Peter Ranscombe takes another light-hearted look at what’s happening in the world of whisky.
THE National Whisky Festival returns to Summerhall in Edinburgh in December, following on from its events in Aberdeen, Glasgow, and Inverness.
Tickets have gone on sale for the Edinburgh leg, which will feature distillers and bottlers, along with musicians and disc jockeys, who I’m now reliably informed like to be called “DJs”.
Festival co-ordinator Gareth Croll said: “It’s such a fantastic feeling to be back out on the road with The National Whisky Festival of Scotland again, especially after such a tough couple years for the events industry.
“Now, building on the success of our debut Edinburgh event last year, we absolutely can’t wait to be back in Scotland’s capital city alongside some of the world’s best distilleries, musicians, and bartenders.”
Distiller toasts craft makers
AnCnoc distillery has kicked off its campaign to promote craft producers with an event at Overtone brewery in Glasgow.
Guests were treated to beer and whisky pairings, and given a behind-the-scenes tour of the brewery.
Fans can also try to find their favourite pairings too through a new website.
The distillery has also commissioned New York-based Scottish illustrator Peter Arkle to create a series of drawings to celebrate the campaign.
The Malt Room opening ‘Inverness Whisky’ shop
Those clever people at The Malt Room, Inverness’ first dedicated whisky bar, are opening their first shop.
Inverness Whisky is one of three businesses opening in the Highland captial’s famous Victorian market.
Visitors to the bar are always asking for “whisky that can’t be found anywhere else, something different”, and so the shop will focus on single casks, smaller distilleries, and other “elusive whisky”.
Borders-based street food brand Salt N Fire is expanding into the Highlands by opening in the market, while jeweller Ortak is also returning to Inverness.
When rugby meets whisky
Highland Rugby Football Club is marking its 100th birthday by auctioning off a bottle of 29-year-old Balblair.
It’s not just any old bottle though – this one comes with a bespoke bronze plinth created by Farquhar Laing and his team at Black Isle Bronze.
While the Gordon & MacPhail Connoisseur’s Choice bottle – one of 469 from a sherry butt filled in 1990 – is valued at £800, the bronze plinth is worth around £4,000.
The lot will be auctioned at the club’s centenary dinner on 13 August, but bidding is already open online.
New fundraiser in chief
Staying with auctions, and Beanie Geraedts-Espey has been appointed as managing director at Distillers’ Ventures, the fundraising arm of The Distillers’ Charity, which organises the biennial “Distillers’ One of One Auction”.
The inaugural auction in December raised £2.4 million for charities, with more than £2.2m going to The Distillers’ Charity’s new youth fund.
Geraedts-Espey spent five years as managing director of The Last Drop Distillers.
She said: “I look forward to playing my part in making the 2023 auction, and the ones thereafter, as great as they possibly can be with the help of our industry partners, and to the continued
development of this fantastic new charitable platform.”
A fast boat to China
Expect to see more of your favourite Scotch heading to China following the introduction of the first direct container ship service between Scotland and China.
Glasgow-based KC Group Shipping expects to send 4,800 containers to China each month, and bring back 4,800.
The route from Greenock to Ningbo in China’s Zhejiang province will slash the journey time from 60 days to 33 days by cutting out a stop at Rotterdam in the Netherlands.
David Milne, managing director of KC Group Shipping, told The Herald newspaper that the route would be a “game changer” for Scotland.
The team from Lindores Abbey Distillery in Fife has visited Thiron-Gardais, a small village outside Paris, which was the headquarters for the order of monks that founded Lindores.
A ceremonial oak tree was planted, and the distillery is paying for a further 50 oak trees to be planted in the woods around the village to replace those chopped down to make casks for one of its limited-edition bottles.
Drew McKenzie Smith, the distillery’s founder, said: “Our trip to Thiron allowed us not only to further cement our historic relationship between our two abbeys, but also to give back to the surrounding forests which provided us with such special wood for our casks.”
The bottles aged in the virgin French oak casks are going on sale in France.
Read more news and reviews on Scottish Field’s food and drink pages.
Plus, check out Blair Bowman’s whisky column in the August issue of Scottish Field magazine.