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.

A hot naked girl & The Macallan…about damned time.

I like women. The prettier and more naked, the more I like ‘em. I know, CRAZY!

The Macallan has realized that a guy who likes naked chicks AND whisky is a vastly under-marketed segment. They’ve sought to close this segmentation gap by releasing a limited edition whisky with labels that have naked women.


But since they’ve decided to use a famous photographer and it is “art” it likely skirts the SWA code of conduct which demands an adherence to “generally accepted standards of good taste and should not suggest that drinking Scotch Whisky enhances sexual capabilities, attractiveness, masculinity or femininity.”

From the Press Release:

The Macallan single malt Scotch whisky is today (Thursday 13 November 2008) unveiling an ambitious £1.3 million limited edition bottling produced in association with world famous, Scots born photographer Rankin.

Returning to his homeland, Paisley-born Rankin, best known for his fashion photography and portraits of everyone from The Queen to Madonna, was invited to The Macallan’s Speyside estate to interpret the iconic whisky brand through his camera lens. The result is a series of 1,000 stunning black and white images, captured on Polaroid film. Each limited edition bottle of rare 30 year old Macallan Fine Oak single malt displays a bespoke label featuring one of the Rankin images, accompanied by the original Polaroid.  This collection of 1,000 unique, individual works of art is a world first and will be sold by luxury retailers worldwide.

The unique bottle comes presented in a black leather box, lined with velvet and containing an original Rankin Polaroid. Each bottle will have an individually printed label which matches the specific Polaroid contained within the box and a booklet of authenticity signed by Rankin.

The array of images captured by Rankin is breathtaking, depicting a range of locations around The Macallan estate, including Easter Elchies House, the distillery, dedicated craftspeople and still life images of the surrounding flora and fauna.  Many of the images are further enhanced with artistic nude studies, featuring Tuuli, Rankin’s muse.

The Macallan Masters of Photography Fine Oak 30 year old bottles will be available for purchase throughout the world, and will be launched in Russia, Singapore, Korea and the USA over the next few months.  In the UK, The Macallan Masters of Photography Rankin Edition can be purchased exclusively at luxury retailers for £899 (RRP).

The Macallan Masters of Photography will be unveiled this evening at a launch party in London.  An exhibition of the images featured on the limited edition bottles will be on show from 10am – 6pm, Friday 14 to Sunday 16 November, at the Huntingdon Project Space, 28 Redchurch Street, London E2 7DP.

You can see a video of the photoshoot, and more importantly a good number of booby shots, at www.themastersofphotography.com.

I think £1.3 million could have been better spent promoting Macallan Amber than on this.

The Whisky Picnic follow-up

By all accounts, the whisky picnic was a great success, with around 90 attendees.

Not only am I going next year, I may see if I can help organize one (or a few) over here in the States.

Nick Ravenhall, organizer, tells me:

From concept to reality… the millenium’s inaugral Whisky Picnic was realised on Sunday. With over 100 guests finding their way to the bar at Bon Vivant, Edinburgh… this stunning new cocktail hangout was packed with attendees for the Whisky Picnic. Dressed head to toe in tweed to a man or woman (expcept for one very well dressed ‘Johnnie Walker’) the bar was dazzled with cheesecutters, flat caps, plus fours and tweed coats of many shapes, styles and colours. A huge array of outfits was only matched by the multitude of whisky cocktails shaken, strained and stirred by some of Scotland’s finest young bartending talent. All in all our goals of throwing a huge party that showcased whisky in all its guises but primarily as a cocktail ingredient was a huge success with guests sipping, supping and imbibibing delcious whisky concoctions until the wee hours of Monday morning. It made me really proud to see young bar guys and glas putting their heart in soul into great tasting whisky drinks and then listening to the reactions from people who generally written off whisky as part of their drinking repertoire… I hope this
event serves to drive not only whisky awareness but also engages those who attended in a very special way that they may connect whisky with good times, good people and good fun.


And here are some of the Whisky Cocktails that the bartenders created for the event:

Dip Sheep by Fabio Santucci @ Dragonfly

50ml Sheep Dip Vatted Malt
25ml Marsala
2 barspoons amarena syrup
dash orange bitters
Stir and spray with orange zest garnish with an orange twist

Millini by Darren Rook @ Scotch Malt Whisky Society

Description: An olive of bushmills served on a bed of chilled white

peppered peach purée. Then accompanied with a butterscotch and almond
foam and garnished with a mint sprig

Approx. 25ml Bushmills
sodium Alginate
Sodium citrate
Calcium Chloride

Puree: (approx. 4 servings per peach)
White or yellow peaches
approx. 1/8 tea spoon
12.5ml gomme (depends on peaches)

300g butterscotch
10ml almond extract
25ml Amaretto
1 gelatin sheet – approx.
soda syphon etc…

Jog On by Metinee Kongsrivilai @ Dragonfly

50ml Johnnie Walker Black
20ml Home Jasmine Infused Syrup
1 – 2 mangosteen fruit muddled with two wedges of lime
Shake and double strain into a martini glass
Garnish with a jasmine flower

Auch Nuts by Ryan Chetiyawardana @ Bramble

35ml Auchentoshan 12 year
25ml Apple Juice
20ml Lemon Juice
5ml Xante
15ml Roasted Nut and Rosemary Gomme
Dash of Old Fashioned bitters
Egg White
Serve straight up

Takeshi Collins by Jeremy Blackmore @ Voodoo Rooms

30ml Yamazaki
20ml lemon juice
Barspoon homemade naski pear and sage jam
dash lemon bitters
shake strain top with lapsang souchong soda

Dandy’s Assassin by Adam Trussell @ Voodoo Rooms

37.5 ml of Bulleit Bourbon
12.5 ml of Aperol
25 ml of Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice
25 ml of Chamomile and Cognac Syrup
Dash of Pistachio Steeped Angostura Bitters