More BIG changes at Glenmorangie – Breaking News


Today Glenmorangie announced some changes which equal the scale and scope of their recent repackaging/reformulation.

A two-year plan which includes:

  1. They are moving headquarters to Edinburgh. The existing Broxburn HQ will (apparently) be sold to Diageo. Does the bottling facility go with HQ sale? No word yet.
  2. Glenmorangie (Tain) & Ardbeg (Islay) distilleries will be the recipients of a combined £45 million investment.
  3. They are selling the Elgin-based Glen Moray distillery. Glen Moray is used primarily for Blended Scotch whisky.

This heralds the 2nd step in LVMH’s move away from commodity blended whisky and firmly entrenches them as a premium Single-malt only concern.

More peat! Less Oban? Powered by Aberlour. Better Excuse?

More Peat

The crazy bastards at Bruichladdich are getting ready to fire up the stills for a new expression of yet another heavily peated mash.

This one, to be called Lochindaal (after the large body of water just yards from the front gate – and also one of the names that the now long gone Port Charlotte distillery went by) will be peated to 50 ppm +/-.

That’s a bit higher than the recently released Port Charlotte (40 ppm) and much lower than the yet to be released Octomore (80 ppm +/-).

The first distillation is planned for October 26th 2007 and  the first 100 casks of the distillation will be offered for sale to the public at £1850 a cask.

Less Oban?

A reader wrote to ask about rumors regarding Oban 14 year old being in short supply.

I pinged my contact at Diageo who denied this rumor:

Thanks for your question about Oban. I’ve checked with the brand team and they have confirmed that we will have the same quantity of Oban in the
coming year in the US as we’ve had in the past couple of years.

Subsequently, some non-Diageo sources told me otherwise.

Powered by Aberlour

Apparently Aberlour is the "un-official" favourite whisky of British troops in Iraq.

An Irish soldier, who formerly lived in Elgin, started recommending (and providing) it to his colleagues.

Officially speaking these soldiers aren’t supposed to have whisky whilst "on duty", but whose going to deny them?

Maybe Gordon Brown can make friends among the troops and support Scotland at the same time by air-dropping a couple of casks?

No, I did not get this rumor from Aberlour ;)

Better Excuse (than the last few?)

"The current plan to build a distillery at Catfirth, Nesting, has been delayed because of Blackwood chief executive Caroline Whitfield’s personal circumstances regarding her divorce."

Later in the story…

"The shareholder added that following speculation that Blackwood may go
into liquidation and then reinvent itself, he felt the company would be
unlikely to attract local investors a second time."

Shetland Today (Thanks, Brian M.)

More Highland Park scoop

Yesterday we talked about some information from Edrington (courtesy of John Hansell) about the cancellation of the Highland Park Single Cask program.

Today, I’m the one with the inside information from Highland Park.

I’ve been told that they plan to do a 21-year old specifically for U.S. airport duty free shops. Finally, a reason to put your toiletries in a damned plastic bag.

Also, the 40 year old Highland Park, which you may have heard rumors about, will be out in February 2008.

UPDATE: Although the 40 will be released in February, it’s not due to hit the US until Summer 2008.

What does John know?

If you think I get a lot of inside information, you should meet my friend John Hansell.

Name sound familiar? John publishes a little magazine called Malt Advocate and is behind the Whisky Fest shows (with Amy Westlake, of course).

Yeah, that John Hansell.

John started a new feature on the Malt Advocate site called "What Does John Know", where he is giving me a run for my money breaking new whisky-world news.

Like this recent story where he tells of Highland Park officially announcing the end of their Single Cask bottling program:

just spoke with my contact at Edrington and he told me that the
Highland Park single cask bottling program offered to specialty
retailers and restaurants throughout the United States is being
discontinued, effective April 2008. Yes, now is the time for you to go
out and get a bottle if you want one.

Of course I may have mentioned a rumor of this at some time in the past :)

I have great aspirations to attend both the San Francisco AND New York Whisky Fests, but Fall is a busy time in the world of whisky, and since most of my travel comes out of my own pocket, I have to make sure my travel plans don’t exceed my travel budget.

But you should make every effort to hit these Fall shows.

Breaking News: PC5 comes to America

Port Charlotte’s PC 5 is on the way to the US.

Only 200 cases will be available starting this August, with an SRP of $120 a bottle, and distribution will likely be clustered in Chicago & New York.

When PC 6 makes its appearance, there should be at least twice the number of available cases.

And in a coup, Wyatt-Zier (current Compass Box importers) has landed the importation contract for Port Charlotte whiskies (Bruichladdich whiskies are currently imported by WineBow – who will retain importation rights to that label.)

For more info contact Ken or Ron.

Rumors: Big Changes at Glenmorangie??

Some inside news
for you:
Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton  (LVMH), the France-based owner of Glenmorangie & Ardbeg, are revamping the Glenmorangie label and packaging.

Apparently it will be something "Very French" – despite the "auld alliance" such a move is likely to be upsetting to the people of Scotland – who made Glenmorangie Scotland’s number one single malt.

Even more upsetting (at least to these guys) is that fact that the three "top level" management guys are on the chopping block.

Stay tuned for more.

We scoop everyone. Again.

On May 7th, here on The Scotch Blog, Sam Simmons announced that Edrington would stop selling JMR whisky in the UK markets.

From May 10th’s edition of  "The Herald":

Efforts to rejuvenate whisky are scotched

Meanwhile, JMR Easy Drinking Whisky Company,
founded in 2003, has withdrawn its range of three blended malt whiskies
– the Big Spicy One, The Smokey Peaty One and The Smooth Sweeter One –
from the UK market after disappointing sales.

The company, backed by Edrington, had hoped to "demystify" the world
of Scotch and make the sector more palatable to outsiders. Its three
founders, brothers Jon and Mark Geary and master blender David "Robbo"
Robertson, claimed they had "chucked out the Scotch whisky rule book"
through their quirky and irreverent approach to marketing.

However, the company yesterday (TSB ed. – May 9th) confirmed it has
thrown in the towel in the UK market. Founder director Mark Geary said
it will instead be focusing on the US market.

Yeah, that’s right. You heard it here first on May 7th:).

Continue Reading >>

In the Company of Easy Drinkers: The JMR Eulogy

Today’s guest writer, Sam Simmons first fell in love with the water of life 5 years ago in Edinburgh, Scotland where he ‘researched’ whisky as the poet laureate of the Edinburgh University Water of Life Society and later pursued further ‘research’ as president. He has hosted whisky tastings in many countries, for fun as well as fund-raising (Amnesty International), and continues to act as an amateur whisky educator and propagandist. He currently lives in London where he has worked for Sukhinder Singh and the Whisky Exchange, is desperately trying to finish a PhD on Ezra Pound, fascism, and modernist literary aesthetics, and records his Malt Missions as Dr. Whisky.

In the Company of Easy Drinkers: The JMR Eulogy

When I lived in Ottawa working to earn my Masters degree, I spent one wild night downing glass after glass of Gibson’s Finest with a woman, who I can say without trepidation, was one of Ottawa’s finest. But other than that lovely occasion, my Masters had very little to do with whisky. It wasn’t until I pursued a doctorate in Scotland that whisky really grabbed a hold of me. Masters of drink (and brothers) Jon and Mark Geary, along with Master distiller David Robertson had created a product that was to play a large part in my years in Edinburgh as a Master of Arts, in pursuit of a Doctor of Philosophy.

Sadly, while I still write paragraph after paragraph, edit footnote after footnote, and work to spend more time in libraries than in pubs to finish this dissertation project as old as the Easy Drinking Whisky Company itself, Jon, Mark, and Robbo is calling it quits… at least in the UK.

Yes, you read it here first (just like Kevin’s coverage of the innuendo and rumours in the run-up to the announcement of David Robertson’s move to Whyte & Mackay). If there is one place on-line where it is safe to beat the official presses it is the Scotch Blog. Yeah, I could’ve done it on my blog, but, for starters, my format is a little dry for this venue.

But what if the styles were merged… Malt Mission, history and tasting impressions AS WELL AS straight news with blunt comment… What would it look like?

Continue Reading >>

The Future of JMR…

Dear Kevin:

As Brand Manager for Jon, Mark and Robbo’s Easy Drinking Whisky Company in the US, I’ve been following your entries on Robbo’s whereabouts and the future of The Easy Drinking Whisky Company with interest.

As my colleagues Jon and Mark noted in their press release, we are all sad to see Robbo move on.  He was a driving force behind the brand as well as a true mate.  Nevertheless, from this side of the pond, I’d like to ease any potential speculation about what’s happening with the brand sans Robbo.  Since JMR’s US launch last June 2005, The Easy Drinking Whisky Company continues to enjoy growing success among core whisky consumers and perhaps more importantly, attracting new, vibrant users to the category through our great taste profiles of Smooth Sweeter, Rich Spicy and Smoky Peaty. 

The Edrington Group and Rémy Cointreau USA  as JMR’s exclusive US importer, will continue to drive and support The Easy Drinking Whisky Company just as we do with our dynamic sister brands like The Macallan, Highland Park and The Famous Grouse.  On that note, Mark and I just got together to plan our next wave of attacks, bringing More Malt to the Masses across the USA!

So, to answer your question, what does this mean for the brand?  Only one thing –  more consumers, more markets and triple-digit growth this year!  And as you said, we too think you should pick up a few bottles of our hooch as well!  There’s only more to come….

Cheers and thanks!

Steve Cruty
Brand Manager – The Easy Drinking Whisky Company Ltd.
Rémy Cointreau USA
New York

And more on Dominic's plans…

On July 26th, I wrote that Dominic Roskrow was stepping down as editor of Whisky Magazine.

Here’s more information from Dominic:

I leave here on August 18 and start my own business, True Spirit, on September 4.

I will be staying as consultant editor to Whisky Magazine and Beers of the World and will be writing for both of them and will be involved with events and shows.

I am also launching a whisky tasting and corporate hospitality business and am involved with the opening of a whisky shop in Norwich in association with Ian Bankier of the Whisky Shop chain. I will be using his stock for my events.

I’m also talking to one or two people about ambassadorial work so lots happening!

I’m sure we’ll be hearing a lot more from Dominic.