Whisky news from around the globe
First Italian single malt whisky
Puni Distillery, the first whisky distillery in Italy, has released the country’s first single malt. Established in 2010, Puni Distillery started distilling in February 2012. The spirit was then left to mature in the warehouses for over three years, until it was finally bottled as a single malt and launched this autumn.
“After nurturing our special liquid for so many years, we are very proud to be finally able to share our new Italian-born whisky with the world,” comments Jonas Ebensperger, one of the founders of the family-run business. “We put all our hearts into the making this whisky and we are very excited to give whisky lovers all over the world a chance to taste it.”
Located in the heart of the Italian Alps in South Tyrol, Puni Distillery use locally sourced grain, pure mountain spring water and traditional Scottish copper pot stills. Due to considerable seasonal temperature variations, the whisky matures much faster than in other parts of the world, thus acquiring complex aromas even at a young age. To showcase the variety and complexity of flavours, Puni distillery has released two expressions with very different taste profiles:
Puni Nova – nova, meaning ‘new’ in latin, is described as “a wonderfully delicate yet spicy single malt with warming and sweet aromas of honey, banana and vanilla”. Matured for three years in American ex-bourbon barrels, Puni Nova was then finished in European oak casks.
Puni Alba –alba meaning ‘dawn’ in Italian, but also ‘Scotland’ in Scots Gaelic, Puni Alba offers “a complex bouquet of candy fruits, sultanas and exotic fruits entwined with warm, reassuring hints of smoke”. Puni Alba was matured for more than two years in Marsala dessert wine casks and one year in ex-Islay casks – a harmony of the fruity flavours of Italy and the smoky notes of the Scottish island.
The quality of the liquid inside is reflected in the luxury packaging specially designed by up-and-coming Italian designer Christian Zanzotti.
“With a background in industrial design, including cars, furniture and luxury goods, Zanzotti fully embraced this project and delivered a fantastic design, which we love and which we hope our consumers will too,” adds Ebensperger.
To commemorate the arrival of the very first Italian single malt, the distillery has released 977 individually numbered and hand-signed bottles from the first batch of Puni Nova 54% ABV, RRP €126, and Puni Alba 54% ABV, RRP €154. The first-edition bottles are available exclusively from PuniItalia online shop and at the Puni visitor centre.
About the distillery
The ancient raetic name Puni is taken from the nearby river Puni. The pure alpine water, locally sourced grains, traditional copper pot stills from Scotland and bespoke maturation warehouses are the main elements for the creation of the single malt whisky.
The distillery was envisioned and designed as a 13-metre high cube. The eye-catching design of the outer hull with offset red bricks is inspired by the traditional building style of barn windows in the region and reflects the harmonious interplay of tradition and modernity at Puni Distillery. The whisky is produced inside the cube, below ground level. Each year the distillery’s visitor center attracts many visitors from around the world.
Whisky bonds offer eight-year money back guarantee
Investors are being offered the chance to invest in a cask of single malt scotch whisky.
The whisky bonds, offered by Arbikie, a new Scottish distillery, have a £10,000 price tag.
Fine+Rare, a fine wine and spirits broker, which are offering the whiskey casks, one per each £10,000 investment, said it is hoping to attract wealthy investors who have a passion for whisky.
There are two types of cask on offer; ex-bourbon or ex-sherry.
The bonds come with an eight year buy-back guarantee from the distillery.
The worst case scenario, which will remove this guarantee, is that the distillery goes bust.
Jamie Graham, a sales director at Fine+Rare, said: “We are targeting the luxury end of the market and I am confident that we will give investors a good return on their money. But after eight years there is a get out clause and investors can simply sell the cask back to the distillery.”
Costs for storage, bottling, labelling and insurance are included in the £10,000 price.
The launch comes hot on the heels after a new online whisky market was opened up to investors, called WhiskyInvestDirect, whose website allows investors to gain exposure to whisky in the barrel.
WhiskyInvestDirect claims the price for eight year-old single malt held from new, and sold each year of the decade 2005 to 2014, shows average historic returns of 13pc per year – or 9.5pc after charges.
This growth is reflected in the chart below. Barrelled Scotch is traded in small units known as “litres of pure alcohol” (LPAs).
But over longer periods investors have made losses.
The following chart shows the historic return after holding Scotch for eight years, by the year of sale.
Selling in 2005, for instance, would have triggered a loss of about 20pc, after storage costs.
Selling last year, by contrast, would have resulted in more than doubling your original investment.
Source: Kyle Caldwell
Whisky brands gain power as Johnnie Walker maintains title of most valuable drinks brand
Johnnie Walker has maintained its position as the world’s most valuable alcoholic drinks brand, while Glenfiddich is the fastest growing, according to Brand Finance’s annual review of the world’s 50 most valuable drinks brands. The dominance of whisky brands wasn’t shared by white spirits, however, with Smirnoff and Bacardi both losing rank to their brown counterparts.
The review from brand valuation and strategy consultancy Brand Finance, which evaluates brands according to publicly available financial data to determine which are the most powerful and valuable, shows that as of 1 January 2015, Johnnie Walker was valued at $5.6bn USD.
While the brand was already the world’s most valuable, this figure was up a further 13% from last year, making the whisky more valuable than iconic brands in other industries such as Ferrari ($4.7bn) and Rolex ($5.5bn).
Meanwhile, Glenfiddich is the fastest growing brand, with value up 35% year on year to $462m.
Chivas Regal also moved up two places in the rankings, with its brand value up to $2.4bn from $2bn last year, while Jack Daniels also gained momentum. Despite poor US sales, Jägermeister also increased its brand value by 25% to $669m.
“Premium spirits brands are on track to maintain the momentum of the last few years,” said David Haigh, chief executive of Brand Finance.
“However, slowing growth and government measures to curb drinking pose significant challenges. It is more important than ever for drinks producers to invest in branding both to strike a tone that appeases regulators and defy category trends when times get tough.”
White spirits lose rank to whisky brands
Vodka and rum brands Smirnoff and Bacardi dropped in the rankings, down one and two places respectively.
The second and third top valued brands, China’s Kweichow Moutai white spirit and Hennessy cognac, retained their spots from 2014. However, Moutai’s growth slowed heavily from 2014, at 8% compared to 76% the previous year.
The brand was largely impacted by a campaign in China to cut extravagant displays of wealth in order to root out corruption and improve perceptions of public officials. As a result, Moutai, a favourite among Chinese officials, saw its stocks fall.
10 Health Benefits of Whisky
All the health benefits of whisky you wish you knew earlier… you’re welcome:
Whisky is one of the best alcohols you can drink. Not only is it the least likely to give you a hangover, but it’s also one of the healthiest around. You’ll find that having a few fingers of whiskey every week can help to:
- Avoid Weight Gain – Whisky is a low-calorie alcohol, especially when compared to the many cocktails, beers, and wines you can find on supermarket shelves. You can drink a tumbler of whisky without worrying about packing on the pounds thanks to its low sugar content.
- Boost Heart Health – Did you know that drinking whiskey can actually make your heart healthier? Aside from wine and dark beer, what other alcohols can claim that? Not only will whiskey reduce the risk of blood clots, but it will lower your stroke and heart attack risk as well. The antioxidants in whiskey stop cholesterol from clogging your arteries, and it can even boost your good cholesterol.
- Fight Cancer –– Whisky is rich in antioxidants, particularly one known as ellagic acid. This antioxidant stops your body’s DNA from coming in contact with cancer-causing compounds, reducing the risk of carcinogens forming. It can also protect your body from chemotherapy, and will reduce oxidation in your body.
- Improve Brain Health – A study conducted in 2003 discovered that drinking whisky reduces your risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia. If you’re worried that your brain is slowing down in your old age, it’s time to start drinking whiskey to protect your very important organ from damage.
- Reduce Stroke Risk –– Whisky not only helps to prevent cholesterol from building up in your arteries, but it can actually help to get rid of any cholesterol present in your blood vessels at the moment. It will also help to relax the walls of your arteries, ensuring that your blood can flow without obstruction. One of the greatest health benefits of whiskey is the reduced stroke risk, and we can all drink to that! Read more…
By andy • Jan 6th, 2015
Distillery launches Scotland’s first “Single Estate” whisky
Whisky production has started at Scotland’s first “single estate distillery” as part of an effort to highlight the benefits that estate and landowners bring to Scotland.
Ballindalloch Distillery is located on the estate of the same name in the Spey Valley, and officially began the distillation process in late September. Read more…