Today one doesn’t readily associate Angus with whisky production, although five distilleries once operated there — North Port and Glencadam in Brechin, Lochside and Hillside/Glenesk at Montrose and Glencoull near Tannadice. Today only Glencadam survives, part of the thriving Angus-Dundee group. Other bonded warehouses or bottling plants existed in Montrose and Arbroath, but all of them have disappeared.
Among the countless rare malts I enjoyed while browsing around the independently-run Whisky Fair at Limburg were some I hadn’t seen on a Scottish bar shelf for more years than I can count.
Aberdeenshire, and the North-East generally, have lost many distilleries over the decades, but those which have survived are currently thriving. These include Fettercairn, Royal Lochnagar, Glengarioch, Macduff/Glen Deveron, Ardmore, Glendronach, Glenglassaugh and the quaintly-named An Cnoc.
Diageo’s announcement that long-embalmed Port Ellen and Brora distilleries are re-opening is great news. One might ask what took them so long? Both have been shut for decades and, as a result, each new edition of dwindling whisky stocks fetched ever-higher prices.
It has often surprised — and saddened — me to hear so many people, including countless Scots, say they don’t like whisky and would never drink it.
The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) is one of countless trade bodies across the UK that is trying to prepare for the uncertainties of Brexit. Whisky is one of Scotland’s, and Britain’s, most valuable exports, earning more than £4 billion a year overseas and UK sales earning the Treasury zillions from excise duty and VAT.
Two distilleries in the Courier area are undergoing major changes, yet neither is making the kind of headlines one would expect.
What is really special about Lindores Distillery is its location and the site’s history. Although whisky buffs know all about Friar John Cor and his invoice, few people realise just how important the abbey was in its days before the Reformation.
What never fails to amaze me is the enthusiasm for Scotch whisky I see in other countries. Indeed, Scotland sometimes seems to be the one nation that is losing pride and passion for its national drink — whereas, go overseas and in many places Scotchmania rules the roost.
Until quite recent times, Irish whiskies came from just three sources – Midleton in County Cork, Cooley at Dundalk, Co Louth, and good old Bushmills in Co Antrim. All three belong to bigger distilling groups, respectively to Pernod-Ricard, Beam Suntory and Diageo.