The Tasting Panel magazine

January 2014

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 26 of 108

SCOTCH REPORT PHOTO COURTESY OF DIAGEO Nestled in the Speyside landscape, the Mortlach distillery is gearing up for major expansion. Giant Steps 2014 BRINGS MAJOR CHANGES IN THE WHISKY LANDSCAPE by Ian Buxton I PHOTO COURTESY OF EDRINGTON The architect's rendering of a new distillery and visitor center for The Macallan. n a unique collaboration, renowned Michelinstarred Chef Daniel Boulud has worked with Dalmore's Richard Paterson to create The Dalmore Selected by Daniel Boulud—and the team has already seen this one-off single malt collect a Gold Medal in international competition. Previously only sold in Boulod's restaurants, the specially selected Dalmore expression is now available nationally at $200. But significant changes lie ahead for Dalmore, part of Whyte & Mackay of Glasgow. Following Diageo's acquisition of a majority stake in the distillery's ultimate owner, United Spirits of India, the U.K. competition authorities will require Diageo to relinquish some Whyte & Mackay assets. Currently, Diageo is bidding to retain Dalmore, largely because of its significant business in India. The future of the high-end Dalmore malts looks uncertain however, in view of Diageo's own stable of single malts and well-developed plans for Mortlach. As I revealed recently on THE TASTING PANEL website, Mortlach is to be expanded and four new luxury expressions launched during 2014. The company describes this as their most significant step in this market in the past decade, and it appears that substantial marketing investment will follow this announcement. Where that leaves the Dalmore ranges is unclear. The other major announcement in Scotland concerns The Macallan, long-time leader in luxury single malt. Far from being perturbed by the news from Mortlach, Macallan dropped their own bombshell with plans to build an entirely new distillery and visitor center of radical design at a cost estimated to exceed $150 million. Architects Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners have the task of creating a building that the brand is hailing as "inspirational in its interpretation of contemporary luxury" and "the world's finest distillery." If all goes well, the first spirit will run in spring 2017, when the existing distillery plant will be closed and mothballed. Macallan was coy on the question of capacity, Ken Grier, Edrington's Director of Malts simply responding, "There will be a significant increase in capacity. We are at the very early stages of the planning process and it's premature to be talking numbers at this stage." Company insiders, noting the Mortlach plans, merely observed that The Macallan has "a 900,000+ case lead" on any Diageo play, suggesting that an air of confidence pervades the home of this most prestigious of single malts. "Bring it on" seemed to be the underlying message! At an altogether different scale, tiny Kilchoman on Islay and the nearby Arran (from the island of the same name) continue to release increasingly interesting and mature products benefitting from longer ageing. Arran's 12 Year Old, a cask strength award winner, comes from Impex Beverages ($67.99) and the same importer has the latest Kilchoman 2007 Vintage at $80. Neither will be spending $150 million on a new distillery any time soon, but the variety of single malt Scotch continues to enrich us all and whisky is looking to 2014 and beyond with greater confidence than ever. 26  /  the tasting panel  /  january 2014 TP0114_001-33.indd 26 12/19/13 9:23 PM

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of The Tasting Panel magazine - January 2014