England is getting its first distillery.
Scotland is losing one of its top distillers.
Coincidence? I think not.
Iain Henderson, 69, who has created malts for Laphroaig and Chivas, has been overseeing establishment and startup of the St. George's Distillery in Norfolk, UK. Under his guidance, St. George's already has produced 250 casks, which equals 100,000 bottles. It has been put into oak casks for a three-year maturation before being put on the market.
Henderson (seen here), the holder of an industry lifetime achievement award for services to whisky, had been working at Edradour, a distillery in Perthshire, before taking the new post. Before that, he had been manager of Glenlivet, Ardbeg and Bladnoch.
"I must admit I took up the invitation to come south with some trepidation," Henderson told The Scotsman newspaper, "but I was completely intrigued by what they are doing down here and decided to give it a shot. It's been a lot of hard work to get a distillery up and running from scratch, but the results have been well worth it."
He added, "Lots of people have told me I've been disloyal in heading south of the border to make the first English whisky. It doesn't bother me one jot."
The new spirits has not yet been named, but we do know it cannot be called Scotch despite using traditional Scottish methods. Henderson, to mark the fact the new whisky is English, used East Anglian malt barley and yeast in his recipe.
The usually prickly Scotch Whisky Association hasn't objected to the newcomer, saying, "The fact that countries outside Scotland, including England, are keen to produce whisky is testament to Scotch whisky's success around the globe."
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