After all the fun and excitement of putting together the 1st edition Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar, Secret Spirits has been hard at work doing it all again this year for edition number 2.
You may recall some of the fun and games we had along the way in my blog #21, blog #28 and blog #29 in 2014. There are always going to be challenges along the way and this multi-part series will help to give you some idea of just what it takes to bring such a labor and logistics intensive product to market.
There’s nothing like booking a last minute international trip and with less than a week before, I really had to take what I could get.
Early morning flights to Winnipeg then to Chicago and finally Edinburgh was the best I could do. I love Scotland and I love being able to create such a fun product so despite the multiple connections I was really excited to get on my way.
Almost as an omen of good things to come, United and Air Canada decided to do away with the Winnipeg leg and just go ahead and upgrade me to business class for a direct flight to Chicago.
What a great start to the trip and time well spent as I worked on some of the vision we have for cool stuff that Secret Spirits will be creating for your discovery, experience and drinking pleasure in the years to come.
A great little company in Paisley, Craigton specializes in smaller run bottling and single cask whiskies. Just the perfect place for Secret Spirits to partner with to put together an intricate project like the Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar.
With the weekend of traveling safely tucked away and pretty solid jet lag fully set in, I was up well before I should have for the drive from Edinburgh airport to Craigton packaging in Glasgow.
Last year Craigton just did the bottling and we had everything assembled in Alberta. This year we wanted everything done in Scotland so that it would arrive in Canada completely in tact. The fact that we are launching into the UK market this year also meant that it made much more sense to do it all in one place.
The Scotch Whisky Calendar Room at Craigton
Craigton put me to work straight away as I raced around the countryside picking up last minute labels so that the final two whiskies could be bottled that same day. Fun to be back on the “correct” side of the road and thankfully the Australian part of my brain kicked in nicely and I felt right at home tooling around in my 6 speed manual VW rental.
With labels safely delivered and at least an extra day saved waiting for couriers we had made good progress. All the whisky done and one last piece to pick up on the way back to the hotel. Everything was set for a couple of frantic days to get enough calendars made to meet the Canadian order deadline.
Sitting out on a gorgeous evening sipping a pint on the quay looking over the river as the sun lazily dipped toward the water, I realized just how lucky I am to be doing what I absolutely love. Everyone else just thought I was lucky period. I was seeing the beginning of the Scottish Summer as the clouds of rain had only just parted for my arrival.
After dinner I took a leisurely half hour stroll through downtown Glasgow up to the famous Pot Still whisky bar.. Breaking with tradition, I decided to go for something unique and ordered both the Adnams Single Malt and also their Triple grain. I love to try something different and even though had previously represented Adnams beer in the Alberta market, I had never been able to try their whisky.
Adnams Whisky at the Pot Still whisky bar
The Single Malt was delicious and belied its youth with a lovely rounded balance that went down a treat. The Triple grain was good but seemed a touch light. I certainly didn’t leave any in the glass though and heartily knocked back both drams before making my way back down the hill to the river.
What a great first day. Next week I will really get into it, as mission Advent Calendar production truly gets underway.