Overseas demand for rare blend
Buyers clamour for Scotch-Japanese whisky
A rare blend of Scotch and Japanese whiskies has proven so popular that its makers have today released a third version for whisky lovers around the world.
The Glover 18 is the latest n a series honouring ‘Scottish Samurai’ Thomas Blake Glover and celebrating the long history of trade and friendship between Scotland and Japan.
Its owners, Edinburgh-based TBG & Co, said the new edition has already attracted a ‘very promising’ number of international orders prior to today’s international launch.
The whisky brand takes its name from Thomas Blake Glover, nicknamed the Scottish Samurai because of the profound impact he had on the modernisation of Japan in the 19th century. Mr Glover was the first foreigner to receive the Order of the Rising Sun from the Japanese Emperor in recognition of his many achievements.
Jim Millar, a senior parliamentary adviser at Holyrood and director of TBG & Co, drove the idea.
He said: “The Glover whiskies are a celebration of Scotland’s influence and its international friendships. They honour the achievements of Thomas Blake Glover and celebrate our important relationship with Japan, which continues to flourish, especially in the fields of trade, culture and education.”
TBG & Co is now looking towards producing future variants with whiskies from other countries, with the team researching historical characters and options for casks from international single malt distilleries.
Director David Moore, an Asia veteran in the drinks sector and now Scotland-based, said: “The first two editions sold out almost immediately and were heavily over-subscribed, finding their way to 15 international markets.
“It’s clear there’s a strong market for these types of premium fusions between Scotch whisky and international whisky, which have their own unique character.”
Mr Moore highlighted the ongoing relationship with the Fife-based premium bottler Adelphi, whose managing director Alex Bruce blended mature whisky from Longmorn and Glen Garioch distilleries in Scotland with exceptionally rare whisky from the legendary Hanyu distillery in Japan to create the Glover fusions.
Mr Moore said: “There are only a handful of Hanyu casks left in the world. For the Glover, Alex has worked his magic with this highly sought-after whisky to hone and perfect a beautifully balanced and sublimely satisfying dram.”
He also said TBG & Co was looking at funding options from Scottish Development International and Scotland Food and Drink, and that the company was also looking to appoint a project manager to oversee current operations, with the likelihood of additional employees further down the line as the business grew.
He added: “Creating international fusions is not without its challenges, but the rewards are clearly there for people to see and taste. These whiskies are a celebration of Scotland’s internationalism, of its positive influence on other countries, of partnerships that reach across physical borders.”
He said “orders have been very promising” and cases of The Glover 18 are likely to be exported to more than 15 countries, including a significant amount to Japan. Domestically, previous editions of The Glover sold in luxury retailers Harvey Nichols and Harrods, as well as specialist whisky shops.
World-renowned whisky consultant Charles MacLean, who worked with Alex Bruce on creating the Glover fusions, also provided the tasting notes for the latest Glover brand.
The two previous editions of The Glover were launched simultaneously on 26 October 2015, in Tokyo and Aberdeen, where Thomas Glover is celebrated with an exhibition at the Maritime Museum, at an event that was also attended by Hajime Kitaoka, Consul General of Japan and Lord Bruce, Honorary Patron of the Japan Society of Scotland, and Councillor Jenny Laing, Leader of Aberdeen City Council. Glover was a native of Aberdeenshire and hails from Fraserburgh.
The 22-year-old version, of which only 373 were ever made, retailed at £1,050. Now sold out, bottles have appeared on online auction sites for more than £2,000 a bottle. About 1,500 of the 14 year old version were made, selling at about £100 a bottle, for which again there is a healthy premium secondary market.
Photo: David Moore (left) and Alex Bruce. (By Tina Norris)