World Whisky Awards
We should definitely start this latest news round-up with a mention of the World Whisky Awards 2016, in which a Scotch whisky – the Old Pulteney Vintage 1989 – won the award for ‘World’s Best Single Malt Whisky’ – and I reviewed the Old Pulteney 1989 last week. It’s fantastic news, as mainstream media loves to celebrate when a non-Scotch whisky does well at these things. However, the mainstream press largely seem concerned about budget whiskies doing very well:
“Whisky made by budget supermarket chain Lidl has beat off competition from around the world to scoop a top prize at The World Whiskies Awards. The retailer’s Glen Alba, a 22-year-old blended whisky priced at just £29.99, was named the best ‘special release’ blended whisky of 2015. It trumped premium whiskies from more established brands, including Johnnie Walker’s Blue Label Limited Release 2015, which retails for over $258 (£177).”
I’ve been championing Lidl’s whiskies for a while, so it’s great to see this recognition. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to get good whisky. You’re paying extra for the brand, in many cases.
The world’s media got its knickers in a twist about the fact that the world might be running out of Scotch whisky:
“… demand for the Scottish nectar is now so high that distilleries simply can’t keep up with demand. ‘The shortage of old and rare single malt… has already started, and it’s going to get worse,’ Rickesh Kishnani, who launched the world’s first whisky investment fund, told the news service.”
Ever noticed how it’s largely whisky investment people who are saying this stuff? Well, the world isn’t going to run out of Scotch. But there is a lot of demand from the various territories in Asia for old whisky, which is something different entirely.
Odd to celebrate the fact that smaller measures (i.e. 10ml and not 25ml) of whisky are now legally allowed to be served in Scotland, but we ought to celebrate this.
“James Campbell, of the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival, said: ‘This guidance from Moray Council will greatly enhance the experience of visitors attending our events. The Festival is a staunch advocate of responsible drinking, and we have campaigned for some time for our event providers to be allowed to serve smaller 10ml measures where it is deemed appropriate’.”
I’m often amazed at how much people manage to consume at whisky festivals, largely because the whisky is simply there in glasses, so this is a good thing to promote moderation.
Rise of whisky in France
Whisky is quickly becoming the national drink in France:
“Exports of whisky have risen by over 50 per cent since 2007, standing at £445 million for 2004 and bucking a worldwide trend that saw a slight fall in demand compared to the previous 12 months. The rise makes France the top European destination for Scottish food and drink exports and Scotland’s second largest food and drink exports market in the world, behind only the United States.”
Loch Ness Water
Just when you thought you’d heard it all… You can now buy water – for adding to your whisky – that comes from Loch Ness.
“A Highland firm which bottles water straight from the body of Loch Ness is aiming to attract monster crowds at a world-famous whisky and spirits conference. Loch Ness Water has been named an official partner of the iconic Global Whiskies and Spirits Summit on Thursday… Loch Ness Water is being produced in 100ml and 350ml glass bottles and is retailing to hotels and premium retail outlets.”
Consider it a tax on idiots.
Speaking of which, David Cameron has warned that Britain’s exit from the EU would be a risk to the whisky industry:
“The prime minister said jobs and investment in Britain’s £45billion wine and spirits industry would be threatened if the Government had to renegotiate deals on alcohol sales.He insisted the near 600,000 jobs in the UK sector would be safer within a reformed EU.”