The Tasting Panel magazine

September 2012

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Page 24 of 132

SCOTCH REPORT The Devil Gets His Whisky T he takeover of Islay's Bruichladdich Distillery, reported last month as "immi- nent," has now been completed, and new owners Rémy Cointreau can contemplate their successful and speedy purchase. Much of the whisky world was surprised, not just by the transaction itself but by the £58m ($90m) purchase price. Some £10m ($15.5m) goes to clear bank fi nance, and the happy sharehold- ers share the balance. Most of the workforce will enjoy a payout through an equity partici- pation scheme, for this little Hebridean island, some of the sums involved are life-changing. For Rémy, the deal makes sense when you combine the strength of the brand among single malt enthusiasts, the fact that the Bruichladdich's Laddie Ten is now coming on stream, production can be doubled and with Rémy owning much of their international distributor network, brand profi tability will increase accordingly. While M.D. and founder Mark Reynier is left to consider his position, most of the management team will remain in place and the hope is that, while some of the iconoclasm will no doubt be tempered by corporate considerations, the Bruichladdich spirit will continue unabated. Also on Islay, near neighbor Bowmore has released two notable limited-edition vintages, both of which will be available shortly in the U.S. Pride of place goes to the exception- ally rare Bowmore 1964 Vintage. Out of a global release of 72 bottles, eight are reserved for the U.S. The hand- blown bottle was created by Scottish glass artist Brodie Nairn to hold the extra-aged spirit, full of rich fruit notes. Anticipated retail price will be $13,500. If that blows your budget, consider a bottle of the Bowmore 1985 Vintage—747 bottles world- wide at approximately $495. With 18,000 bottles available in the U.S., the Glenfi ddich Malt Master's Edition will be easier to fi nd and, at $80, to buy! The bot- tling celebrates the culminations of Glenfi ddich's 125th anniversary, as the distillery pays tribute to their 24 / the tasting panel / september 2012 current Malt Master, Brian Kinsman, with the fi rst Glenfi ddich to be "double matured" in two different casks— traditional oak and sherry. Alongside it, look out for The Balvenie Double Wood 17 Year Old ($130), created by Scotland's longest- serving Malt Master, David Stewart, who celebrates his 50th anniversary with The Balvenie this year. Stewart was an early pioneer of consecutive maturation in two dif- ferent types of cask, a process widely adopted today and often referred to as "cask fi nishing." It's a fi tting culmination to a distinguished career. Both expressions are available from William Grant & Sons. Impex Beverages of San Francisco is offer- ing just 600 bottles of The Devils' Punch Bowl ($130) from The Arran Malt. James "Lucifer" McTaggart, the Master Distiller behind the new whisky, claims he went to hell and back to conjure up this unique spirit. "I am well prac- ticed in the dark arts of selecting devilishly good casks and was drawn to a number of vintage releases for this limited- edition bottling," he says. "The spirit has dark, swirl- ing colors with a seductive rich fl avor and a smoky edge." They say the devil has all the best tunes. He seems to have grabbed some tasty whisky here as well! NEW DRAMS, FROM LUMINOUS TO LUCIFERIAN by Ian Buxton ! " # !" "# !# !"# $

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