Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Water: why your single malt will only get more expensive

Water, water, every where,
And all the boards did shrink;
Water, water, every where,
Nor any drop to drink.
 ~ The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge


Taylor Coleridge's classic rhyme tells of the abundance of salt water surrounding the doomed mariner but in the world of single malt, thankfully it is pure fresh water that is the key ingredient to the production of an unforgettable scotch whisky. 


But pure water isn't in abundance, and the scalability of single malt production is limited by such factors. Diageo tried to circumvent this problem in 2003 by producing a so-called 'pure malt' Cardhu but the drinks giant was too clever by half. Rather than gaining appreciation in its Iberian target market, it courted controversy and had to back off by eventually dropping the 'pure malt' label and reintroducing Cardhu single malt to the United Stated market in 2010


Sukasa Style loves the Cardhu 12 year expression, as outlined in the recent #ScotchSunday post, our small segue into history today is there to remind us that global demand will outstrip supply. More distilleries are producing 40% alcohol by volume drinks so there fewer rabbits to pull out of the hat; there will be little choice but more expensive scotch even with bigger distilleries. 


As the excellent primer Eyewitness Companions - Whiskey states "It is fair to say that the most important single factor in distillery location has always been the availability of a reliable source of pure water. Everything else is secondary."

Eyewitness Companions - Whiskey (p. 21)

Eyewitness Companions - Whiskey (p. 22)
Source: Eyewitness Companions - Whiskey.
Editor-in-chief: Charles MacLean


Key takeaway: enjoy and savour your dram of single malt scotch because it will only get more expensive as the middle and upper classes in the world's most populated nations have more purchasing power and acquire a taste for it. Demand will outstrip supply and there simply is no substitute for single malt scotch.


Arijit Banik
 for SukasaStyle

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