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The Whiskey Word

Whiskey World News & Commentary
Rachel Barrie in her lab

Rachel Barrie – A Woman on the Move

“I wasn’t looking, but somehow you found me” sang Carly Simon and that seems to be the way Morrison Bowmore Distillers (MBD) achieved the Scotch Whisky coup of last year, recruiting Glenmorangie’s Rachel Barrie to the post of Master Blender – a newly created post. It came as stunning news to many in and around Scotch Whisky in late 2011 to learn that Rachel had skipped cities to work at MBD, owners of Bowmore, Auchentoshan and Glen Garioch. Rachel had been at Glenmorangie over 16 years and has been responsible for some of the wonderful expressions from there.
The Cooperage Apprentice School

21st Century Coopering

November saw the official opening of Diageo’s Cambus Cooperage, part of a multi-million pound set of improvements and new projects the company has been undertaking in recent years. In the company of other whisky writers and some leading Scotch Whisky retailers I was invited to go and see the new plant, much of it computer controlled and with some tasks manned by robots. More than a passing resemblance to Number 5 and Wall-E there, but on a bigger scale. No worries that they are replacing craftsmen though – the opposite is the case.
Glenfarclas 175 anniversary bottle

Independent Family 175 Not Out!

It was a great pleasure back in May to be able to attend the ceilidh and dinner that marked Glenfarclas’ 175th anniversary as an independent distillery. It’s unusual for any distillery to survive so long, and really remarkable that it should remain independent, in family ownership and concentrating solely on single malt whisky. In an age of consolidation, globalisation and portfolio management, Glenfarclas’ determinedly old-fashioned approach is to be commended and celebrated.

Kilchoman 100% Islay - First Release

The sun doesn’t always shine on Islay. In fact, the recent Islay Festival was nearly blown off the island by some lusty gales – that’s when it wasn’t in danger of being washed off by the torrents of rain. But everyone seemed to have fun. However, the weather was on its best behaviour for Kilchoman’s launch last week of their 100% Islay release. As you probably know, Kilchoman is a farm distillery established as recently as 2005 and the first to be built on Islay for 124 years.

Compass Box Thrill with New Blend

I hope that my dear friends at the Compass Box Whisky Company of Edinburgh, Scotland will forgive me when I suggest there’s a slightly messianic quality to the things they do. Take the new blended Scotch that they’ve just launched, Great King Street The Artist’s Blend. If the name wasn’t pretentious enough, here’s what company founder John Glaser had to say about it.