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Issue 64 - Independently minded (Duncan Taylor)

Whisky Magazine Issue 64
June 2007


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Independently minded (Duncan Taylor)

Behind the scenes at one of Scotland's biggest independent bottling companies some of the world's rarest whiskies are stored. Our man joined Duncan Taylor Scotch's managing director Euan Shand in a bid to unearth some gems

Duncan Taylor's new shop premises in Huntley are the real deal. It's packed with wonderful whiskies that will have any whisky enthusiast salivating and reaching for the credit card.

But there's another story to tell here, too. For behind the scenes old casks are crammed in to the company's warehouses. It is whisky's answer to Aladdin's cave – a collection of old, rare and discontinued whisky Here you'll find stocks from the old Banff Distillery, which was bombed by German bombers in the war spraying whisky across the field and leaving the cows tipsy for days.

They say you couldn't drink two pints of milk afterwards and safely drive a car. And there are stocks from classic and iconic distilleries such as Bowmore and Highland Park and from distilleries barely heard of but perhaps equally as good. Whiskies that were never given the support of their owners and were poured into blends rather than becoming iconic single malts in their own right.

This is the legacy of Abe Rosenberg, a legendary and imposing New York businessman who was born in 1908 and who emerged from Prohibition as one of the great whisky dealers. It was he who built J&B in to the monster brand it is in America. But more importantly, he was a man of tremendous foresight who bought a Glasgow whisky broker by the name of Duncan Taylor and used it as a vehicle to create a malt legacy. He bought up stocks of the finest Scottish malt, stored it in distilleries across Scotland, and years before anyone else really p...

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