Optimistic outlook for Scotch

Scotch whisky exports reached £3.86 billion in value in 2015, showing signs of recovery after a slight decline in recent years, according to an analysis published recently by the Scotch Whisky Association.

While export values were down 2.4% in 2015 (from £3.95bn in 2014), the figure indicates a slowing down on the previous year’s 7% fall and 2015’s figures put total export values some 56% higher than they were a decade ago.

The Scotch Whisky Association, which recently published a new report looking at Scotch whisky exports in depth, said that Scotch whisky’s prospects for growth remained strong but that exporters continue to face challenging global economic conditions.

Scotch export volumes fell 2.8% last year to just over 90 million cases (from 92.6 million cases). This means that every second of the day, 34 bottles of whisky are shipped from Scotland to export markets around the world, according to the SWA.


Premium Scotch

Single Malts were responsible for 25% of Scotch whisky’s export value in 2015, up from just 18% five years ago. Consumer demand for Single Malt Scotch remains strong, with shipments rising to £916.4 million in 2015 from £914m the previous year.

The biggest category of Scotch, Blended, remains important, accounting for 72% or £2.77 billion in global exports. It’s the trailblazer for Scotch into new and emerging markets, states the report.

The US, the biggest export destination for Scotch, remained steady in 2015, worth £749 million and accounting for nearly a fifth of all Scotch exports. In second place came France where sales fell 2% to £436 million. Singapore took £211m–worth of Scotch in 2015, up 5% on 2014, while Taiwan and Spain took an 8% drop to £182m and £152m respectively.

Growth occurred in a number of emerging markets with Mexico up 16% to £115m, Turkey up 24% to £64m and China returning to the Top 20 markets with an increase of 5% to £41m.

Around 40% of the volume of Scotch shipped globally last year was exported to the EU, underlining the importance of the Single Market.

The SWA argues that EU membership is vital to growing Scotch whisky exports, with the EU playing a particularly important role in knocking down trade barriers as it negotiates Free Trade Agreements with Third Countries.

Scotch Whisky exports continue to deliver and the fundamentals for future growth are strong,” commented Scotch Whisky Association Chief Executive David Frost, “Whilst the last couple of years have been more difficult, the longer-term picture has been one of increased demand, new investment and premiumisation.

“Challenges remain with an uncertain global economy and political uncertainty in some export markets,” he warned, “Continued EU membership will also help to support Scotch whisky exports to the Single Market and would leave Scotch well placed to benefit from the lower tariffs and fairer market access that the EU has been able to secure through its negotiation of Free Trade Agreements with countries around the world.”


The Macallan Amber


Amber is part of The Macallan’s new ‘no age’ statement range of Speyside single malts, the 1824 Series, which concentrates on colour. By using 100% sherry casks and natural colour, the darker the whisky, the older and more complex.

Nose: Polite, almost apologetic at first, with a floral, citrus sweet nose that gains presence, commanding a chorus of vanilla notes over freshly harvested grain. Raisin, sultana and cinnamon look on as toffee apples and candyfloss step into the limelight.

Palate: Fresh green apples and lemons mingle with cinnamon Ginger notes hover as fruit takes over with subtle oak lingering in the wings

Finish: Light to medium with soft fruits and cereal, slightly dry.

Distributor: Barry & Fitzwilliam.



Highland Park 12 Year-Old


Highland Park 12 Year-Old remains one of the gold-standard malts for other distillery bottlings to aspire to. With a delicious sweetness (heather-honey is its preferred description) and a warming, silky mouthfeel, this is a whisky that never lets you down.

“The greatest all-rounder in the world of malt whisky” stated Michael Jackson in Michael Jackson’s Malt Whisky Companion.

Nose: Fresh, clean and very aromatic. Floral notes deluge the senses with a light grassiness. Notes of creamy manuka honey, a touch of juicy citrus with cream and a well-balanced sweetness.

Palate: Rather full with a pleasant subtlety to the depths. Lurking somewhere in the substratum lies a grilled orange. Notes of granary toast and green tea with jasmine. A touch of sweetness.

Finish: Quite long with peppered spice and wood shavings.

Distributor: Barry & Fitzwilliam.



The Famous Grouse

HIG27975 BTL Shoot Images.indd

One of the world’s most popular blends and the best-selling Scotch whisky in Scotland, Famous Grouse is a very nicely balanced malty blend which was first made in 1896. In fact it was created by Matthew Gloag’s company after he was asked to supply wines for a royal banquet with Queen Victoria in attendance. His son, William, perfected a blend named The Grouse, renaming it The Famous Grouse in 1905. Around 80 years later the company was awarded a Royal Warrant. The blend represents great value-for-money and it also works beautifully in whisky-based cocktails. Delicious.

In 2015 The Famous Grouse got a new label design, bottle shape and a more premium closure together with “metallised” paper designed to enhance shelf standout.



Teachers – New Modern Look


Created in collaboration with glassmaker ‘O-1’ and Australian agency Landor, the design is currently rolling out across Ireland. This features a ‘slimmer more streamlined profile’ with a new Scottish thistle design embossed above the label to ‘emphasise the Scottish provenance of Teacher’s’. The thick black bar at the bottom of the previous bottle’s label has been replaced with a gold panel.

Distributed here by Barry & Fitzwilliam, Teacher’s Highland Cream is one of the world’s best-selling blended Scotch whiskies, shifting two million nine-litre cases in 2014.




Bowmore 12


The heart of the Bowmore range, the 12 Year-Old, exhibits some beautiful coastal notes with gentle peat; it’s the balance that the floral element presents that makes this a great entry bottling for Bowmore.

Nose: Coastal smoke and ash soon make way for bergamot, orange zest, lemon slices and some hay before becoming rather floral, heather smoke now competing with the ash

Palate: Lovely and rounded – honeyed even, initially. Vanilla, perfumed smoke and coastal elements develop. Dark Peat. Blossom, oily sweetness

Finish: Smoky and long. Sea spray, dry grass, a touch of ash and citrus

Overall: Classic stuff and the heart of the Bowmore range. Smoky, fruity, coastal, delicious.

Distributor: Barry & Fitzwilliam.




Auchentoshan 12


A more recent release from the Auchentoshan Distillery, replacing the previous staple 10 Year-Old, this 12 Year-Old bottling exhibits the new, slightly imperial aesthetics with which Auchentoshan has rebranded itself.

Nose: Cereals, exotic fruits

Palate: Tannins, a little sweet barley, vanilla

Finish: Dry and very long, a little sweetness from the barley.

Distributor: Barry & Fitzwilliam.






Laphroaig 10


The original Laphroaig, distributed here by Barry & Fitzwilliam, is distilled the same way today as when Ian Hunter invented it over 75 years ago. In making Laphroaig, malted barley is dried over a peat fire. The smoke from this peat, found only on Islay, gives Laphroaig its particularly rich flavour.

Those enjoying the 10 Year-Old will first notice the bold, smoky taste, followed by a hint of seaweed and a surprising sweetness. This full-bodied variant is the foundation of all Laphroaig expressions and comes with a long finish.





Sign Up for Drinks Industry Ireland

Get a free weekly update on Drinks Industry trade news, direct to your inbox. Sign up now, it's free