Euan Shand — In 140 Or Less
By Caroline Dewar
We’re all Tweeting, expressing ourselves in 140 characters or less. It seemed like a fun thing to ask whisky luminaries to express themselves in the format, but all in one place. It’s easier to read, and a lot easier to find. Here’s Euan Shand, Chairman of Duncan Taylor Scotch Whisky Ltd. (We gave him the spaces in his answers for free; they may go a bit over 140!)
Why Pasadena, CA now instead of Huntly, Aberdeenshire?
Pasadena is a gorgeous city, has great potential being near one of the largest whisky drinking conurbations in the world and is great for golf.
Better golf weather then! What’s the view from your office window?
I actually look onto a car park! Though it’s a nice one with lots of convertibles.
Bummer! I envisaged mountains or sea. You’re a motor racing fan. Do you follow Indy Car over there?
Forgot to mention I do see the San Gabriel mountains! How could I miss that? I love motor racing and do follow most of the US races, including American Le Mans Series.
What are the reasons for your different ranges? Short answer for each one, please.
Rarest: flagship, extremely rare and collectible; Tantalus: 40+ years old, dead distilleries; Octave: our pioneering octave range. I’ve got more ……
Go on then!
Singles: 20–40 YO; Dimensions 10: 20YO malts and grains; Smokin’: because it’s smokinnnn; Big Smoke: Islay.
What’s coming in the next few months from Duncan Taylor – anything special in the approaching holiday season?
An addition to Rarest, likely a 45 YO Bowmore. The entire new Tantalus range, all around 35 – 45 YO incl. Banff, Port Ellen, Glenrothes and more.
You have some beautiful packaging. Is it all done by your graphic designer?
All designs done in house plus we tap into the strengths of some of our friends who are craftsmen in wood.
You’re very lucky to have them.
Since buying DT Scotch you’ve won a slew of awards. Useful? Meaningful?
Always good but some mean MUCH more than others. We only get involved in blind tasting awards from real experts such as the Malt Maniacs, Whisky Advocate…
Your distillery build’s taken a while to start. Any particular finance, world economy, design or planning issues?
We’ve started the building process. We had environment issues, now resolved. I wanted to build using my own cash resources and have done so. No family trust fund here!
What were those issues?
I forgot to mention the bats and voles…
Protected wildlife! Where do they fit into the project?
As we are renovating a very old existing building we had to make sure that we didn’t do anything when the bats were mating, also any groundworks would upset the voles…
What about the green aspects? What are they? And how are the stills to be fired?
Was going to be all green but didn’t make financial sense to cost an extra £1m for wood chip heating etc. so that’s on the back burner, pardon the pun. I’m going for gas.
Bats and voles don’t burn too well either! When will it be finished?
Don’t you just love environmentalists… Finished July 2015 as it’s a reasonably large distillery, output circa 1.6m liters.
Any hankering still to buy a distillery in Scotland?
Yes, still want one, but it has to be the right one. Those that are available I’m not interested in. Not that there’s many around. Though I think there might be plenty soon.
Why is that?
There’s too many being built not of commercial size. If everyone fights their corner on uniqueness then that becomes old news and history shows that outcome.
Lots of craft distilling in the US – any ambition to start up production over there?
I’m currently in discussion with a US craft distiller, interesting project, can’t say too much at the moment.
Are you primarily a blends man or a malts man?
I like both but have most fun with blends….you can play about with them and come up with some wonderful taste profiles. Blends not blondes…
Your wife might object to the latter.
Luxe furniture range – nice idea. How’s it going?
It’s all new and being patented now. It’s our green contribution, reclaiming old casks to make bespoke furniture. Amazing craftspeople and the designs are stunning.
Social media – fan or foe?
Social media is wonderful. It gets to places that we would never have got to before, so I’m a fan.
Anything back home that you miss or can’t get over there?
I miss the wet, dreich, cold, dark, miserable winter nights. Other than that it’s all good, even get my favorite digestive biscuits here.