The Scotch whisky industry is in some respects quite unique. True, the market is dominated by the big firms, such as Diageo, Pernod-Ricard and Edrington, and their big brands—such as Johnny Walker, Chivas Regal and Famous Grouse—but it is still possible for smaller firms to start up, find a foothold and eventually expand and thrive in a such a competitive environment.
Benromach has long been one of my favourite distilleries and I recently was able to sample three of its single malt expressions—and all three were delectable.
It has always fascinated me that Dundee, a city where whisky consumption has always been pretty high, only ever had one legal distillery, Dudhope, that distilled briefly before and after 1820.
One country that produces plenty of whisky is India. One can assume that during the Raj, when Brits met at their exclusive clubs and ordered whisky—a chota pegg (small), or burra pegg (large)—club staff must have spread the word that this Scotch spirit was good stuff.
The Scotch whisky industry is today not just big but influential and highly respected. That stands in stark contrast to the way it was seen 200 and more years ago. Government laws and taxation had driven almost all legitimate distillers out of business and illicit distilling and smuggling were rampant.
It was D-Day for Dram Day in the East Neuk yesterday as Kingsbarns Distillery formally launched its first expression, appropriately called Dream to Dram.
Whiskies are mostly named after either the distilleries where they were distilled or the company founder, be he Johnny Walker or Jack Daniels.
The whisky industry today is one of Scotland’s most efficient industries. It produces a worldwide-sought spirit and seeks ever-better ways to use its by-products.
In the annals of car-making, Edsel holds a unique place. It was no little operation started in a backstreet workshop by two underfunded petrolheads.
Most of Scotland’s new or craft distilleries distil gin. A few make their spirit from scratch, but many use supplied bulk grain spirit and, through a process of diluting, re-distilling and infusing their own botanicals, create the final product.