campbell. The 37-year-old has become one of a select few people who know the unique blend of whiskies that combine to form Scotland’s favourite whisky and holder of a Royal Warrant.
The role will be based at Edrington’s famous ‘106 Sample Room’ in Glasgow, where an estimated 11,000 samples of single malts, grains and blends are stored and where a team of blenders nose up to 600 samples a day to guarantee the aroma, flavour and character of The Famous Grouse blend.
After completing a degree in astrophysics, Craig’s first job was as a Scotch Whisky distillery tour guide. The experience led him to focus his ambitions on the industry and develop an interest in sustainability in spirits distillation.
As Master Blender, Craig will work with the Edrington team to develop new sustainability practices within the whisky making and blending processes.
Edrington recently announced a commitment to achieve Net Zero by 2045, with an ambitious plan to reduce its carbon emissions and has joined the Carbon Disclosure Project, the gold standard of environmental reporting.
Joakim Leijon, Global Brand Director for The Famous Grouse, said: “Craig is a talented master blender and his experience and passion for the brand and for exploring new ideas in sustainability will help us to build on the global success of The Famous Grouse and also rise to the challenge of our Net Zero ambitions.”
Commenting on his new role, Craig said: “It is a privilege to be Master Blender for The Famous Grouse and to be part of the team that are the current custodians of this amazing brand. This beloved Scotch Whisky has played a prominent role in my life, part of so many celebrations with family and friends – just the aroma gives me a sense of being back home. I’m looking forward to delivering the high quality and character that is expected of The Famous Grouse and continuing the legacy of this well-loved whisky.”
Kelvin Ng has been appointed to the Hong Kong-based position of Regional Director Asia Travel Retail, while the group is also recruiting for a GTR Commercial and Trade Marketing Executive to be based in its Scottish head office at Loch Lomond Distillery.
In the role of Regional Director Asia Travel Retail, effective from February 2020, Kelvin will be responsible for expanding Loch Lomond Group’s travel retail presence across the Asia-Pacific region, which has experienced significant growth in the single malt Scotch whisky category in recent years. He will be working with Loch Lomond Group’s GTR partners, distributors and customers in the region.
Kelvin will bring a wealth of experience in the international spirits business to the role, having worked in senior GTR and domestic roles for Halewood Wines & Spirits, MG Cellars and William Grant & Sons, amongst others, for over 25 years.
Based in Alexandria, Scotland, the successful GTR Commercial and Trade Marketing Executive candidate will have responsibility for developing customer relationships and driving forward implementation of the global brand strategy through the channel, as well as supporting the new product development pipeline.
André de Almeida, Managing Director, Global Travel Retail at Loch Lomond Group, said: “The GTR channel is a fundamental part of Loch Lomond Group’s growth strategy and the creation of these two new roles highlights our continued investment in this area. The strengthening of our team will significantly support our GTR operations worldwide and will help to facilitate further expansion into the channel on a global scale.”
Kelvin Ng, Regional Director, Asia Travel Retail at Loch Lomond Group, said: “I am very pleased to be appointed to this newly created role for Loch Lomond Group. I am looking forward to helping to offer a more diverse range of single malt Scotch whiskies to consumers travelling across Asia and to expanding the company’s footprint within the region.”
Loch Lomond Group has become more prominent in Asia in recent years and Kelvin Ng’s appointment marks the next phase in the group’s continued investment to strengthen its position in the growing market.
In 2018, Loch Lomond Whiskies entered a prestigious, five-year partnership with The R&A to become The Spirit of The Open which showcases the full range of Loch Lomond Whiskies on a global scale.
In 2019, Loch Lomond Group expanded its GTR operations into China Duty Free, which saw a number of expressions from its premium Loch Lomond Whiskies and Glen Scotia ranges being made available in Shanghai and Beijing International Airports amongst others. In the same year the company also established new Chinese headquarters, Loch Lomond China, to facilitate expansion of its brands within the country and development of the single malt Scotch whisky market in the wider Asia-Pacific region.
To further enhance awareness among Asian customers, Loch Lomond Group will attend the Tax Free World Association (TFWA) Asia Pacific Exhibition & Conference 2020 – one of the largest travel retail events in the region – in Singapore this May.
Loch Lomond Group’s bespoke Loch Lomond Whiskies GTR range first went on sale in Glasgow Airport’s World Duty Free World of Whiskies store in February 2017, followed by the launch of the independent distiller’s Glen Scotia GTR range exactly one year later. In September 2018 the group introduced Littlemill Single Malt Scotch whisky from Scotland’s oldest licensed distillery to the channel.
For further information, visit www.lochlomondgroup.com
One of Campbeltown’s three surviving distilleries, Glen Scotia, has added an exceptionally rare 45-year-old single malt to its award-winning range.
Encased in a stunning handcrafted walnut box, and limited to 150 bottles world-wide, Glen Scotia 45-year-old Single Malt Scotch Whisky is not only the oldest expression to be released by Glen Scotia distillery but also one of the most exclusive. A whisky truly made by history, Glen Scotia 45 year old reflects the centuries of craftsmanship and experience associated with Campbeltown.
Embodying all the signature characteristics of a Campbeltown single malt, the liquid is dominated by maritime influences. On the nose, it presents bold coastal elements, as well as sweet notes of ripe pineapple, crisp green apple, rose and vanilla.
The liquid was distilled in December 1973 before being filled into refill Bourbon casks two days before Christmas. Over three decades later, in 2011, the precious spirit was carefully re-casked into first fill Bourbon then laid to mature under the watchful eye of master distiller Michael Henry before finally bottling in 2019.
He said: “Glen Scotia 45-year-old is one of the most magnificent expressions to be produced by our Campbeltown distillery and we are excited that after 45 years we are now able to unveil it to the world.
“Distilled in 1973, this single malt is steeped in history and is extraordinarily rare. The liquid has been maturing in refill bourbon casks, tucked away in our bonded warehouses, for over three decades before being finished in first fill bourbon.
“It embodies all of the unique elements which Glen Scotia is known for, delivering a long mouth-watering finish with notes of sea salt and lime citrus. On the palate, the liquid presents caramel sweetness at first, then juicy fruit with pineapple, mango and water melon rounded by vanilla and honey.”
Non-chill filtered to ensure it is enjoyed as nature intended, Glen Scotia 45 year old is bottled at 43.8% ABV and presented in a striking case created by family-owned, UK-based luxury packaging manufacturer, Moran’s Wood Components. Each case is handmade using sustainably sourced British walnut and features contains a delicate tile engraved with the individual bottle number and tasting notes. Inside, the case boasts embossed leather lining.
Paul Moran, director, Moran’s Wood Components, said: “It was an honour to create such a beautiful box for the Glen Scotia 45 year old, a very rare and historic whisky. Inspired by the intrinsic link between wood and whisky, we also drew from Glen Scotia’s vision of incorporating quality materials and craftsmanship, to reflect the same principles that go into the distillery’s award-winning single malts.
“We constantly strive to push the boundaries, and everyone at Moran’s is extremely proud of this project.”
Campbeltown is Scotland’s fifth and smallest malt producing region. Throughout the Victorian era it was known as the whisky capital of the world and home to more than 30 working distilleries.
To raise awareness of the importance of the region to Scotland’s whisky heritage, Glen Scotia distillery has been campaigning for Campbeltown to be recognised the “whiskiest place in the world.” In July 2019, a parliamentary motion on the issue lodged at Westminster received cross party support.
Iain McAlister, distillery manager, said: “It might be the smallest region, but the contribution Campbeltown has made to Scotch whisky is incomparable.
“For over 100 years, our coastal town has been crafting some of the world’s most exciting expressions and Glen Scotia 45 year old exemplifies everything you would expect of a fantastic Campbeltown single malt. It truly is the perfect addition to any collection.”
Glen Scotia 45 year old will be priced at £3,795 and available from specialist retailers from October, including the Whisky Shop.
3rd June 2019: Bowmore has been awarded gold medals for its 15-Year-Old and 18-Year-Old in the Whisky category at the International Spirits Challenge (ISC) 2019. Such an accolade from the ISC is regarded to be the most respected and sought after in the drinks industry, due to the stringent nature of the judging process.
The Bowmore 15-Year-Old and 18-Year-Old passed a scrupulous blind tasting by a world-renowned expert panel of specialist judges to beat strong competition to win the prestigious accolade of gold. The quality of Bowmore’s craftsmanship and liquid is reflected in this superb result.
Matured first in bourbon barrels then Oloroso casks, there’s no finer example of a sherry cask finish than the Bowmore 15-Year-Old. It’s the final three years spent in Oloroso sherry casks that gives Bowmore 15-Year-Old the rich, deep colour and robust warming finish.
Cosseted away in the finest, hand-selected oak casks and allowed to mature at its own sedate pace, the Bowmore 18-Year-Old is one of the most remarkable, perfectly balanced single malt scotch whiskies of its kind. One of the rarest whiskies, bottles of Bowmore 18-Year-Old may be limited, but there’s no end to its enjoyment.
Awards Organiser Justin Smith said: “This ISC grows every year, with producers entering a diverse mix of spirits from across the globe who are looking to benchmark their spirit at the very highest level”.
Chiara Giovanacci, International Marketing Manager Malts for Beam Suntory, commented: “Both the Bowmore 15-year-old and Bowmore 18-year-old are exceptional whiskies meticulously matured and sitting proudly at the heart of our portfolio. To be recognised by such a prestigious and respected awards organisation demonstrates their qualities as two of the finest aged single malts in the world.”
Now in its 24th year, the ISC is the premier event in promoting outstanding quality spirits from across the globe. The competition is founded on a rigorous and independent judging process, which serves to encourage the high calibre of spirits and designs entered into the competition each year. Receiving more than 1,700 entries from nearly 70 countries worldwide, the ISC is a truly global competition. It is supported by many of the world’s leading spirits producers as the international standard for quality and excellence.
For the Tasting Awards, a highly controlled operation is held over fifteen days of intense blind tastings by panels of more than 50 respected and experienced industry professionals. Samples are delivered to the judging area in flights of numbered tasting glasses to ensure the accuracy of the blind tasting. Each judge assesses products according to their age, region and variety which is then determined by the entrant and verified by the chairman.
Such a precise judging process has provided the basis of the strong reputation the ISC has established for rewarding quality and celebrating excellence.
Full results have been released and published on the International Spirits Challenge (ISC) website, www.
On 10th July, the world’s leading drinks producers and design specialists will gathered at The Plaisterers Hall, London for the annual ISC Awards Dinner. Paying tribute to some of the finest spirits, and packaging designs in the world, results for categories are announced with the evening highlights, which include the acclaimed Trophies, Producer of the year, Distiller of the Year, Supreme Champion Spirit and Special Recognition awards.
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Michael Russell MSP visited Glen Scotia Distillery as part of a new campaign to position Campbeltown as the “whiskiest place in the world.”
The Argyll & Bute member was presented with a unique bottling as the distillery prepared for the annual Campbeltown Malts Festival, which gets underway tomorrow [Tuesday 21 May].
During the visit the MSP, who is also Cabinet Secretary for Constitutional Affairs, had an opportunity to see some of the oldest parts of the distillery, which date back to the 1830s and to meet some of its staff.
He also bottled his own whisky, choosing an 18 Year Old Single Malt from Cask 560, a first fill ex-bourbon cask stored in Glen Scotia’s historic dunnage warehouse.
The one-off bottle is dedicated to the MSP and his visit to Glen Scotia, with Campbeltown described on the label as “the whiskiest place in the world” in honour of the region’s illustrious past. In the Victorian era Campbeltown was home to more than 30 distilleries and known as ‘whisky capital of the world’.
Iain McAlister, distillery manager, said: “It was a pleasure to welcome Michael Russell MSP to our distillery. We’re very proud of our exceptional single malts and their contribution to both Campbeltown and Scotland’s world-leading whisky industry. Research suggests that Campeltown was the predominant Scotch whisky for almost 100 years.
“Whisky is in our DNA in Campbeltown. After being at the forefront of production distilling has become a way of life here and we’re looking forward to sharing our passion for whisky with visitors to this year’s malts festival.”
Michael Russell MSP, said: “It was great to meet the team at Glen Scotia Distillery and learn more about their award-winning single malts.
“It’s very encouraging to see how Glen Scotia is helping to attract visitors to the Campbeltown and boost recognition of its role in Scotch. I wish it well with its new campaign.”
The 57.4% ABV Scotch gifted to the MSP is among several whiskies due to be sampled straight from the cask by visitors taking part in Glen Scotia’s dunnage tastings during the Campbeltown Malts Festival.
The festival, which runs from 21-23 May showcases the region’s distinctive single malts.
As part of the event, Glen Scotia is set to host two sold-out whisky dinners, a distillery open day, tours and a variety of tastings. New to its programme this year is the Glen Scotia Coastal Connection Tasting session with Master Blender Michael Henry, who will explore Campbeltown’s history, explaining how it has shaped and influenced the town’s whisky heritage to this day.
To find our more visit www.glenscotia.com
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