TOP SELLING SCOTTISH SINGLE MALTS More people are drinking more single malt Scotch than ever before –over 100m bottles in 2017 alone. Nothing tells us better than the fact that there are two ‘millionaire’ single malts on the market: Glenfiddich and The Glenlivet both sell more than 1m nine-litre cases of whisky a year, soon to be joined by Macallan. The biggest mover is not a single malt at all, but blended malt Monkey Shoulder. William Grant & Sons’ handle this little beauty. A really confusing one is Diageo’s Singleton, it covers three malt distilleries: Dufftown, Glen Ord and Glendullan. How, why? Below are sales of nine-litre cases single malt. Glenfiddich IPA. Sales in 2017: 1.22m cases popular in: Duty free, US, UK.  In 1886, the manager of Mortlach Distillery in Dufftown decided to go it alone, putting his life savings and considerable effort to build his own plant by the banks of the Fiddich river. William Grant would not believe what has happened since: more than 1m nine-litre cases a year sold around the world and the distillery undergoing further expansion today.

The Glenlivet. Sales in 2017: 1.07m cases popular in: US, duty free, Taiwan, Canada. Chivas Brothers/Pernod Ricard Bill Smith Grant began a push behind The Glenlivet in the US in the 1950s, annual sales stood at less than 700 cases; in 2017, they topped 1m cases for the fourth year running, with the US accounting for about 40% of that figure. Glenlivet – Pernod Ricard in 2001, their ambition was been to make it the world’s best-selling single malt – which it achieved briefly in 2014, before being overtaken again by main rival Glenfiddich.

Macallan – Edrington owned. Sales in 2017: 907,000 cases popular in: US, duty free, Taiwan. . Macallan dominates the rare whisky auctions, has become the world’s most lucrative single malt whisky, too many nitters with too much money out there. Its annual revenues are only beaten by four Scotch whisky brands, the big blends of Johnnie Walker, Chivas Regal, Ballantine’s and Grant’s. The recently-opened, £140m new distillery, was it really just that? Am sure it was more, even so, having been there a few times, it still needs a wee bit o’ help here and there.

Singleton of Dufftown 12 year old. Sales in 2017: 518,000 cases popular in: Taiwan, duty free. Diageo Singleton is a creation to take on the might of Glenfiddich and The Glenlivet. Take three malt distilleries – Dufftown, Glen Ord and Glendullan – and bring them together under one umbrella brand. Historically, each had a regional focus (Europe, Asia and North America respectively). While 12-year-old whiskies form the core, a bunch of age-stated and NAS expressions play around the lids, including the oldest yet, a 40-year-old Singleton of Glendullan. Confused? I am totally – so is it a blend or is it a single?

Glenmorangie Signet Sales in 2017: 508,000 cases popular in…: US, duty free, UK, Taiwan. Moët Hennessy/LVMH Celebrating the 175th anniversary in Tain, Glenmorangie was one of the pioneers of the malt boom – but was already marketing itself as a single malt back in the Victorian age. By 2020, the distillery will have expanded further, with a new still house housing two more stills currently under construction. Hmmm, why another building with stills? Confused yet again.  Too many releases for my liking.

Here’s one that shook me – Balvenie DoubleWood Sales in 2017: 335,500 cases popular in…: US, Taiwan, duty free, another William Grant & Sons bottle. Balvenie’s liquid has been overseen by one man, David Stewart MBE, his contribution has been recognised through the DCS Compendium concept – a run of five annual releases of high end single cask single malts, arranged thematically and chosen by Stewart himself. I love their drams, even if some are a wee bit on the expensive side. Great distillery tour by the way.

Laphroaig Sales in 2017: 306,000 cases popular in…: US, duty free, Germany. A Beam Suntory jobbie, it now finds itself under the same roof as fellow Islay distillery in Bowmore, since Japanese group Suntory bought US-based Beam Global in 2014. Laphroaig was being sold as a single malt almost a century ago; more recently, pressure on stocks has led to a growing number of NAS bottlings and the withdrawal of some age statements.

Aberlour A’Bunadh Sales in 2017: 297,000 cases popular in…: France, UK, a Chivas Brothers/Pernod Ricard one. More than 40 years of French ownership have given Aberlour a strong following in France surprise surprise. A’Bunadh,is a 100% Sherry matured, cask strength single malt released in batches since the year 2000 – a no-age-statement success story from the days before NAS cynicism set in.

Glen Grant casks  popular in… Italy, France, Germany, Campari Group whisky, established by brothers John and James Grant, with John’s son (also John, but better known as ‘The Major’) setting up the distillery to produce the trademark Glen Grant new make style of light, fresh and fruity. In the late 19th century, Glen Grant’s whiskies were found all over the world. Italy remains its biggest market. Campari oversaw a revamp of the core range in 2016, with age-stated whiskies created by master distiller Dennis Malcolm OBE, who was born at the distillery in 1946.

Exports of Scotch Whisky – first six months of 2017

VOLUME BOTTLE S(70cl) % change                           VALUE £ GBP % change

WORLD (not UK) 528 million -2.2%                           WORLD (not UK) 1,777,013,819 3.4%


FRANCE 85.9 million -6.8%                                           USA 387,943,976 8.6%

USA 58.7m 10.5%                                                             FRANCE 198,117,427 -0.2%

INDIA 39.4m -4.0%                                                          SINGAPORE 112,470,298 12.9%

GERMANY 26.2m 7.3%                                                   GERMANY 77,336,113 5.1%

SPAIN 25.8m -14.0%                                                       TAIWAN 70,593,924 -5.5%

MEXICO 19.8m 7.1%                                                       SPAIN 69,859,624 -5.6%

SINGAPORE 19.7m 5.6%                                                UNITED ARAB EMIRATES 52,194,571 -17.4%

SOUTH AFRICA 18.2m -2.5%                                        AUSTRALIA 44,467,364 1.7%

BRAZIL 15m -36.3%                                                         JAPAN 42,863,990 19.4%

JAPAN 14.6m 11.3%                                                        MEXICO 40,989,876 12.0%

AUSTRALIA 14.3m 13.6%                                               NETHERLANDS 39,707,562 10.6%

LATVIA 11.9m 78.8%                                                       LATVIA 39,392,224 99.3%

NETHERLANDS 11.2m -7.8%                                         INDIA 38,833,048 -8.8%

POLAND 10.7m -0.5%                                                     CANADA 35,265,040 11.3%

UNITED ARAB EMIRATES 10.4m -22.7%                   SOUTH AFRICA 33,500,388 -16.1%

ITALY 9m 25.6%                                                                SOUTH KOREA 30,886,606 -26.5%

TAIWAN 8.5m -1.1%                                                        CHINA 26,909,783 45.3%

THAILAND 7.2m -25.1%                                                 POLAND 24,384,116 13.5%

CHINA 6.8m 25.9%                                                          TURKEY 23,619,517 -9.8%

TURKEY 6m -5.6%                                                             BRAZIL 22,463,356 -20.2%