The blended Islay malt is releasing its first age-stated expressions, starting with a 25-year-old.
Much cheering from the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) on Scotch whisky being according the status of a Geographical Indication (GI) in Botswana. But why?
GI status is reserved for products from a particular place with a particular character – Parma ham, Sherry and so on – and all WTO members must protect them from misuse. In other words, no fakes allowed.
Botswana imported less than £500,000-worth of Scotch in 2014 – a pimple on an elephant’s posterior in the global context of exports of nearly £4bn. But that figure was 163% up on 2013, and there’s a lot more Scotch which crosses the border from neighbouring South Africa.
Even so, the Botswana decision is worth talking about not for its intrinsic importance, but for its symbolic value as Scotch companies greedily eye the African continent’s emerging economies.
Oil is bringing wealth to Nigeria and Angola, international investment is piling in and, even back in 2012, consumer spending accounted for more than 60% of economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa, according to the World Bank.
The number of middle class Africans varies according to your definition of the term – could be 350m, could be 120m out of a total of about 1bn – but it’s rising fast, and large numbers of these people are beginning to have money to spend on more than the simple necessities of living and breathing.
For an equally large chunk of the populace, Scotch whisky is, to descend into marketing speak, a ‘highly aspirational’ product. In other words, buying a bottle of Johnnie Walker or Chivas Regal is one of the ultimate expressions of a person’s new-found and hard-won economic independence and freedom.
That’s the size of the prize for Scotch whisky companies in Africa. And that’s why the SWA is talking up Botswana.
- Blended malts return to the spotlight
- Springbank debuts duo of new malts
- The Old Fashioned: back to basics
- New whisky reviews: Batch 187
- Paterson and Bottura present Dalmore L’Anima
- Raasay opens single malt pre-orders for 2020
- Another Macallan Peter Blake up for auction
- Smoky Nectar launches Wemyss Malts Cask Club
- Japanese whisky faces its new future
- Big Peat 10 Year Old celebrates anniversary
Latest news 09 February 2017
The artwork for the 2017 limited edition whisky will feature more than 300 photos of whisky fans.
Festivals and events 07 November 2017
The annual Belgian drinks festival embodies the spirit of camaraderie like no other.
New Whiskies 21 December 2018
Dave Broom rounds out the year with a party of Pulteneys and Big Peat’s annual festive bottling.
Latest news 30 November 2018
Montgomery Scott is a blended whisky inspired by Scotty, the original series’ famous engineer.