anCnoc Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky has today (15th January) announced the latest hand selected addition to its exceptional portfolio, the limited edition 1999 Vintage. Only 750 cases of this rare single malt will be available in the UK, Russia, Germany and Taiwan from January 2013 with a retail price of £49.99 per bottle.
The whisky, which has been matured in American bourbon and Spanish sherry oak casks at Knockdhu Distillery in Knock, Banffshire, has been bottled in its most natural form – neither chill-filtered nor coloured at 46% ABV. The exclusive liquid is amber in colour with a slight golden hue. It is an aromatic expression which is sweet to start with a touch of fruitiness and a long, smooth finish.
In true anCnoc style, the striking white and red colouring of the packaging mirrors the minimalist design of anCnoc’s core range and features an intricate illustration of the enchanting Knockdhu Distillery on the bottle and tube.
anCnoc, which is part of the Inver House Distillers portfolio, is a brand closely associated with the arts, having released a series of limited edition expressions in the past few years designed by the acclaimed Scottish illustrator Peter Arkle. It’s renowned the world over by malt enthusiasts for bringing a contemporary twist to the traditions of fine malt whisky, producing a single malt that is accessible and versatile for all occasions.
anCnoc Brand Manager, Gillian Gibson commented: ‘Releasing our 1999 Vintage marks the first in a series of fresh and exciting developments for anCnoc in 2014 which are sure to intrigue and delight fans of our range. This very special expression, with its distinctive characteristics, will undoubtedly be a welcome addition to anCnoc collections.’
WITH Scotch whisky maintaining its trajectory for world domination, it is no surprise to hear a tourism attraction dedicated to Scotland's national drink is thriving in Edinburgh.
The Scotch Whisky Experience, in the midst of celebrating its 25th anniversary, welcomes visitors from an increasingly broad geographical base, its growth reflecting the soaring performance of whisky in established and emerging markets around the globe.
The attraction on Castlehill, near the top of the Royal Mile, now cites China and Brazil as two its top five markets for visitors, though it reports that enthusiasts are steadily coming from former Soviet republics such as Kazakhstan, as well as Africa and elsewhere in South America.
Julie Trevisan-Hunter, its deputy director and marketing manager, said almost every week a foreign film crew or journalist arrives to file a dispatch from the home of the "water of life".
This is partly because the Experience now houses the world's biggest collection of Scotch whisky, but also because it is arguably a more accessible venue than distilleries, where health and safety factors often come into play.
Yet although emerging markets are increasingly key to the Experience, the English market continues to be its biggest, accounting for between 16% and 18% of its visitors.
Ms Trevisan-Hunter said: "This will be our biggest year ever.
"Everyone looks back at '95, '96 as the year of Braveheart and Rob Roy and talks about [the period] up to '98 as being the boom years of Scottish tourism. But we have seen growth in the last four years, which maybe sits against a lot of other things in terms of spend within the UK and other sectors.
"We have seen really significant growth in visitor numbers and income and profitability in the last four years, far more than in the past."
The export performance of Scotch whisky has undoubtedly helped drive visitors to the attraction, which reported pre-tax profits of £504,357 in its most recent accounts, but it is only part of the story.
The Experience, which enjoys a five-star rating from VisitScotland, raised £3 million to fund a major refurbishment in 2009, an investment that saw it revamp its whisky tours.
Ms Trevisan-Hunter said it made such an impact the business has since been able to invest in other aspects of the attraction. The shop was then refurbished, during the financial year to November 30, 2012, to incorporate some of the tour's interactive features, while its tasting bar and restaurant were renovated last year.
Although the Experience was set up with industry funding and continues to be owned by 22 shareholders across the sector, it functions as an independent, standalone commercial entity.
Ms Trevisan-Hunter said: "That [initial investment] was the thing that had the biggest impact in terms of visitor numbers and profitability.
"We have had quite a number of different events because it is our 25th anniversary and everybody who comes in says it is unrecognisable as an experience and a business from what it was - even six or seven years ago and certainly from way back 25 years ago."
Other touches, such as teaching its courses in Mandarin, have further boosted the centre's global appeal.
Ms Trevisan-Hunter said the Experience has benefited as Scotland has come on to the radar of tourists from emerging markets, people who now have the resources to travel and are developing an appreciation of Scotch as a luxury product.
She explained: "Scotland has a lot of kudos and desirability to visit. We do very well in these emerging markets. China and Brazil, for example, are in our top five international markets, whereas five years ago they wouldn't have featured anywhere."
The rise in overseas visitors has fed through to the numbers attending the centre's one-day course, which presents the opportunity to gain a certificate of expertise in Scotch whisky.
While staff from licensed premises around Scotland dominated course places in the early days, Ms Trevisan-Hunter noted it was now attracting delegates from Canada and the Nordic countries.
Many make the Experience their first port of call when they visit Scotland, equipping themselves with some whisky know-how before going on to visit distilleries around the country.
They are also buying whisky from the centre's revamped shop, which Ms Trevisan-Hunter notes is selling increasing amounts of luxury products.
She said sales have risen by 25% each year since the shop's refurbishment took place, with aged and luxury whiskies selling increasingly well.
Ms Trevisan-Hunter said: "It's up in a lot of higher-end products, which is interesting. More so than we have ever seen before.
"The whole point with the shop was to make it more experiential, with things people can engage in, find out more about the distilleries and look at flavour profiles so it has a feel of the experience within the shop. We have put as much as we can in there to bring everything to life, predominantly for the visitors that might not do for the attraction."
Meanwhile, as Scotland prepares itself for the events of this year, when it will finally host the Commonwealth Games, Ryder Cup and the tourism industry's year of Homecoming, it might be assumed that it will bring further visitors to the Scotch Whisky Experience.
But while Ms Trevisan-Hunter expects to see some uplift in visitors during Whisky Month in May, an event that will bring the curtain down on the attraction's 25th birthday celebrations, she suspects the full benefits will be realised in the long run. She noted: "A lot of things happen as part of Homecoming that happen in a guise or at a level on an annual basis anyway.
"It is just a really good way of profiling the product and getting a bit of buzz and excitement about it.
"We'd anticipate seeing more people, especially around May, but to be honest one of our issues during the summer months is that we are close to capacity now anyway"
As for her own position, Ms Trevisan-Hunter said she has lost none of her love for the role and an industry that has seen her spend the last 17 years with the Scotch Whisky Experience.
She noted: "Folk that get into whisky don't then get out of it and go and do something different.
"They stay in whisky and they love it. Similarly, people in the tourism industry maybe move up through the ranks, but they stay doing that.
"There's a real sense of community, camaraderie and sharing good practice and just helping one other out in both industries. There is just a really nice feeling about it."
The BenRiach Distillery has produced unique whiskies in the Heart of Speyside since 1898. Now come four new expressions to the U.S. market: The BenRiach Horizons 12 Year Old Triple Distilled, The BenRiach Solstice 2nd Edition 17 Year Old, The BenRiach Septendecim 17 Year Old Peated Single Malt, and The BenRiach Authenticus 25 Year Old Peated Single Malt.
The BenRiach, meaning “The Hill of the Red Deer” in Gaelic, sits amongst the rolling barley fields that rise to the foothills of the Grampian mountains in the northeast Speyside region of Scotland. Acquired in 2004 by Scotch whisky industry veteran Billy Walker, The BenRiach is home to an inventory of casks that date back to 1966. Employing copper stills and using local Scottish barley malt, The BenRiach’s craftsmen strive to blend traditional practices with innovative cask finishes to create whiskies that are unique to the Scotch category.
“I’m amazed at The BenRiach’s ability to respect tradition while embracing innovation through their many whisky expressions, with these new bottlings adding exciting new depth to Anchor Distilling selection of single malts,” says Anchor Distilling Company Director of Education Alan Kropf.
The four new expressions join the 20 currently imported into the U.S.
Here’s a rundown of the four new whiskies:
The BenRiach Horizons 12 Year Old Triple Distilled (50% ABV, SRP $79.99) reflects the distillery’s innovations in whisky production. While most whiskies are traditionally distilled only twice, Horizons is distilled three times before it is aged for 12 years. The resulting spirit features a nose of roasted almonds and Brazil nuts, hot freshly buttered scones topped with clotted cream, and sweet heather honey; on the palate, Horizons has huge nutty characteristics balanced by a slice of sweet, creamy oak and honey.
The BenRiach Solstice 2nd Edition 17 Year Old (50% ABV, SRP $99.99) showcases the distillery’s ability to distill whisky from both styles of malted barley – peated and non-peated – and thereby capture the defining taste and aroma of peat reek. Like the first edition, Solstice 17 Year Old has been distilled from heavily peated malted barley before it is matured in ex-bourbon casks and finished in tawny port casks – resulting in a marriage of peat and fruit. On the nose, this Solstice features an aroma of stewed strawberries, blackberries and red currants, locked together by a muscular peaty blast, lending traces of fortified wine and grape qualities; on the palate, dry roasted nutty notes give way to heavy peat with subtle hints of dried raisins and candied fruit, culminating in a smooth, long finish.
The BenRiach Septendecim 17 Year Old Peated Single Malt (46% ABV, SRP $79.99) is the latest addition to The BenRiach Peated range. It is non chill-filtered and matured in ex-bourbon casks to create a bold and intense expression. On the nose, Septendecim is a robust mix of fresh peaty aromas constructed around a central core of apples and toasted nuts dowsed in wild mountain honey; on the palate, the peaty heart is united with honey-infused raisins, roasted nuts and a luxurious leather impression.
The BenRiach Authenticus 25 Year Old Peated Single Malt (46% ABV, SRP $249.99) completes The BenRiach Peated range in full-bodied, audacious style. On the nose, Authenticus exhibits elegant aromas of ripe pineapple, fresh mountain herbs and a profusion of sweet peat, producing a pungent blast of peat smoke; on the palate, the fusion of rich peat and smoldering embers are bound together by fresh herbs – oregano, aniseed and chicory – concluding with a rush of sweet, wild honey for a powerful, long-lasting impression.
I am delighted to announce that my offical whisky tasting has reached a great 307. Its taken over 8 years to get this far.
To celebrate this i have created a new page on facebook to go along with my own and Whisky Heaven Page.
Just log on to www.facebook.com/ashleyswhiskytastinglist
Here you can see my complete listing of all that i have sampled from either own bottles or various trips.
Keep returnng back to see what is sampled next.
But as always keep it safe and responsible
Whisky Live Dublin 2013, Saturday 5th October
The Mansion House, Dawson Street, Dublin 2
Whether a whiskey enthusiast, newcomer to the world of whiskey, or you’d just like a day out at a fantastic whiskey event, Whisky Live has something to offer everyone. Whisky Live Dublin has two sessions, providing everyone with the opportunity to join the show to suit their diary:
- From 2.00 p.m. to 5.30 p.m. (VIPs and trade may arrive 1 hour earlier)
- From 6.30 p.m. to 10.00 p.m. (VIPs arrive 1 hour earlier)
All tickets include entry to the show, samples of exhibited whiskies, buffet food, the Whisky Live tasting glass, food and whiskey combination samples and the Whisky Live show guide. VIP tickets include all of this PLUS an exclusive VIP Masterclass worth €25, VIP dining, entrance to the VIP Lounge, private VIP pourings, and entrance for your class an hour before the show opens.
Ticket Options and Prices
VIP Afternoon Ticket: 1.00 p.m. to 5.30 p.m.
Entrance to Whisky Live Dublin on Saturday 5th October from 1.00 p m. to 5.30 p.m. Includes an exclusive VIP Masterclass hosted by Rob Allanson, Whisky Magazine Editor and Michael Foggarty, whiskey expert, from 1.00 p.m. – 2.00 p.m. Plus VIP dining, entrance to the VIP Lounge, private VIP pourings, Whisky Live tasting glass and Whisky Live show guide. €69 + booking fee €2.50
VIP Evening Ticket 5.30 p.m. to 10.00 p.m.
Entrance to Whisky Live Dublin on Saturday 5th October from 5.30 p.m. to 10.00 p.m. Includes an exclusive VIP Masterclass hosted by Rob Allanson, Whisky Magazine Editor and Michael Foggarty, whiskey expert, from 5.30 p.m. to 10.00 p.m. Plus VIP dining, entrance to the VIP Lounge, private VIP pourings, Whisky Live tasting glass and Whisky Live show guide. €69 + booking fee €2.50
ALL VIP TICKET HOLDERS MUST ARRIVE FOR THEIR VIP MASTERCLASS AT 1PM FOR THE AFTERNOON SESSION OR 5.30PM FOR THE EVENING SESSION.
Afternoon Ticket 2.00 p.m. to 5.30 p.m.
Entrance to Whisky Live Dublin on Saturday 5th October from 2.00 p.m. to 5.30 p.m. Includes food, samples of exhibited whiskies, a free tasting glass, food and whiskey combination samples and the Whisky Live show guide. €33 + booking fee €2.50
Evening Ticket 6.30 p.m. to 10.00 p.m.
Entrance to Whisky Live Dublin on Saturday 5th October from 6.30 p.m. to 10.00 p.m. Includes food, samples of exhibited whiskies, a free tasting glass, food and whiskey combination samples and the Whisky Live show guide. €33 + booking fee €2.50
Are you in the drinks trade?
The Whisky Live trade ticket is being introduced for the first time at Whisky Live Dublin 2013. Open to bona fide members of the trade (retailers, importers, bartenders, buyers, journalists, bloggers) you can register for this session by submitting by email your name, job title and company name to [email protected] Trade tickets provide entrance to Whisky Live Dublin on Saturday 5th October from 1.00 p.m. to 5.30 p.m. with samples of exhibited whiskies, a free tasting glass, food and whiskey combination samples and the Whisky Live show guide. No food is included.
Friday Trade Ticket 1.00 p.m. to 5.30 p.m.
All ticket grades are subject to group booking discounts of 10% off the total order price for purchases of 10-19 tickets and 20% off the total order price for bookings of 20 or more tickets. Whisky Live Dublin presents the perfect opportunity for a corporate outing and an evening to remember for groups of whiskey enthusiasts and friends.
Not drinking at Whisky Live?
A nominated driver ticket is available. These tickets include entrance to Whisky Live Dublin, 2 soft drinks vouchers, food and the show guide, and do not include a tasting glass or access to whiskey samples. Please email [email protected] for further details.
Whichever ticket you choose, Whisky Live brings the world of whiskey together under one roof. We have expert advice on hand and the opportunity to learn about the whiskey basics as well as delve deeper in to the hearts and minds of those who create the products every day.
Dress code: smart casual; no shorts, ripped jeans or trainers
NEW for 2013
Three lucky ticket holders will receive a Golden Ticket, entitling them to a stunning array of whiskey gifts, visits and experiences to be redeemed after the show.
We have been working hard to find a way to host the popular Masterclasses within the Mansion House – and have found the solution! We will be creating two purpose built rooms in which all the Masterclasses will be held, discreetly located within the Round Room. So no need to leave the building this year, and you won’t miss a moment’s tasting. Tutored by renowned experts in the field and run for 45 minutes, a show entrance ticket must be purchased prior to buying Masterclass tickets. Masterclasses will begin being uploaded from 1st July and are priced at €15 per session.
Key elements at Whisky Live Dublin 2013
The tasting hall is where you can sample whiskey from all around the globe with the emphasis obviously being on Irish whiskey. You will be able to mingle with the producers, distillers, independent bottlers and brand ambassadors. The sheer range of whiskey on show will challenge even the most determined taster; everything from old favourites to unusual finishes and rare bottlings.
Scotch Whisky: From Grain to Glass marks the centenary of the Scotch Whisky Association
An exhibition celebrating the history of Scotch whisky has opened today at the Mitchell Library in Glasgow.
The exhibition, Scotch Whisky: From Grain to Glass, was created last year to mark the centenary of the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA).
The exhibition includes images and artefacts from private collections and Scotch whisky producers, gathered together by the SWA to illustrate whisky's role in Scotland's society and economy, from production to export and marketing.
It also revisits the "What is Whisky?" debate of the early 20th Century which helped to establish the industry in modern times.
Gavin Hewitt, chief executive of the SWA, said: "With more than 60 per cent of Scotch Whisky bottled in the greater Glasgow area, you could call the city one of the spiritual homes of Scotch Whisky.
"For more than 100 years we have been committed to promoting and protecting Scotch Whisky.
“We hope as many people as possible will visit the exhibition to find out more about the heritage of Scotland's national drink.”
The exhibition runs until July 31, 2013.
Coppersmiths say their skills are in demand like never before thanks to the global demand for whisky.
They are responsible for producing the large stills which are crucial for the distillation process.
In the past 12 months a team in Clackmannanshire has worked on around 30 of the copper stills and are recruiting apprentices so as to pass on the craft to a younger generation.
Stills have been made at Abercrombie, Diageo's coppersmith business in Alloa, since the 1790s.
Operations manager Charlie King said: "We are enjoying one of the busiest periods we've ever seen.
"High-quality copper stills produce high-quality whisky and we are very lucky to have a team of highly skilled craftsmen here in Alloa who can produce the best in the business.
"I'm particularly pleased that the growth in the industry is allowing us to take on young people as apprentices and to train them up in this traditional craft."
Abercrombie has just installed new stills at Linkwood and Mannochmore distilleries on Speyside.
It is not just whisky that can be produced in the stills. The company has an order to craft a model for the production of the Turkish anise-flavoured spirit raki.
Mr King said: "Our colleagues in Turkey recognise the tradition of skill and craftsmanship we've built over the generations in the Scotch industry and they want to draw on that.
"We hope that global interest in our craft will create new opportunities to bring more investment and jobs in the future."
Members of the public will be able to witness the magic of Scotland’s tallest stills in action when Glenmorangie’s distillery in Tain puts on a special Open Weekend on June 15 and 16.
The weekend-long programme of free tours, tastings and events will lift the lid on the production process behind Scotland’s favourite single malt.
Visitors will be able to meet and talk with the Men of Tain – the select group of craftsmen who are entrusted with the secrets of the Glenmorangie Distillery. Their dedication and skill has been handed down from generation to generation since the founding of the distillery in 1843.
They can also see the distillery’s 12 copper-necked stills in operation, the necks of which stand at over 16ft – the same height as a fully grown adult giraffe. This guarantees a smoother finish as only the lightest and purest vapours ascend to the top.
Paul Skipworth, President and Managing Director of The Glenmorangie Company, said: “We’ve been part of the Ross-shire landscape for 170 years when William Matheson first established the distillery. We are delighted to have this Open Weekend and to share some of the secrets that go in to making our famous whisky.
“Glenmorangie is distilled in the tallest malt whisky stills in Scotland, and we’d encourage as many people as possible to experience the special ‘cathedral-like’ atmosphere of this beautiful still house, and the tranquil surroundings of the distillery for themselves.”
As a family-friendly weekend, complementary activities include a barbecue, crêperie, hot chocolate, falconry and performances by the Tain Pipe Band.
Doors open from 10am until 4.30pm on Saturday and Sunday and there are two types of free tours available.
Tour A lasts three hours and starts at 10.15am and 12.30pm. There are only two of this very select type of tour per day. Ten lucky people on each tour will, as well as touring the distillery, also visit the Hilton of Cadboll Stone, Glenmorangie House, Tarlogie Spring and enjoy a very unusual sonic tasting. Those interested must pre-book this tour and places will be allocated on a first-come-first-served basis.
Tour B will take place every half hour from 10am. Booking is advisable but not essential. Visitors will see the mash house, still house, warehousing, and enjoy a whisky tasting and be given a tasting glass to take away as a memento.
Annette Mackenzie, Visitor Centre Manager at the Glenmorangie Distillery, said: “The Glenmorangie success story is as much about people as it is about whisky. We want as many visitors to see first-hand the artistry and dedication of the Men of Tain and what goes in to producing the perfect dram time and again.
“We will also be offering visitors the chance to join in the selection and design of a special, limited edition Glenmorangie through our unique Cask Masters programme, which we launched earlier in the year.”
Members of the public interesting in attending the Open Days should telephone 01862 892477 or email [email protected]
The Glenmorangie Distillery Open Weekend is part of a wider initiative being run by LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, the owners of The Glenmorangie Company. During the course of June 15 to 16, 40 of LVMH’s brands across Europe including Krug, Bulgari and TAG Heuer, will also throw open their doors to the public in a programme called Journées Particulières www.journeesparticulieres.com
Diageo is to increase its Scotch whisky production with a new £50 million distillery in the Scottish Highlands.
The distillery, which will create up to 20 new jobs, will be adjacent to the company's existing distillery in Teaninich, near Alness, but will have its own name and identity.
The company also announced a major new phase of expansion to its Scotch whisky production in the Speyside area. The combined activity is a part of the £1 billion five-year investment plan launched last year.
The new Teaninch distillery will have the capacity to produce around 13 million litres of spirit per annum from 16 copper stills. An on-site bio-energy plant will also be constructed to convert co-products into green energy to power the distillery.
At the same time, Diageo also plans to invest £12 million in expanding the existing Teaninich distillery to almost double its capacity. The single malt whisky produced at the new distillery and at the expanded Teaninich distillery will be used in a range of Diageo's blended Scotch whisky brands.
The spirits giant also announced it will invest around £30 million in new production facilities in Speyside, including a project to substantially increase the capacity of the Mortlach distillery at Dufftown. This will involve the building of a new stillhouse, which will replicate the unusual partial-triple distillation process that Mortlach uses.
Another element of the investment will be the construction of a new plant at Glendullan to process co-products in an anaerobic digestion process, producing bio-gas that will be used to power the Glendullan distillery.
Diageo Scotland managing director Bryan Donaghey, said: "This announcement is a significant milestone in our £1 billion investment programme in Scotland to support the global growth of our Scotch whisky brands."
Chivas Brothers’ longest serving employee Alistair McAllister has retired after 46½ years working for the company in Paisley. Alistair joined Chivas Brothers in the Stock Control department in July 1966, when he was just 17 years old. He later moved to the loading bay area, and eventually to the North Bottling Hall, where he spent the last 25 years working as a Forklift Truck Operator.
Reflecting on his time with the company, Alistair (64) said: “The time has flown by, and so much has changed in the last 46 years. When I started the bottling halls were mostly manual, with the ladies who worked there using small plastic hammers to put the tops on the bottles. Today, with huge advances in modern machinery, production is much faster.
“The area where the North Hall sits was just a field when I started. I remember it being built in the 1980s to keep up with demand. In future I think Chivas Brothers will just get busier and busier. We seem to get more orders than ever, from places like China and Azerbaijan that we never even considered 46 years ago. Scotch whisky has really grown internationally. We’re always developing new luxury products for overseas markets.”
Alistair’s colleagues surprised him with a cake, gifts and special visit by St Mirren FC mascot The Paisley Panda on his last day, which delighted the lifelong Saints supporter.
Despite admitting he’ll miss his team, Alistair says he’s looking forward to his retirement, adding: “I’m going to get a new car, enjoy any sunshine we get this summer, and maybe plan a few holidays to places like Spain and Greece. For now there’s lots to do around the house, and I’m a keen gardener, so I will certainly be keeping busy.”
Notes Chivas Brothers is the Scotch whisky and premium gin business of Pernod Ricard – the world’s co-leader in wine and spirits. Chivas Brothers is the global leader in luxury Scotch whisky and premium gin. Its portfolio includes Chivas Regal, Ballantine’s, Beefeater Gin, The Glenlivet, Royal Salute, Aberlour, Plymouth Gin, Longmorn, Scapa, 100 Pipers, Clan Campbell, Something Special and Passport.
In July 2010 Chivas Brothers launched The Age Matters campaign to help consumers understand the importance of Scotch whisky age statements
Cutty Sark blended Scotch whisky, acquired by Edrington just over three years ago, is launching their first ever seaplane partnership with Loch Lomond Seaplanes - coinciding with the re-introduction of the brand to the UK.
Cutty Sark celebrated its 90th birthday on the 23 March this year and is one of the top 10 Scotch whisky brands in the world.
Inspired and originally named after the world famous Clipper that re-opened recently in London, a ship that was actually built just 10 miles away from the brand’s HQ in nearby Dumbarton (UK).
Everything from the brand is new - from packaging, range, materials and distribution plans through to a truly groundbreaking PR event in London in the autumn.
Edrington has also committed to investing £20m on the brand in the next five years, covering both new and existing markets globally. This increase in investment is forecast to push sales up by nearly 40% across the world in the next five years.
The range is now available in specialist retailers from Edinburgh, Glasgow to London, as well as in some of the finest city bars.
Master blenders from across the globe will meet in Edinburgh next month in search of the year’s top whisky.
The Scotch Whisky Experience in Edinburgh, home to the world’s largest collection at 3,384 bottles, will host the International Spirits Challenge for a second year.
A panel of 10 judges will taste 300 different whiskies over three days from April 22 to 25 at the attraction on the Royal Mile.
Some of Scotland’s most revered whisky experts will be joined by master blenders - the name given to the professional who decides on a whisky’s composition - from a host of other malt-loving nations.
Among those on the panel are Angela D’Orazio from Sweden’s Mackmyra brand, Seiichi Koshimizu from Suntory in Japan and Randy Houston from Triple 8 in the US.
Whiskies are judged across the categories of taste, design, packaging and marketing in the awards, now in their 18th year.
International Spirits Challenge chairman John Ramsay, a former master blender at Famous Grouse producers Edrington, said: “After the success of last year’s event, we are delighted to be bringing the competition back to Edinburgh for a second year.”
Whisky is Scotland’s largest international export and worth £4.2 billion to the economy, according to the Scotch Whisky Association.
The industry is one of few not to feel the pressure of the eurozone crisis thanks to booming demand from emerging markets in Latin America and Asia.
In the year to the end of June 2012, the value of Scotch whisky exports increased by 12%.
While the US remains the biggest buyer, sales to Venezuela leapt 31%.
In 2011 exports to Peru increased by a massive 97% and to Colombia by 74%, the Scotch Whisky Association said.
Brazilians are the fifth most frequent international visitors to the Scotch Whisky Experience after Americans, the French, Germans and Chinese.
In 2009 it took delivery of the record-breaking collection of whisky enthusiast Claive Vidiz from Sao Paulo.
Mr Vidiz spent 35 years scouring the world for rare whiskies including Dimple Pinch, one of the first special editions of a Scotch whisky ever produced.
Bought in 1969 for 1,000 US dollars, it was the most expensive limited edition bottle of Scotch whisky on the market at the time, according to the Scotch Whisky Experience.
Some of the malts date back to the end of the 19th century but among the most popular is a whisky chess set where the black and white figures of English and Scottish monarchs each contain a dram.
The collection was shipped over by drinks giant Diageo, which produces millions of cases of different branded Scotch whisky at its distilleries each year, among them Caol Ila on the isle of Islay and Skye’s Talisker.
Around 90% of the firms whisky produced in Scotland is sold overseas.
I have visited this place on numerous ocassions and not only do they know there stuff, staff are friendly and very accomodating and even if you have no interest in the words best beverage, seeing Mr Vidiz collection is a joy in itself. The collection held in the Whisky experience was given with one major condition that no bottle in the collection was ever to be seperated.
A recent visit to the Celtic Whisky Shop in Dublin had me pick up 2 new bottles for my collection.
The first an old classic in my opinion Bunahaibain 12y single malt. One of my faves from Islay.
The second a Teelings Hybrid Whisky. Yes you heard it a Hybrid Whisky. Combines both irish and scotch malt whiskies. 50% Cooley and 50% Magical Bruichladdich. A snip and €54 and i went straight to Brooks hotel where they had it and i have to admit i was really impressed with it.
ntroducing One of Norse Mythology's Most Treacherous and Mischievous Characters The second release in The Valhalla Collection, a set of four unique whiskies, which take inspiration from the legendary Nordic gods of old, Loki continues the ground-breaking achievement that Thor began; a malt designed around the personality traits of an individual. The Orkney whisky maker has now created a unique flavor profile for Thor's follow up – Loki, a 15 Years Old Single Malt. While unquestionably Highland Park in style, the whisky mirrors the unpredictable, shape-shifting Loki character and as with the trickster god of fire himself, all is not as it seems.
There are classic traces of sweetness and spice, being matured in both traditional Spanish sherry casks as well as heavily peated casks, giving it a smoky punch, while retaining a light color. The finish is intriguing and complex. A chameleon-like whisky, constantly changing from appearance to finish, the expert palates who have savored Loki describe it as, "enigmatic" and "truly another whisky of the gods."
Gerry Tosh , Global Marketing Manager says, "Thor was the first of its kind, a true quality malt built around an individual's personality. This proved massively successful and it sold out globally. Loki will continue to take Highland Park and The Valhalla Collection into new territory.
While everyone will recognize the definite 'Highland Park-ness' of this 15 Years Old Single Malt, it will be the unexpected and surprisingly smoky dynamics that will really get palates excited and mouths talking. This is unlike any expression that has come before and will beguile and fascinate with its complexity and trickery. Remember, all is not as it seems."
Highland Park Loki, a limited edition Single Malt bottled at 48.7% ABV, comes housed in the same unique and award-winning wooden frame as Thor, echoing the fearsome contours of a traditional Viking long ship.
Loki will be available in select whisky retailers, at the Highland Park distillery and on the Highland Park website at a SRP of $249. For more information on Loki and the Valhalla Collection, visit www.highlandpark.co.uk.