Scotland: Whisky & Distilleries
|Bowmore||12 years old||2|
|Hart Brothers||Balmenach||Hart Brothers 1979|
|Hart Brothers||Glen-Grant||Hart Brothers 29 years||1|
|Hart Brothers||Pulteney||Hart Brothers 12 years|
|Hart Brothers||StMagdalene||Hart Brothers 21 years|
|Hart Brothers||Tamdhu||Hart Brothers 33 years|
A very nice discussion with Christophe Gauthier,
export manager at Hart Brothers has been very useful as well. Unlike
Mark Reynier from Murray McDavid, the Hart Brothers' politics is
just marketing single cask bottlings.
The criteria to market a single malt seem to be very simple: the malt must please Alister Hart.
Bottling is a very serious job, and the number of available bottles is often very limited (because of the single cask bottling policy), and therefore reserved to a limited number of countries.
Only wooden corks are used and they are purchased directly at a renowned cork maker in Cognac.
Northern countries are very good customers for the independent bottlings, especially due to their love of high end quality. A very critical market, unlike those of Southern Countries like France or Italy, where the quality criteria are sometimes lower.
The French market is particularly flooded by low quality blends, which often have as result that people do not know what quality whisky is. If the French whisky market was reduced to the bottles marketed by some French companies selling cheap stuff (because bought in bulk for a derisory sum - less than one pound a litre...) one could understand that people like mixing whisky with cola, because it is not drinkable as is.
Single malt remains the national drink for Scots, and il will be consumed at all great occasions and festivals. Scots are a very proud nation, and whisky is their national drink? They will always try to share it with their guests. It remains a part of the Highlands culture.
Like most of the independent bottlers, one
of the dreams of the Hart Brothers is to own a distillery. This would
represent a huge investment which will not be profitable (if ever
it is) before 10 years. This dream will probably remain an unreachable
Why on earth an independent bottler would like to become owner of a distillery. Generally it is more for the prestige than a economic must. Independent bottling is a rather recent job and it was born with the new fancy for single malt. It is not really clear until now if the recent love for single malt is the result of the existence of the independent bottlers, or if the existence of independent bottlers is the result of that new fancy.
Generally, independent bottlers are blenders as well. This is their best warranty to continue to be able to get their whisky from the distilleries. We have to keep in mind that blends still represent 90% of the whisky sold through the world.
The single malt bottlings by independent bottlers is really marginal compared to the whole whisky production, and the distilleries have understood that the phenomenon of independent bottling is just good for them.
Some tacit rules which are generally obeyed in the world of blenders. For instance, they never will market single malt from distilleries which are represented in known collections belonging to distilleries, like for instance the UDV's Classic Malts. That's one of the reasons an independent bottler will hesitate before bottling a Lagavulin or Talisker. This could be damageable for is future supplying.
There are some exceptions, like the Cragganmore marketed by Signatory.
Unlike most of the other independent bottlers, Hart Brothers has currently only one whisky range.
Whisky is an alcoholic drink. Let's prefer quality to quantity as the abuse of alcohol beverages can damage the health. Consuming alcoholic drinks during pregnancy, even in small quantities, can seriously affect the health of the child. Consumption of alcohol impairs your ability to drive a car or operate machinery, and may cause health problems.
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The tasting notes
The production areas
|WDTS: blind tasting sessions||List of all distilleries||How whisky is made||Central Highlands, Eastern Highlands, Northern Highlands,Western Highlands|
|Recent tastings||Distillery owners||Whisky history||Speyside|
|Visitors notes||The independent bottlers||All the bottles in collection||Lowlands|
|Post your own notes||The distilleries in their historical context||By order of preference||Islay|
|Interactive map of the distilleries||By order of value for money||Campbeltown|