Benromach 10 Years Old has been crowned the winner in the 12 Years & Under category at the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Awards 2019. The annual competition seeks out the best whiskies from Scotland’s most prolific whisky-producing region.
Just two finalists are selected in each category during a blind taste challenge held by the judging panel, which is composed of nine leading industry experts and whisky writers. Benromach was the only distillery to have two expressions in the final eight whiskies, including Benromach 15 Years Old which was recognised as the runner up in the 13 – 20 Years Old category.
In the only whisky competition of its type, the shortlisted expressions are then sampled by the public at judging sessions held in cities including New York, Cologne, Rome, Belfast and London.
Visitors and locals to the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival in May then cast the deciding vote on the shortlist, with the results revealed at the Festival’s closing ceilidh.
Keith Cruickshank, Benromach Distillery Manager, said: “We are immensely proud that Benromach 10 Years Old, our flagship whisky, has been recognised in these prestigious awards. It is particularly special because such a breadth of audiences from all over the world have had the opportunity to try two of our whiskies and have recognised them for their quality and taste.
“At Benromach, we are one of only a few Scottish distilleries to craft all our whiskies by hand. Our methods take a little longer, but we believe this extra attention is reflected in the depth of the flavours of our whiskies. We manage the process by sight, sound and touch and use only traditional techniques to create our distinctive expressions – beautifully balanced with a light touch of smoke.’’
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Gordon & MacPhail has unveiled images of the new distillery the company hopes to build in the Cairngorm National Park in Scotland.
The distillery, which would be built at Craggan near Grantown-on-Spey, has been designed to take advantage of stunning views across the River Spey to the Cairngorm mountains.
The circular design of the building would disguise much of the day to day working of the distillery within the service yard. Sedum roofs will help the buildings blend into the surrounding environment when viewed from higher ground.
More than 150 people visited the exhibition and viewed the plans, which included computer generated images of the distillery and associated buildings.
The family owned firm, who also own Benromach Distillery at Forres, announced last year that it hopes to build a second distillery at Craggan. The production rate will start at 375,000 litres per year, although the distillery will be capable of producing 2 million litres of alcohol in the longer term.
Response locally to the plans has been overwhelmingly positive. Ewen Mackintosh, Gordon & MacPhail’s managing director, said they had been delighted at the response at an event held as part of the planning process. “We’re really pleased at the number of people who came along to see our plans, we couldn’t have asked for a warmer welcome. People are saying how excited they are to see a distillery being proposed for the area as they believe it has the potential to support Grantown-on-Spey as a destination and encourage visitors to stay longer in the town.”
Gordon & MacPhail has been working closely with architects NORR to create the designs for the distillery, the first new build Scotch malt whisky distillery to be built in the Cairngorm National Park.
Members of the fourth generation of the Urquhart family, owners of Gordon & MacPhail, were at the exhibition to hear the views of the local community and emphasise the company’s commitment to the area.
As Stuart Urquhart, Gordon & MacPhail Operations Director, explained: “We are a longstanding family-owned business with strong roots and commitment to the north of Scotland. Building and operating our second distillery is part of our generational plan to grow a long-term sustainable business, whilst continuing to be part of the fabric of the local community.”
Gordon & MacPhail is a family owned business which has built its knowledge and experience of the Scotch whisky industry over a 120-year history. In 1993, the Urquhart family realised a long-held ambition when they acquired Benromach Distillery and reopened it after extensive refurbishment in 1998.
A member of the world famous Malt Whisky Trail, Benromach Distillery attracts around 15,000 visitors to the area every year, a figure they aim to increase further with the opening of their Red Door Gin visitor experience this year.
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.
Whisky lovers enjoyed a triple treat as independent distiller Glen Scotia rolled out three limited edition single malts as part of this year’s Campbeltown Malts Festival.
The Campbeltown Malts Festival, which this year ran from 22-24 May, celebrates all that is unique and special about single malts from the region. In the Victorian era the town was home to more than 30 distilleries and known as ‘whisky capital of the world’.
Today Glen Scotia is one of just three surviving local distilleries and its award-winning whiskies are known for their distinctive Campbeltown character.
The Glen Scotia 25 Year Old Single Malt, launched during last year’s festival, was recently crowned a Double Gold medal winner at the prestigious San Francisco World Spirits Competition 2018, along with the Glen Scotia 18 Year Old Single Malt, which was also a newcomer in 2017.
Making its debut as part of this year’s event was the Glen Scotia 2000 Single Cask Festival bottling. Selected by a panel which included whisky expert Charles MacLean, just 147 bottles of this beautifully balanced 18 Year Old, which combines maritime notes with a buttery vanilla sponge base, have been made available and they can only be purchased directly from the distillery, priced at £150.
Guests at the Glen Scotia Whisky Dinner, which launched the festival on Tuesday 22 May, each received their own exclusive single malt. The Glen Scotia Whisky Dinner Single Cask bottling was distilled in 2010. It combines subtle peat with a sweet spiciness before a salty and distinctly maritime finish.
The sold-out event, which paired local produce with a selection of Glen Scotia drams, was held at the Ardshiel Hotel. The hotel’s bar is renowned internationally for its extensive collection of single malts.
Finally, making its first international outing at the festival was the Glen Scotia Campbeltown Malts Festival 2018 Limited Edition Ruby Port Finish, priced at £45. Distilled in 2008 and matured in first fill bourbon barrels before being finished in Ruby Port casks for six months, the non-chill filtered liquid was then bottled at cask strength – 57.8% ABV.
Peated and smooth, this limited edition 10 Year Old Single Malt is sweetened by red fruits before delivering a long finish tinged with a dry saltiness. Only 6,000 bottles have been made available worldwide, with orders already in from markets including Germany, Switzerland and Taiwan.
Iain McAlister, Distillery Manager at Glen Scotia, said: “We enjoyed welcoming visitors old and new to Glen Scotia as part of this year’s Campbeltown Malts Festival. It was a fantastic opportunity for them to discover our award-winning Glen Scotia single malts and the distinctive character associated with Campbeltown, which is the smallest of Scotland’s five Scotch producing regions.
“This year’s festival was extra special as it followed our recent double golds at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition 2018. We’ve long championed craftsmanship at Glen Scotia, and our time honoured traditions are now being recognised as more and more people seek to engage with craft drinks and discover new brands.”
In addition to releasing new expressions, Glen Scotia distillery laid on an expanded festival events programme this year.
On Wednesday 23 and Thursday 24 May the distillery hosted dunnage tastings as well as free distillery tours. Cooperage demonstrations and tastings were also available, while local stalls offered a variety of craft items and produce.
Demand for Glen Scotia’s distinctive single malts has soared following the launch of a new Global Travel Retail range and the introduction of the ‘Glen Scotia Grand Tour’, an experiential event designed to offer whisky lovers the chance to experience the essence of Campbeltown.
Held in London’s Borough Market from 15 – 17 March, the Glen Scotia Grand Tour aimed to transport whisky lovers to the Glen Scotia distillery on the Mull of Kintyre and replicate the experience of visiting the distinctive Campbeltown Whisky region. It is set to be rolled out to the US later this year.
Edrington, the international premium spirits company, has revealed the new distillery and visitor experience for The Macallan.
The new distillery and visitor experience is located on the stunning Easter Elchies estate, which has been home to the leading luxury single malt since 1824. From humble beginnings, the brand has risen to become the leading international single malt by value and enjoys leading positions in some of the world’s most significant Scotch whisky markets including The USA, Taiwan, and Japan.
It is the first distillery on Speyside to be designed by an internationally acclaimed architect, Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, who were selected to lead the project after an international competition.
Edrington is investing £500 million in the brand of which the £140 million distillery is the centrepiece. This programme increases investment in whisky, warehousing, and particularly in The Macallan’s signature sherry-seasoned oak casks.
The project was announced in 2012 and the build began in December 2014. The first whisky ran through the stills in December last year and the visitor experience will open its doors to the public on 2nd June. It is expected that visitor numbers will double in the first year and continue to rise thereafter.
The new distillery will enable production of The Macallan to increase by a third if required. The new stills were crafted by Scottish coppersmiths Forsyths, who have been making the brand’s distinctive, ‘curiously small’ stills for The Macallan since the 1950s.
Elgin-based Robertson Construction has delivered the complex architectural design, working with 25 contractors to bring the vision for the new distillery and visitor experience to life. During construction, up to 400 people specialising in more than 20 different trades were employed on site.
The striking piece of contemporary architecture is cut into the slope of the land, taking its cues from ancient Scottish hills and maximising the aesthetic beauty of the building whilst minimising the visual impact on the Speyside landscape, which has been classified as an ‘Area of Great Landscape Value’.
The undulating timber roof structure is one of the most complicated timber roof structures in the world, comprising 380,000 individual components.
Ian Curle, Chief Executive, Edrington, said: “This is an exciting occasion for Edrington and The Macallan. The unsurpassed quality of The Macallan is in high demand and we face the future confidently with this new distillery. It’s an authentic, abiding, ambitious investment that will match consumer expectations for generations to come.
When the doors open in June, we expect this new Macallan enterprise to deliver significant benefits for the tourism industry, Scotch whisky exports, and the economy.”
Ken Grier, Creative Director, The Macallan, said: “As The Macallan has grown globally it has been very important that we make sure we can sustain demand for this wonderful amber liquid. We’ve taken exceptional care in making sure that the spirit that is produced in the new distillery is identical to the spirit that we produced in our previous distillery. This is the beginning of a really exciting new chapter in the evolution of this wonderful brand that is The Macallan.”
Graham Stirk, Senior Partner and Lead Architect, Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners commented: “The Macallan estate truly is a special place; a place we have come to love and respect hugely. The vision was always ambitious but this enabled us to challenge our own thinking to create something so dramatic and awe-inspiring. It has been an honour to play our part in shaping the next chapter for The Macallan.”
For further information visit www.themacallan.com
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