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Issue 90 - Weathering the storm

Whisky Magazine Issue 90
September 2010

 

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Weathering the storm

Family-owned distillery Glenfarclas isn't flash or fancy, but it's in rude health Dominic Roskrow reports on a good old-fashioned success story.

If running a business in the current economic climate is akin to sailing through a storm, then running one selling whisky is like sailing through a gale and trying to refurbish the boat for future voyages at the same time.

Every decision taken today is tempered by what might happen in the future. What you choose and bottle now will impact on how much older whisky you have next decade. Plan for a big demand for your malt in 2020 and you have to make an investment in grain and wood this week, affecting your capability to steer through the swells if the weather turns particularly nasty. Point your boat towards new horizons and you risk being stranded far from your home port.

On the bridge of the good ship whisky it's one challenge after another... should we go for a single cask bottling? An array of manager's choices; a very old and ridiculously expensive super premium release; non aged expressions; peated malt from our normally non-peaty distillery or vice-versa; or perhaps an extensive range of special wood finishes?

How about the lot then mateys?

Aye, aye captain.

The economic seas may be choppy but without doubt we're being tossed between the clichés ‘we've never had it so good' and ‘there's never a dull moment' as the producers of our favourite malt search for the most fertile fishing spots for them.

With some notable exceptions.

Take a look at the HMS Glenfarclas, for instance, and you'll find her in the eye of the storm, sailing steadily ever onwards, a...

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