Peter Ranscombe raises another irreverent glass to all the latest whisky news from Scotland.
THE Scotch Malt Whisky Society has nearly notched up 40,000 members as it prepares to mark its 40th birthday.
“I started the whole thing for a lark – at the time, most of the Scotch whisky industry was very dull and most of the whisky wasn’t up to much,” explained Pip Hills, the accountant who founded the society in 1983 to focus on single malts from single casks.
“I had had no great liking for whisky, but when I first tried whisky drawn straight from a cask, it was an epiphany – I shared some with my friends and they loved it too, so it seemed like a good idea to share it with more people.”
Andrew Dane, chief executive of Artisanal Spirts Company, which owns the society, added: “They say ‘mighty oaks from little acorns grow’ and that is true of the society’s story – it’s incredible to think that a small gathering of pals sharing single cask whisky in Edinburgh has grown into this worldwide club.”
It’s been a rare quiet week for Scotch whisky hitting the market, following on from the rush for Burns Night.
But Bruichladdich has completed its 13th “Octomore” series with the release of “13.4”, which – as you may have guessed – follows on from “13.1”, “13.2”, and “13.3”.
The latest whisky was made in 2016 using Scottish Concerto barley, which was malted using peat to reach 137.3 parts per million (PPM), before initially spending time in first-fill bourbon casks, before switching to virgin American oak.
Adam Hannett, Bruichladdich’s head distiller, said: “The ‘13.4’ edition once more demonstrates the delicate balance of intense peak smoke with our elegant signature style.”
And finally, Highland skincare firm Zaza & Cruz teamed up with Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen to infuse its beauty products with a by-product from the whisky industry.
“The antioxidants extracted from whisky prove beneficial for skin rejuvenation,” according to the university, which worked with the company’s founder, Rebecca Hastings, and Glen Wyvis distillery.
Hastings added: “From day one, we were excited about the project and of the outcomes we were to find.”
The research – which was inspired by a similar Japanese project in the 1970s that used an extract from the sake yeast fermentation process – was organised by Interface, the body that acts as a match-making service for companies that want to work with Scotland’s universities.
Read more news and reviews on Scottish Field’s food and drink pages, in association with Cask & Still magazine.