Tempest in a (tea) pot (still).

According to a story in yesterday’s Telegraph US urged to boycott Scottish products after Lockerbie bomber’s release there is a movement afoot to “boycott Scottish Goods”

“US citizens are being urged to stop buying items ranging from Scotch whisky to kilts and petrol sold at BP-owned outlets as well as to cancel planned holidays in Britain to register their protest.”

I must point-out the obvious – that BP is based in London – a city which is NOT part of the Scottish empire. Yet.

While the large global Haggis conglomerates are worried, the Scotch companies aren’t phased at all.

And they shouldn’t be. I haven’t heard ANYTHING about this boycott movement – until I read it in a UK newspaper.

Is this a manufactured story? They point to an obviously amateur single page web-site called BoycottScotland <http://www.boycottscotland.com/>.

And best I can tell, THAT domain is registered out of Canada – So maybe this is simply ANOTHER Canadian plot to drive a wedge between the UK and the US.

I’m pissed about the guy being released, but i don’t see the usefulness of calling for a boycott – and have no expectation that this one will in anyway be even remotely successful. But it’s obviously a slow newsday around the world with the pick-up rate of the story  – but no evidence of any impact of this boycott.

Disclosure: I went to Syracuse University and had friends and acquaintances who died in that bombing – including a good friend from High School, Denice O’Neil.

Much Needed Humour Injection

I get a lot of emails from folks starting the “next big blog” – and I generally ignore them.

Today I received this email:

We have started a blog called “The Malt Impostor”, and our goal is to provide humorous alternative tasting notes for single malt scotch (and perhaps later, other malted beverages). We’re not in the business of doing real tasting notes–we’re just having fun riffing on some of the more pretentious notes we’ve seen out there.

We have a handful of posts, all of scotch in miniature “airline” bottles, and we’ll be posting more notes regularly.  We’d love it if you’d come and take a look.

I took a look and I liked what I saw. Funny and indeed poking fun of the growing number of sites popping up and offering up their pretentious notes.

Take a look. Let’s hope these guys stick with it…because the Whisky world needs a lot more fun and a lot less pretension.


File under: Believe it when you see it

According to a story in The Shetland Times “PLANS for a whisky distillery on Shetland are still on track, according to the woman behind the venture.”

Speaking yesterday from the mainland, Caroline Whitfield said that the old company Blackwood Distillers was being wound up after the investors had transferred their shares into a new business Catfirth Ltd.

Later in that story…

However the reorganisation means that the idea of a Shetland distillery is back on track, she said, while refusing to give any indication of when the first sod might be dug on site.

Anyone holding their breath?
Read the story here

'Allo Guv'nor

Here’s an ad you’re not likely to see anywhere else – as it was turned down by an unnamed financial periodical.

Have you NO sense of humor?

Your Dad was not a fag. But apparently you are.

Canadian_club_your_mom Canadian Club, a product of Beam Global Spirits* is about to roll out a new ad campaign.

The concept of the campaign? Your Dad was much cooler than you are.

Yep that’s right – they are saying it’s cool to drink whisky BECAUSE your dad drank it, not despite it.

They are also saying that your Dad was probably more of a man than you are.

According to the press release:

The thought-provoking campaign challenges consumers to embrace their dads classic masculinity, most visibly expressed through their choice to drink Canadian Club whisky cocktails. In launching Damn Right, CC invited Beam Global employees to search through their photo albums to submit images that epitomize the campaign.

Eh. I’m not buying it.

The message I get from the attached ad? Your Mom likely wasn’t your Dad’s last either. <click on the picture to read the ad>

Some of the headlines created for the ads (seriously):

"Damn Right Your Dad Drank It"
"Your Dad Was Not a Metrosexual"
“Your Mom Wasn’t Your Dad’s First”
"Your Dad Never Got a Pedicure."

I always try to be helpful, so I thought I’d offer up some more "Dad was awesome" ideas for future ads:

For the "Dad was tougher than you" ad placement

  • Damn right your Dad never wore a seat-belt.
  • Your Dad was twice the man you’ll ever be.
  • When your Dad was your age a DUI was expected.

For the "Dad was a sex machine" ad placement

  • Your Dad didn’t use condoms when he was in Saigon.
  • Before Paternity Tests.
  • Damn right your Dad was getting more than you – DESPITE the leisure suit and side burns.
  • Ah, the days when STDs could be cured with penicillin.

For the "Things were just plain better back then" ad placement

  • When men were men and cars got 3 miles per gallon.
  • You Dad never picked up maxi-pads on his way back from picking the kids up from Soccer*
    • *And your Dad never picked the kids up from Soccer
  • Your Dad never had to cuddle.

For the "Misogynist" ad placement

  • Daddy only hit Mommy because he loved her.
  • Dad didn’t call it "Date Rape" it was just a "Date".

Ad sites like Adrants are loving the campaign:

Are we seeing a full-on return to the glory days of the hard liquor
cocktail when beer was for factory workers and wine was for sissies?
Can we now go back to the three martini lunch, pinch asses in the
afternoon and have three more martinis at night while watching Mad Men?  We might not get any work done but it sure sounds like fun.

Adrants also reports that the campaign was created by BBDO and ads will appear in Rolling Stone, Sports Illustrated, Sporting News, with additional placements in Playboy, Men’s Journal, Esquire, Outside and Men’s Fitness in December and into 2008.

Well it IS a different approach.

* Disclosure: I am a shareholder in Fortune Brands, parent company of Beam Global

Change is Good

A quick follow-up look at Blackwood Distillers web site shows that the children have been taken off; Riannon has been dumped, and the reference to bond sales and whisky in 2006 is gone.

Being the modest chap that he is, Ian Buxton likely won’t want to take credit for this; but these stories certainly had something to do with it, no?

The Scotch Blog
What’s the deal with Blackwood?
Ian And Blackwood (Part Deux) and the silliness of self-proclamations

Whisky Rumour Mill

The power of the (electronic) press :)

Ian And Blackwood (Part Deux) and the silliness of self-proclamations

Ian Buxton once again unleashes the fury at Blackwood distillers. This time the fury appears on the "Rumour Mill" portion of the Scottish Field Whisky Challenge.

Ian takes aim at one of the members of the Blackwood team and their dubious assertions:

Here is an excerpt:

But what caught my eye this time, under the heading “The team”, wasn’t the tiny tots but the redoubtable Ms. Riannon Walsh, described as “Non Exec” and the “USA’s leading whisky expert”.

Now leave aside what Paul Pacult, John Hansell or a number of luminaries would make of that assertion and consider Ms Walsh’s own claims to fame.  Her own website describes her as author of “Whisky Dreams: A Culinary Journey Through the World of Single Malt Whiskies” and President of Cloonaughill Distillers Ltd. of Ireland.  Impressive credentials, indeed.

But sadly for such an enticing title, Whisky Dreams does not appear on either of Amazon’s US or UK sites . . .

You really want to read the rest of this . . . Read the full piece here.

What strikes me is why someone would want to make a claim that is A. disputable; B. disprovable, and C. nonsensical.

It brings to mind the angst of the Steve Carell character in "Little Miss Sunshine" over whether he, or his rival was "America’s Leading Proust Scholar".

Who gives a shit?


Even were we to ignore the fact that this is a self-proclaimed title, and consider for a moment that such a title should be granted by people who live outside of your house, by what measurement would the title "leading" be granted?

Amount of published written material on the subject? Respect of Peers? Number of Books sold? Industry Awards and accolades? Respect and admiration from the general public? Runs Batted In (RBI)? Height? Enemy Fighters shot down over the South Pacific?

Can Riannon lay claim to "leading" by any of those measures?

Continue Reading >>

is this bartending?

Don’t ask me how I come across this stuff.

This video came up in a search with the description:

At DrinksTv.com vote JC as Best Bartender in South Florida.
Rate more hot bartenders on personality, cocktail, & looks at

Macallan Rocks

While this is a very complicated drink, I wondered if "JC" was a one-hit wonder.

Nope. He amazed me with this Scotch drink as well:

Glenlivet Rocks

How could you NOT vote for this guy????


New graphic?

You may have noticed that the old The Scotch Blog graphic was reminiscent of a Balvenie label. It had always been my plan to occasionally swap out the graphic with other whisky labels. This weekend was the first chance I actually set aside some time to get around to it.

There’s a story that goes along with the new graphic.

A few months ago, I told John Glaser (Compass Box Whisky) that he should name his next whisky "Coelacanth".

"Why?" said John.

"Because" I told him "Most people can’t pronounce the name of your whiskies as it is – and this would just fit in."

What did I mean by that?

  • Eleuthera (pronounced Eh-loo-thuh-rah)
  • Asyla (It’s Uh-sy-lah, though I’ve heard it called Ah-see-la)
  • Hedonism The word is pronounced He-donism [with a long ‘e’], though I’ve heard some people pronounce it Head-onism)
  • Orangerie (Is it pronounced with a faux french accent as Au-ron-ger-ee or the more straight-forward Orange-er-ie?)

While I don’t think John will ever use the name Coelacanth for one of his whiskies, if he does you’ll know where the idea came from :). In the meantime, I mocked up what I thought a Coelacanth whisky label by Compass Box might look like. And that’s the story.

By the way, a Coelacanth (pronounced "see-lah-canth") is a species of fish believed to have been extinct since the end of the Cretaceous period — until a live specimen turned up off
the east coast of South Africa in 1938. Today they can be found in the Comoros, Sulawesi (Indonesia), Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique, Madagascar and the St. Lucia Marine Protected Area in South Africa.

Getting a free year’s worth

A few months back, I told you that the majority of available Bruichladdich 10 year old is actually 12 years old.

Well, it turns out that Macallan 17 year old Fine Oak is actually an 18 year old. Rumor has it that it was believed that having two 18 year olds old on the market might cause some confusion. Calling it a 17 year old apparently alleviates the fear of confusion. I should also note that in Europe, it is marketed as an 18 year old.


Another Malt Whisky t-shirt siting

Laager and Limehouse, is an online comic book. The characters in the comic book are usually rendered wearing t-shirts gathered from around the Internet.

It was pointed out to me that in one issue Bell, one of the main characters, was "wearing" one of the sold-out "Malt Whisky" t-shirts which I had produced to promote The Scotch Blog. The author of the comic sent me this "photo" of Bell.

Mine, All Mine

On Friday June 22, 2006 Bruichladdich released the following press release

Mined over Matter

The Royal Navy’s bomb disposal team have delivered a mine to a west coast distillery.

Some months ago Lieutenant Commander John Law and his elite Northern Diving Group were called out to deal with the small matter of a World War II mine found on a beach close to Bruichladdich distillery on the Isle of   Islay.

Once the mine had been safely detonated, the team was invited by Bruichladdich Distillery Manager Duncan MacGillivray, a member of the Coastguard team in attendance, for a dram to ‘steady the nerves’. 

“After the CIA, the Yellow Submarine – the Bomb Squad turning up at the distillery was all we needed”  recalls Managing Director Mark Reynier, on seeing the Bomb Disposal convoy pull in to the  courtyard.

“When I realised there was no danger of imminent disaster, I asked if we could have our very own mine in the distillery’s courtyard  for fundraising –  and the Northern Diving Group were only too happy to help us out.”

The giant Mk 17 World War II buoyant mine – provided by the mine team at the Defence Munitions Centre in Crombie – stands more than six feet tall including it’s sinker, weighs one tonne and is topped with some rather noticeable orange paint – making it really stand out from the crowd.

It has a collection box attached to the front to raise money for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution – a charity at the heart of the community of Islay, which is home to one of the west coast’s largest and busiest lifeboats.

Lieutenant Commander John  Law, Warrant Officer Steve Strange and Australian Navy exchange diver Brad Eames attended the Bruichladdich Open Day during the 2006 Islay festival to deliver and formally present  the mine.

“It’s actually great to be able to do something like this,” said John. “The RNLI is a most worthwhile cause, with its volunteer men and women risking their lives at sea around our coasts.

“The Northern Diving Group has been delighted to supply this mine which will hopefully raise loads of cash for the charity. We were made to feel incredibly welcome and will, no doubt, pop in next time we’re over on an emergency call out.”

Last year the distillery had a run-in with the Ministry of Defence over a special bottling “Bruichladdich’s Yellow Submarine”, an on-going reminder of the embarrassing incident concerning the loss of a mine-clearing submarine.

Some claim this mine, donated by the M.O.D, may not be disarmed after all…

Interestingly, I was at Bruichladdich when the mine was delivered (the day before Bruichladdich day) – I got to enjoy a celebratory dram with Mark Reynier, Simon Coughlin, Jim McEwan, Andrew Gray and the members of the bomb squad. I was also the first person to use the mine to make a donation to the RNLI. Pictures below.