Sunday, 29 January 2012
Well, it has taken 10 years of dreaming and over a year and a half of planning, but finally, I am now hand bottling my casks. I'm no longer what was affectionately known as an 'Armchair Bottler'. The very first cask was a 1984 Tamdhu bottled for the Taiwanese market (beautiful label and a beautifully sweet whisky to boot) - this was closely followed by a Macduff 2000 (bottled for Drinks & Gifts in Krommenie who are opening a new shop) and six new Exclusive Malts (Glen Elgin 1995, Mortlach 1995, Auchroisk 1996, Glen Moray 2001, Macduff 1973 & Glen Garioch 1993).
It was a huge feeling of joy mixed with an almost overwhelming sense of relief as I watched the first goods leave - now en-route to The Netherlands and will be on their way to shops next week. Phew! Over the past 15 months I have thrown the towel in several times. Somewhere, somehow, we (Britain) decided that enterprise and enabling business was not to be encouraged. Almost at every turn, the banks and HMRC (the British Tax authority) were determined to prevent this enterprise. I was actually outright told 'that HMRC does not like approving this kind of warehouse'. The fact that I was creating jobs in one of the most deprived parts of Scotland seemed to be completely irrelevant.
Anyway, for one of the few times in my life I persevered and am very happy to be in full control of my own operations. It was a huge learning curve and one I'm very glad I went through with. Granted I now have to worry about fork lift trucks breaking down; emergency call outs; adding the right amount of de-mineralised water to a cask to bring it down to 45.8% etc but I have some great bottlings lined up for this year and look forward to gluing each and every label on every bottle - and if the label is slightly wonky, its not because I've been drinking, well, it might be...