More fall-out from WTO "agreement"

Imported liquor to cost more
The Times of India
11 Jun 2009, 2318 hrs IST, Abantika Ghosh, TNN

NEW DELHI: Your taste for fine wines and single malt whiskies just got a lot more expensive. Prices of imported liquor are set to go up by 25% to 30% with the Delhi government notifying its new duty structure for imported liquor last week. This will now replace the additional customs duty that was withdrawn by the Centre in July 2007 in keeping with WTO norms.

As per the new structure, there will now be a revised vend fee which will be 30% of the MRP for brands costing up to Rs 2,000 per bottle. For more expensive brands, it will be Rs 600 plus 20% of the MRP. There is, however, a sliver of good news brands that cost Rs 1,000 per bottle or less may see a minor reduction of MRP.

As per the revised structure, here’s a rough estimate in terms of absolute prices. A bottle of Jim Beam Bourbon Black which earlier was priced at Rs 2,200 will now come for Rs 2,540. Remy Martin Cognac is up from Rs 4,540 to Rs 5,348, Asahi beer will register a small hike of Rs 6 to now cost Rs 126, Dom Perignon Champagne will now cost Rs 14,210 as against Rs 11,800 earlier and a bottle of Glenfiddich 40-year-old Single malt Scotch whisky will cost Rs 3,66,140 against Rs 3,05,200 earlier.

read the whole article

Letter from Springbank

Here is a little news from Frank MacHardy (Director of Production) on the current status at Springbank Distillery.

It is now nearly six months since we took the difficult decision to temporarily suspend  the production of spirit from both  Springbank and Glengyle Distilleries. There were a few contributing factors which led to our decision and these included the high price of electricity, oil, empty casks and barley. The Still House roof also required replacing and this has now been completed. Our warehouses were pretty full of maturing stock but with bottling continuing to fulfil demand world wide for our products more warehouse space is now available. Six months ago we said that  “ the material market will be kept under continuous review “ and we can now clarify that we will commence production from both of our distilleries during early 2009.

The price of utilities has dropped dramatically recently and we will take advantage of this to get the distilleries producing again. J & A Mitchell have recently been reported by one whisky writer to be like “the canary in the coal mine”. If you remember coal miners used to use a canary as an early warning system to detect gas at the coal face. We reckon that we have recognised the warning signals early enough and acted sensibly to protect our brands, and of course the canary. After 180 + years in distilling we think that we know how to react to trends within our industry.

This year we commissioned local farmer Robert Miller to grow 25 acres of Optic barley. The crop has produced 50 tonnes of barley which now lies in our barley loft and we await the barley to come out of dormancy . Distillery Manager Stuart Robertson is carrying out weekly “mini steeps” of the barley in small plastic food containers, they actually look suspiciously like his sandwich box. Once the barley “wakes up” and can germinate we will start malting. The local barley supplemented with malted barley already stored in our malt storage bins will ensure production of spirit at both our distilleries for up to six months next year, great news.

F. McH.

Last Day to sign up for the Free Books Drawing

The title says it all…

You have until 11:59 pm (EST) to email your interest. Sorry. If you indicated interest in the Comments, you are not eligible.

(People have to learn to read :))

Ulf Buxrud's Japanese Whisky

Andrew Webb, in the comments of another story, asked about the availability of Ulf Buxrud’s new book.

I have a copy and will review shortly, but here is a message from Ulf on the best place to buy…

The book has been out for a while. Latest public presentation occurred at the Stockholm Whisky Trade Show and Paris Whisky Live.

Sukhinder (Whisky Exchange) is adding the book to his web page for book orders. It took a bit longer than expected. Should be up next week.

For order via Amazon;  go to  NOT I repeat NOT or other local Amazon pages. The price is US dollars 60.


Charles MacLean responds on

Rob Draper of just emailed to let me know that they’ll have an interview with the Scotch Whisky Association’s David Williamson on the Whyte and Mackay Purchase and Charlie MacLean clarifies the Indian Newspaper Story later this evening.

Unfortunately, I can’t see it on my Mac:)

Columba Cream Responds


Unless something REALLY big pops up, this will be the only story this week.

A few months (September 6th) ago, I did one of my news wrap-up stories (Whisky Season = News Stories) which included a short clip on how Columba Cream was having issues with its plans to take on Diageo’s

That story was a summary of a story from The Scotsman called Columba Cream Plan Hits The Rocks.

I just received a response from Jamie Morrison of the Scottish Liqueur Centre, who took some issues with my story and attempted to clarify some statements. It’s great to get more information and I thank Jamie for writing me.

Below is his email, my response to some of his comments as well as the text of the original story.

Continue Reading >>

Bottling of Blends outside of Scotland

Last Monday we asked Glen Barclay, Director of Legal Affairs for the Scotch Whisky Association about the legality of bottling Single Malt Scotch outside of Scotland – this led to a discussion about bottling Scotch blends outside of Scotland.

David Williamson, Director of Public Affairs, responds:

Hi Kevin,

Many thanks for your recent question asking why Scotch Whisky can be bottled outside Scotland.

As you are aware, there has never been a requirement in the legal definition of Scotch Whisky for it to be bottled only in Scotland. As Scotch Whisky has grown in popularity around the world over the last century, we have therefore seen Scotch Whisky, principally Blended Scotch Whisky, shipped for local bottling in certain export markets.

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Too many Bruichladdich editions?

Blbottles_1Mark Reynier of Bruichladdich took some time to expand on and respond to the issues I raised in the recent story "The Laddie" – specifically the discussion of whether or not there are simply too many Bruichladdichs in the market.

As always, Mark is blunt and to the point.

Read on…

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Robbo – Confirmed at W&M

On August 2nd I was the first to announce that Dave Robertson was leaving JMR.

On August 5th I let you all know that Dave was going to Whyte & Mackay to run the innovations group.

Today Whyte & Mackay finally got around to telling you what I told you over 5 weeks ago:

UK: W&M appoints Easy Whisky’s ‘Robbo’
11 September 2006 Source: editorial team

Whyte & Mackay has appointed one of the founders of the Easy Whisky
Drinking Co. to drive innovation at the UK spirits distiller.

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UPDATE: Sherry; "Spanish Oak" – which is it?

On Monday I had a story about the effects of sherrry vs. Spanisk oak on sherried single malts.
The story resulted in a great comment from wine & sherry expert Beau Jarvis of Basic Juice.

Caspar MacRae, of The Macallan responds:

Hello Kevin,

Great – this is the sort of question that those of us involved with The Macallan can really get our teeth into!

Beau is largely right. The vast majority of sherry matured in the
soleras of Jerez is matured in American Oak (Quercus alba) sherry
butts. The oak is imported from the States prior to coopering and
creating the large Bota Jerzana’s sherry butts. A producer like
Gonzales Byass will have in excess of 150,000 butts, of which the
majority will be American oak.

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