I love being able to make last minute decisions and a cancelled New York trip due to potential Hurricane interference left me able to get on my bike and head to Scotland. Literally completing my Air Canada reservation by phone as I drove to the airport to just make my flight might be one of the crazier things I have done this year.
It is a privilege to be able to bring this Scotch Whisky journey to so many people each year and spending some time with the awesome team at Craigton Packaging makes it that much more fun.
Of course there was still some essential experiences that had to happen including an epic night at the Pot Still with my mate Stuart and a stroll along the Clyde in the fall Scotland sun.
Scotland is truly one of the most beautiful countries and I absolutely love getting the chance to go there as often as I do. We were really pressed for time to make the ship this year and the crew at Craigton put their foot down while being careful to detail to make sure that every calendar had all the goodies.
I managed to get a few videos of the action (or inaction when I was trying to video and label one handed)
Following a calendar down the line to was a fun way to see it all happen.
December 1st we get going with our 25 days of 4th edition blogging. This year for the first time our calendars are available in the US so we will be opening our community to a host of new members. I hope you enjoyed this little peak behind the scenes. A photo gallery is below for you to browse through at your leisure.
Every trip I see a different side of Scotland and these next two shots of the Clyde at dawn and my room at the Gleddoch Resort and Golf course make me eager to return.
So until next time enjoy the gallery below and see you all for December 1st and the start of another journey through the most diverse whisky landscape on earth.
What could be more fun than sourcing 25 unique Scotches every year along with a new tasting glass, pin and booklet? The answer is of course to launch a new product so you can source 12 amazing rums, a skull glass, pin, map, chest and ship in a bottle.
The funny twist to this reality is that we were able to source most of the Rum’s from Scottish independent bottler’s. Scottish bottler’s have been working with single cask rums for a long time and there is a surprisingly large amount of rum casks aging away in Scottish warehouses. With aging profiles typically well advanced before the casks hits Scottish shores, many are bottled straight away or transported in drums to preserve the snapshot in time of when the rum was tasted and transported. More on this later when I get right into the mechanics of building a rum adventure in a chest.
Before I could roll up my sleeves at Craigton there was the small matter of connecting with long time Whisky mate James Cowan and sneaking in a round of golf and soaking up the excellent Cowan hospitality. Thanks James and Kerry for another fantastic visit. One special little moment was having a dram of the 1973 Auchentoshan Sherry cask that James and I had shared over a decade before on my first night in Scotland. Having since procured a bottle I was able to use my trusty Whisky Connoisseur Travel Kit to make sure that we could relive the moment.
My week at Craigton is becoming a yearly event as the team throws itself into full Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar mode. This year with some frustrating hold ups and delays from all facets of production I found myself a few weeks early to actually help out with the third edition run.
Getting back up in the warehouse though and going through left over 2nd edition parts was great fun. There were a bunch of slightly incomplete 2nd edition calendars that needed various bits and pieces and I was able to scrounge through the empties and find everything I needed. As with any production it is always wise to over produce which means we have a ton of leftovers. For those collector’s out there the good news is that we have been able to complete more 2nd editions which we will release in very limited amounts over the coming years.
Also coming to the UK and select European markets will be some Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar mini packs. Made up of 6 random whiskies from all editions these packs will be a lot of fun for a fraction of the cost. Sorry Canadian and US customers given the revolving nature of the whiskies and subsequent alcohol volumes it would be impossible to import these into North America. This will probably be released in 2017 or 2018.
Taking my daily commute through Glasgow to and from Craigton was really cool as I do not normally drive to and from work operating mostly from home when I am not on the road. Upon my arrival it was not long before I had a fresh cup of tea in hand from the amazing and energetic Rachel. I was always feeling excited about what I could do to help get everything done and no doubt a big part of it was helping to create some magic for whisky lovers out there.
So long story short all 2nd editions that can possibly be created have been and the stage was set for the third edition to hit the production floor. Great week and a big round of thanks to the Craigton packaging team for their hard work and enthusiasm.
With all that warehouse work done and dusted I was able to finally find some sunshine for my third round of golf in Scotland in over 10 years. On a day trip to Ayr I got onto a lovely course with Single Cask Nation founder Jason’s brother Murray. Wow what a fantastic day and topped off no less by Lobster dinner at the local hangout. The sun shone for almost the first time since my arrival and hitting the green off the tee on the par 4 18th hole was certainly a highlight for this barely passable golfer.
Scotland spoils me so much I can hardly wait for our first 2017 trip at the end of January.
Next blog we talk about another fabulous Whisky Jewbilee in Chicago and the first presentation of our brands in the US.