Firstly, some ridiculous news. For a long time now there has been a social media campaign to get a whisky emoji (a little icon you can use as short-hand communication/expression). Next year we might be getting one, finally… but the icon comes in the wrong glass, and with ice!
‘A comprehensive list of all 67 emoji that are being considered for release in June 2016 has been published by the Unicode Consortium, which standardises characters and emoji across operating systems – fleshing out the original list of 38 published earlier this year. The additional emoji are mainly in the “animals”, “food” and “sports” categories, and include a gorilla, a rhinoceros, a baguette, a whisky glass, a rifle, juggling, martial arts and “modern pentathlon”, along with gold, silver and bronze medals.’
And that whisky glass (a) is not a Glencairn and (b) has two ice cubes in it. (If you don’t know what an emoji is, then I really don’t think you’re missing out on much – you can carry on with your life and you’ll be just fine.)
Southern Scottish boom
In more sensible news, it seems that the southern regions of Scotland, notably Dumfries and Galloway, and the Borders, will be experiencing something of a renaissance in whisky production, with new distilleries such as Annandale. The BBC has a pretty lengthy article on the boom:
‘The Scotch Whisky Association said “international demand and aspirational consumers” were driving distillery growth across Scotland… the industry’s future looked bright and that could only benefit the Borders and Dumfries and Galloway. “We are seeing further investment in the Scotch whisky industry across the country, including the south of Scotland, so there is clearly optimism about the future,” [Rosemary Gallagher] said. “Despite a small decline in Scotch whisky exports recently, due to economic headwinds and political factors in some markets, they are still worth about £4bn annually. “We expect new markets to open up, mature ones to grow and demand to increase.” ’
Rare whiskies cost all the money
‘The popularity of expensive whisky has been driven by China as their growing middle classes develop a taste for luxury goods. However there has also been increasing demand from collectors in Britain. Bonhams’ whisky sale this week in Edinburgh includes a number of rare bottles including the 50-year old Glenfiddich as well as a 42-year old Bowmore Premier which could reach £6000.’
I like the fact that they illustrate their article with a bog-standard bottle of the Glenfiddich 12 Year Old.
Balvenie DCS Compendium
Speaking of ridiculously priced whiskies, the Balvenie has revealed a new £125,000 whisky collection. It features a 9 year old whisky that you can buy for £400. Yep, that’s right. But the 9 year old is ‘a unique opportunity to try a whisky of this age’ apparently.
With that in mind, I think I might start a Rum blog. Or instead I could buy Ethiopian whisky!
‘Jim Cameron is now planning to head off at the start of November to begin his adventure in the land-locked African country. And he is hoping to take at least one other West Dunbartonshire person with him. Jim, who lives in Boturich Drive, has a long track record in the whisky industry but said he will need the help of experienced bottling plant engineers to help establish Ethiopia’s first distillery. The plant, called the Super Eagles Distillery, is being set up by a company called Rorark near the capital, Addis Ababa.’
Investing in whisky
Investing in whisky seems to be a popular topic. Not just bottles, but casks instead, which is a whole different game. The Independent has a feature on why you should be investing in whisky:
‘“There’s always been interest for whisky from all over the world and it’s been steadily growing, but lately there is more interest coming from the Far East where it’s considered as premium product,” Bonhams whisky specialist, Martin Green, said. “People collect it as it has much longer shelf life than wine, once bottled, whisky can be stored indefinitely. For people on a trip to Scotland, it’s a product they will immediately turn to.” ’
Nothing new, in a sense – there’s always been brokers dealing in casks of whisky – but there’s much more of a professional quality to whisky investments these days. Worth a punt?
WhiskyCast interview with Ichiro Akuto
Finally, WhiskyCast has an interview with the incredible Ichiro Akuto, the man behind Japanese whisky distillery Chichibu (and Hanyu), and it’s a very good read indeed.
‘…I just make and sell whisky. I made it for drinking… not to sit in a room or something. In a sense of speaking, I’m not sure why it gets such a high price.’
Amen, Ichiro. Read the rest of the interview.