Peter Ranscombe takes another look at the world of Scotch whisky.
SPEYBURN distillery is preparing to welcome visitors for the first time in its 125-year history as part of the Spirit of Speyside whisky festival.
Distillery manager Euan Henderson and his assistant, David Rogerson, will lead tours during the festival, which runs from 26 April to 1 May.
“We’re incredibly excited to be celebrating our 125th anniversary this year, and it is truly thrilling to welcome the public into our distillery for the very first time in our history,” said Henderson.
Fun fact: John Hopkins founded Speyburn on a winter’s night in December 1897 because he was determined to distil his first drop of spirit on Queen Victoria’s diamond jubilee – true story.
Sticking with distillery tours, and The Macallan is extending the open hours of its visitors’ centre.
When you spend £140 million building a distillery then you’ve got to get your money’s worth, and so the Speyside behemoth will now open on some weekdays, as well as at weekends.
The visitors’ centre reopens tomorrow following its traditional winter break.
In other Macallan news, owner Edrington has named Alessandro Felicani as marketing director in its global travel retail arm – we used to call that “duty free”, back in the day – and Wilcy Wong as its commercial director, with both based in Singapore.
Ever fancied yourself as a whisky expert?
Then Edinburgh-based Stravaig Spirits might just have the job for you.
Whisky lovers have until midnight to apply to become the firm’s “official taster”.
The winner will receive samples over the next six months and provide feedback, which will help Stravaig to select its bottles for the year ahead.
Wolfcraig Distillers this week announced the death of one of its founding directors, Michael Lunn, a former chairman and chief executive of Whyte & Mackay.
The 80-year-old whisky industry veteran died last Saturday, following a short illness.
In 2020, Lunn joined forces with his son, Jamie, business partner John Moore, and renowned master blenders Richard Paterson and Ian Macmillan to create Wolfcraig.
“It is truly remarkable that, even in his 80th year, he was able to join us for our weekly board meeting in his final days; his passionate drive was still very much in evidence,” said Paterson.
Burns Night is always a focal point for launching or relaunching whiskies and this week was no exception, with Historic Environment Scotland unveiling a new label and bottle shape for its Edinburgh Castle 10-year-old Highland single malt (£56) – although it remainded tight-lipped about which distillery produced its Scotch.
Cockburns of Leith – Scotland’s oldest wine merchant, which counted Sir Walter Scott among its early clients – had no such qualms when revealing that it has teamed up with Annandale to launch its “Founder’s Reserve” blend (£34.99), which was matured in “ex-Châteauneuf-du-Pape red wine barrels, first- and second-fill ex-bourbon casks, and traditional oloroso sherry butts”.
Master blender Billy Walker has also turned to wine casks for his 2012 vintage nine-year-old GlenAllachie cuvée wine cask finish Speyside single malt (£53.99), which brings together spirit finished in red wine casks from the Languedoc, Recioto Della Valpolicella, and two secret premier cru classés – I guess they were from Bordeaux or Burgundy.
Meanwhile, Glen Scotia has unveiled a 21-year-old Campbeltown single malt (£265), which was aged in refill bourbon barrels and refill American oak hogsheads, before being finished for six months in first-fill oloroso sherry casks.
And finally, the top floor of Glasgow’s famous Teacher building has been rented out to Sonder, which manages apartments and other short-term lets through an app.
The grade-B listed landmark was built in 1875 as the head office for whisky maker William Teacher & Son.
It was designed by James Boucher, the architect behind the Dear Green Place’s Kibble Palace.
“With plans to open this summer, the 25 serviced apartments will be designed to balance the building’s whisky heritage with contemporary design,” explained Steve Barnett, managing partner at Shepherd Chartered Surveyors.
Read more news and reviews on Scottish Field’s food and drink pages, in association with Cask & Still magazine.