ABERDEEN, SCOTLAND, AUGUST 19TH 2020: MacDuff Distillery is celebrating its 60th anniversary on 1st September. 

Pictured: Jamie Winfield with his team of operators

(Photo: Ross Johnston/Newsline Media)

A week in whisky: ‘I’ll have a pea, please, Bob’

THOSE enterprising souls at whisky distiller Arbikie have followed-up their carbon-negative Nàdar gin with its vodka twin.

Both Nàdar spirits absorb more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere than is emitted over the course of the production process.

The alcohol inside them is made by distilling peas instead of wheat.

Master distiller Kirsty Black developed the technique with scientists at Abertay University in Dundee and the James Hutton Institute.

The vodka was launched today to mark “Sustainable Spirits Day”.

Diamond anniversary for The Deveron’s distillery

Workers at Macduff distillery in Banff will toast the site’s 60th birthday on Tuesday.

Macduff, which makes The Deveron single malt, sported many energy-saving techniques when it opened, including using gravity to move its liquids instead of pumps and using steam to heat its pot stills, which were also lagged to reduce heat being wasted.

Jacqueline Seargeant, global heritage manager at Bacardi, which owns the distillery, said: “It was a significant moment for the local area when Macduff opened its doors.

“There was an official opening on 1 September 1960, which was attended by the Lord Lieutenant of Banffshire, Colonel Sir George W Abercromby, 8th Baronet, as well as local business people, members of the whisky industry and the local press.”

Expect a spate of distilleries’ diamond anniversaries over the coming months – as Macduff reminded us, 1960 marked the end of grain and malt rationing following the Second World War, leading to a wave of Scotch plants opening.

On the trail of the illicit stills…

Staying with history and The Glenlivet has teamed up with the National Trust for Scotland (NTS) to examine an episode from even further back in Scotch’s past.

Derek Alexander, head of archaeology at the NTS, and Glenlivet archivist Chris Brousseau will lead archaeological digs on grounds owned by the charity and the distiller to look for the remains of illicit stills and forgotten bothies that were used to illegally produce and smuggle whisky across the Highlands in the early 1800s.

The trust already knows about 30 illicit stills on its properties, stretching from Torridon and Kintail in the north down to Grey Mare’s Tail in the south.

There are also several on Mar Lodge estate, near The Glenlivet distillery.

George Smith, who founded The Glenlivet, was the first illicit stillman to get a licence.

Wine cask focus for Distell, while GlenDronach salutes Kingsman flicks

South African distiller Distell – try saying that quickly three times – has launched the latest limited edition bottles from its three Scotch sites: Bunnahabhain, Deanston and Tobermory.

There’s a strong focus on whiskies that have spent their final months of maturation slumbering in various wine casks, with Bunnahabhain’s offerings consist of a 2008 Manzanilla Matured and a Moine 1997 Pedro Ximenez Finish.

From Deanston, there’s a cask strength 2002 Organic Pedro Ximenez Finish, a 1991 Muscat Finish and a 2002 Pinot Noir finish.

And Mull’s contributions are a Tobermory 2007 Port Pipe Finish, a Ledaig 1998 Marsala Finish, and a 2007 Pedro Xeminez Finish.

Across in Aberdeenshire, Brown-Forman’s GlenDronach distillery has released the Kingsman Edition 1989 Vintage, its second whisky tied-in with the Kingsman film franchise.

Visitor gong for Bladnoch

Scotland’s most southerly distillery has picked up a Travelers’ Choice Award from ratings website TripAdvisor.

Bladnoch distillery‘s visitors’ centre was opened last year by the Duke and Duchess of Rothesay.

The distillery reopened its tourist facilities earlier this month.

Kanika Soni, chief commercial office at Tripadvisor, said: “Although it’s been a challenging year for travel and hospitality, we want to celebrate our partners’ achievements.

“Winners of the 2020 Travelers’ Choice Awards should be proud of this distinguished recognition.”

Waiting for the hammer to fall…

Lots going on around the auctions, with Sothey’s largest online spirits sale getting underway this week and running until Tuesday.

A total of 267 lots will go under the virtual hammer, with a combined pre-sale estimate of more than £850,000.

The sale includes 94 Macallan lots, including the “Fine & Rare Collection”, stretching from 1940 to 1976.

Also up for grabs are three bottles of 1970 Laphroaig Samaroli 16 year old.

Meanwhile, news broke this week of a new world record for a bottle of Japanese whisky at auction, with Bonhams selling a bottle of Yamazaki 55 year old for HK$6.2 million or just over £605,000.


World record online whisky tasting bid

And finally, a world record attempt with a difference.

To mark the launch of its club, 1775 Whisky Passport is trying to break the record for the “most viewers for a whisky tasting live stream on a bespoke platform”.

The current record stands at 1,500 participants, but the organisers aim to get 3,000 next Friday.

Two of the club’s founding members – Graham Blaikie and Neil Forbes – will run a 30-minute launch show online.

It’ll be broadcast live from Blaikie’s Mercat Grill at Whitecraig near Musselburgh in East Lothian.

Read more news and reviews on Scottish Field’s whisky pages.