Speyside Life – Distiller’s dilemma
Robert Ransom, Director of Sales & Marketing, Glenfarclas
One of our strengths at Glenfarclas is our stock of old whisky. We have casks from every year from 1952 to the current year. This is unusual, other larger whisky distilling companies tend to focus on blended whisky, and you do not need stock of 25 years old single malt to produce an 8 year old blend. Meanwhile other small companies have had years when they did not produce because times were tough.
所以秉持著“我們可以做別人所不能做的事情”這樣的精神信念，必須追溯到2007年John Grant 決定推出從1952年到1994年單一桶單一麥芽的上市計畫。我可以肯定的告訴大家這個「家族桶珍藏系列」，已經捉住全世界威士忌飲用者的想像力。有一些桶子很快就賣完，為了達成提供不同年份的陳年威士忌的可能性，我們開始將未來要裝瓶的桶子先裝瓶起來。1952年這個年份的威士忌的銷售相當好，因此我們將三桶的1952年裝瓶起來，只留下一桶在我們的酒窖。
So in the spirit of ‘we can, and we don’t think anyone else can’ back in 2007 John Grant decided that we should release a single cask from every year from 1952 to 1994. As I am sure you are aware we have called this collection The Family Casks, and it has caught the imagination of whisky drinkers around the world. So much so, that some casks sold out quickly. As we wish to offer as many different years as possible, we have bottled further casks. 1952 has been one of the more popular years, and we have now bottled three casks from 1952, which leaves just one cask of 1952 in our warehouse.
However we have a problem. Thanks to the thirst of the angels, the strength has dropped and is now below 40% vol. Scotch whisky is very tightly regulated to protect the quality of your dram. The regulations state a minimum strength for Scotch Whisky of 40% vol., hence the liquid remaining in 1952 Cask 1711 is no longer whisky. What can we do?
通常這樣的桶子與其他同年份的桶裝在一個大桶，混合酒精濃度可以超過40度，而稱之蘇格蘭威士忌。哎呀！但是我們沒有其他桶裝1952年的威士忌可混。我們也可以用其他年份來改變這桶的酒精濃度，但是裝瓶的將不是1952年的格蘭花格。Normally such a cask would be vatted with others so the resulting liquid is over 40%, and thus can be termed Scotch whisky. Alas we have no other casks from 1952. We could use another cask from another year, but the resulting bottling would not be a 1952 Glenfarclas.
The regulations that govern Scotch whisky production also state that Scotch whisky must have been matured in oak casks for a minimum of three years. This is a bit of a hurdle if you are building a new distillery, as in effect you must wait three years before you have whisky to sell. Hence some new distilleries have released bottlings of new spirit with no reference to whisky on the label, to bring in some much needed cash in their early years.
With this in mind I thought I would investigate whether we would be able to sell 1952 Cask 1711 as ‘Glenfarclas 1952 Old Spirit’ without referring to whisky on the label. However this would also contravene the regulations, as the inclusion of the word Glenfarclas implies that the liquid is whisky, whether or not the word whisky appears on the label. Not the answer we were hoping for to solve our dilemma. We could if we wish bottle the liquid as J.& G. Grant Spirit Drink, but that does not sound particularly appealing.
What else could we do? My suggestion that we enjoy the last remaining drops of 1952 at the staff Christmas party awaits approval. In the meantime if you have any suggestions to help us solve the distiller’s dilemma, I look forward to hearing from you.