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The Diageo Controversy

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The Diageo Controversy

Postby jeanmarcd » Sat Aug 22, 2009 9:47 am

http://forargyll.com/2009/08/diageo-the ... ournlaism/

http://blog.islayinfo.com/article.php/d ... n-the-news

People must be aware that Diageo removed its ads in the last issue of The Ileach.
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Re: The Diageo Controversy

Postby Iain » Sat Aug 22, 2009 8:31 pm

Jeez. There's some seriously vitriolic stuff in there!
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Re: The Diageo Controversy

Postby Pure Pot Head » Sun Aug 23, 2009 1:23 pm

Interesting. I wasn't aware that Diageo mature their Islay Malt off the island. So much for the seawater, seaair, seaweed infused matruaton process!
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Re: The Diageo Controversy

Postby mlawrenson » Sun Aug 23, 2009 1:50 pm

I don't know why people are surprised by the activities of multinational corporations such as this. Diageo would sell a coloured-up mixture of water and neutral grain spirit as 'Scotch Whisky' if those pesky laws would only allow them to. Just as Wal-Mart would sell heroin and crack next to their gun section.

Companies like this exist to make money for their shareholders. By any means neccessary.
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Re: The Diageo Controversy

Postby lockejn » Sun Aug 23, 2009 2:04 pm

mlawrenson wrote:...
Companies like this exist to make money for their shareholders. By any means neccessary.

While true, it's a shame these companies have forgotten that the best way to maximize profit (in the long run) is to treat their customers right. Most can't see beyond the fiscal quarter. If just half of the resources they spend trying to come up with new ways to swindle their customers was spent improving product quality and maximizing customer value they'd never have to worry about the shareholders.

Another thing to keep in mind is that these "shareholders", in this day and age, are quite often you and I. Own any mutual funds? Have an insurance policy? A pension of some sort? You might be surprised just how many of the brands you buy on a daily basis make up your portfolio. Letters to these companies carry more weight when they're not just from a disgruntled customer, but from a shareholder. . .
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Re: The Diageo Controversy

Postby Pure Pot Head » Sun Aug 23, 2009 3:07 pm

It's not so much that I'm surprised that a large corporation seeks out efficiencies, synergies, strategic advances etc. I mean if it turned out that shifting all maturation to a hot equatorial climate made the whiskey better and did so faster, and it could still be legally called Scotch, of course they'd do it tomorrow.

I just thought specifically that the whole Islay selling point was to a large extent the notion that the island 'terroir' there has a unique flavour impact in the maturation phase. Take this out of the equation and, well, it's a bit like a house of cards tumbling, isn't it?

Or to put it another way, it seems like a step further than I would have expected, potentially brand destroying from the masters of brand building. I'm surprised they deem it unimportant, that's all.

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Re: The Diageo Controversy

Postby borgom » Sun Aug 23, 2009 3:54 pm

Pure Pot Head wrote:Interesting. I wasn't aware that Diageo mature their Islay Malt off the island. So much for the seawater, seaair, seaweed infused matruaton process!

Possibly, but many Islay whisky fans would argue that there is a difference. I suppose only time will tell.
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Re: The Diageo Controversy

Postby Spirit of Islay » Sun Aug 23, 2009 5:24 pm

Pure Pot Head wrote:Interesting. I wasn't aware that Diageo mature their Islay Malt off the island. So much for the seawater, seaair, seaweed infused matruaton process!


That must be "Scotch Mist" Maturing in the Warehouses at Lagavulin (there was me thinking i was drinking 8yo , 12yo , 16yo and 43yo whisky SFTC on our recent warehouse tour....) , Port Ellen and Caol Ila !
You missed the word Most out of the recent article , Diageo mature Lagavulin at the Lagavulin , Caol Ila and Port Ellen Warehouses , Caol Ila is "Mostly" took off the Isle (a small amount is matured on site) due to the large amounts produced . As one Distillery manager said to me recently if all Islay Produced whisky was matured on the Isle you wouldn't have any beautiful scenery just warehousing all over the place .
It would be impossible for any of the major producers to accommodate their casks on the isle when you're talking about 12,000,000 Litres (Ardbeg 1.1m , Bowmore 1.7m , Bunnahabhain 2.1m , Caol Ila 3.5m , Lagavulin 2.3m , Laphroaig 2m ) plus of Spirit a year , an awful lot of casks (48000 Hoggies per year but more if you start with Barrels ) over the years .
So what about all them wonderful independent Bottlings we enjoy , Matured all over the place usually away from their place of birth ? And not just Islays.....

Getting back to the original subject....
I do feel sorry for the Islay employees of Diageo , they do a hell of a lot to promote their whisky and all they do is get a load of stick from various sources on and off the Isle .
It would be nice to see some of the other Islay Distilleries follow Diageos Islay distilleries lead and doing special events outside the Feis Ile like the Warehouse Demonstration at Laga and the Range tasting at Caol Ila . A Great Idea Ewan ! I hope they decide to make them Regular events after your return to the mainland .
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Re: The Diageo Controversy

Postby Pure Pot Head » Sun Aug 23, 2009 5:57 pm

Listen folks, I'm certainly not bashing Diageo or anyone else. I'm not that bothered about that side of it. I wandered into this topic wanting to know what the 'controversy' was and in the process, stumbled upon this fact that 'most' of the Islay malt is matured off the island. Now I am not for a second querying whether or not that changes the taste or makes any difference to the quality. It caught my eye for the following reason.

To be called a Scotch or an Irish whiskey, the whiskey must be matured fully in those terrritory. The location of maturation is absolutely key to the integrity of the definition of those whiskies. Smilarly Bourbon etc. Right?

So...if the location of the maturation matters, then, if an Islay whiskey is not matured on Islay, well...isn't it just 'Scotch Single Malt?" I'm being lighhearted here but it's a tentaive thought I humbly throw in there.
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Re: The Diageo Controversy

Postby ClubSmed » Sun Aug 23, 2009 6:02 pm

Lots of distilleries mature at least some of their stock at other distilleries for disaster recovery purposes. Then if one warehouse burns down it is not all of the output that is up in flames.
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Re: The Diageo Controversy

Postby Pure Pot Head » Sun Aug 23, 2009 6:25 pm

And for labeling a blend it does not matter whether an Islay malt in it has been matured on Islay or inland, on it will just appear Scotch Whisky



Sure, I get that. I got the impression somewhere that Diageo claimed to include Islay Single Malt in their mix and I was questioning the validity of calling these components Islay Single Malts if they are not matured on Islay, in the same way that you couldn't call a Powers Irish Whiskey and Irish Whiskey if they matured some stock in Scotland for disaster recovery purposes or any other reason.

So just to be clear, it it says Islay Single Malt on the label, it's distilled and matured on the island? That's guaranteed is it?

And what goes into Diageo blends r other blends is Islay New Spirit basically matured elsewhere in Scotland? 'Mostly.'

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Re: The Diageo Controversy

Postby Iain » Sun Aug 23, 2009 7:12 pm

Pure Pot Head wrote:So just to be clear, it it says Islay Single Malt on the label, it's distilled and matured on the island? That's guaranteed is it?



If it says that, then it's guaranteed to have been distilled on the island. But it could legally be matured anywhere in Scotland.
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Re: The Diageo Controversy

Postby ClubSmed » Sun Aug 23, 2009 7:36 pm

Iain wrote:
Pure Pot Head wrote:So just to be clear, it it says Islay Single Malt on the label, it's distilled and matured on the island? That's guaranteed is it?



If it says that, then it's guaranteed to have been distilled on the island. But it could legally be matured anywhere in Scotland.

And of course, as Single Malt is defined from only on distillery it could be from several casks some matured on the isle and some not. To be honest though, what does it matter so long as you still enjoy the taste?
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Re: The Diageo Controversy

Postby Spirit of Islay » Sun Aug 23, 2009 8:18 pm

You could say your argument about terroir applies to most Distilleries in Scotland not just the Islay ones . They transfer spirit to Central Warehousing in the likes of Stirling and Glasgow . Spirit is put where ever warehousing is available , One lot of distillers will also rent warehousing off another , Raymond at Bladnoch (Lowlands) Rents out space to Speyside and Island Distilleries but it's all still in Scotland which the SWA stipulates is where spirit must be matured to be Scotch Whisky .
As Matthew says what does it matter so long as you still enjoy the taste?
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Re: The Diageo Controversy

Postby Pure Pot Head » Sun Aug 23, 2009 8:22 pm

To be honest though, what does it matter so long as you still enjoy the taste?


I agree, if you like the taste that's what counts. But I'm glad to know all the same. I'd sort of taken it for granted. The next time I hear some whiskey ambassador wax lyrical about the unique qualities of an Islay Scotch suffused with the fragrance of seaweed or the subtle nuance of ocean spray I'll smile quietly to myself. :) Another myth disolves.

Having said that, why bother with regulations saying where whiskey should be matured. what does it matter once you enjoy the taste? I wonder would it work out cheaper the bulk ship the whiskey to Kentucky where the casks are and mature there, rather than bulk ship the casks to Scotland where the spirit is?

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Re: The Diageo Controversy

Postby Spirit of Islay » Sun Aug 23, 2009 8:27 pm

And when you figure out a way to know which malt has been matured on Islay and which hasn't be sure to let us know...... :wink:
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Re: The Diageo Controversy

Postby Pure Pot Head » Sun Aug 23, 2009 8:41 pm

And when you figure out a way to know which malt has been matured on Islay and which hasn't be sure to let us know......


Well it won't be on the label and it won't be in the taste so I guess I'll never know. Although there's probably some Islay distillery marketing guy browsing the blogs going,"Hmm, perhaps I could create a special 'Pure Islay" edition" or some similar monicker to create another sub layer in the hierarchy within the category amidst the genre!

I didn't mean to let Diageo off the hook by the way by leading us all down this cul de sac. Let's get back to bashing the conglomerates. :)

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