The Tasting Panel magazine

August 2012

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Page 24 of 128

SCOTCH REPORT Big Changes on Islay Q by Ian Buxton uite the most exciting news this month has been the announce- ment, just as we go to press, that Bruichladdich is in the fi nal stages of exclu- sive talks with French spirits group Rémy Cointreau that will lead to the sale of the iconic Islay distillery. The French, of course, are known for their love of Scotch whisky. Pernod Ricard owns Chivas Brothers, LVMH controls Glenmorangie (and thus also Ardbeg), La Martiniquaise has Glen Moray and a giant grain whisky plant near Edinburgh and Tullibardine was recently quietly sold to Picard Vins & Spiritueux. However the sale of Limited-edition release "The Macallan and Sir Peter Blake Celebrate Eight Decades." Bruichladdich, if completed, feels different. The distillery had loudly protested its independence and, as recently as last fall, Managing Director Mark Reynier was quoted as saying, "We are not interested in selling. Life is too exciting where we are just now." But life obviously got more exciting. As news broke and malt fans wailed in disap- pointment, Reynier's tweets could be summa- rized as "This was an offer we couldn't refuse." The brand's future now appears to lie more in the Far East, fi lling gaps in the Rémy portfolio. Enthusiasts will no doubt snap up the remain- ing bottlings and watch with interest to see if plans for the Port Charlotte distillery ever get off the drawing board. Meanwhile, the chaps at The Macallan have bottled some of their oldest stocks, dating back to 1937, as a collection of miniatures. Nothing so special in that, but these eight tiny bottles, covering every decade since the 1930s, have been assembled in a unique, limited- edition art piece celebrating the 80th birthday of British artist Sir Peter Blake. In distinctive, Blake-designed labels, they are housed in an oak cabinet with related objects and a small book of illustrations and text about Blake's life, signed by the artist naturally. Referencing his distinctive Pop Art style and his famous LP sleeve for The Beatles' Grammy award–winning album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely 24 / the tasting panel / august 2012 Hearts Club Band, only 250 examples of The Macallan and Sir Peter Blake Celebrate Eight Decades will ever be available. U.K. supplies sold out almost overnight, following an endorsement by The Financial Times. The iconic Bruichladdich distillery on Islay. Fast-moving U.S. buyers may be more fortunate however. Eighty pieces have been reserved for the U.S. market and will ship for the fall gift season, with a guide price of $7,500. Contact Rémy Cointreau USA for further details and availability. Finally, International Beverage Holdings have unveiled the second release of its 1975 Vintage Balblair Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky. It replaces the 1978 as the oldest and most prestigious Vintage in the core range. With a recommended shelf price of $325, the 1975 expression is aimed squarely at the premium malt drinker in the U.S. and is imported by Beverage Holdings Ltd USA. It is the fi rst time a Vintage has enjoyed a second release but with a distinctly different liquid style from the original; whereas the fi rst release was laid down in Spanish oak ex-sherry casks, the second release is aged in American oak ex-sherry casks (non-chill-fi ltered, natu- rally colored and bottled at 46%.) It could fi ll that empty 'B' spot on your shelves! PHOTO COURTESY OF BRUICHLADDICH

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