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Scotch Whisky by John Lamond

In November 2016, my sister contacted me to advise that she had friends in New Zealand who owned two casks of Speyside Single Malt Scotch Whisky. It turned out that these were filled on December 18, 2000. She advised me that Jim and Brigid (the friends) wanted to have them bottled and would I help them? I am a nice guy; of course I would.

Thus began a veritable saga.

Initially, I thought, "Piece of cake!" How wrong I was. It didn't take me long to find a bottler prepared to take in the casks and with the capacity to bottle them. What took a great deal of time was getting them moved to the bottler's premises from the warehouse that Jim, Brigid and I were under the impression they were stored in.

A plethora of unanswered phone calls, unreturned voicemail messages, unanswered e-mails over the next five months finally forced me to contact a friend who worked for the distiller and ask him for his assistance. Even then, it wasn't until the end of July 2017 before I was able to speak with the company's Managing Director, who informed me that there had been some miscommunication between Jim and Brigid and the company.

The result was: (a) The casks were not where we thought they were; (b) the letter that had prompted Jim and Brigid to start the attempt to have them bottled had not told them that they had to move the casks out of the warehouse -- it merely stated that the company had sold the land on which its warehouses stood, and (c) the company was moving these casks, along with thousands of others, to another warehouse complex elsewhere in Scotland.

Having taken these initial steps to have the casks bottled, Jim and Brigid decided that they would continue in that quest. We are now 10 months in...and the saga continues.

The full text of this article is available in the Summer 2018 issue of Scottish Life.

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