A Double Scotch tells the intertwined success stories of Chivas Regal and The Glenlivet—two Scotch whisky brands recognized the world-over for their unparalleled quality. Founded by Scottish grocers from Aberdeen, Chivas Regal stands as the world’s most popular prestige blended Scotch. First distilled by a pistol-packing Highlander, The Glenlivet is today the top-selling single-malt Scotch in America. F. Paul Pacult explores these two iconic spirits and tells the remarkable story of the two families who endured numerous hardships to build their brands. A business book that goes down easy, A Double Scotch tells the story of the world’s favorite whiskies, and the story of the nation and families that made them so.
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"Scotch whisky is a mystery, a magic of locality. A foreigner may import not only the Scottish barley but Scottish water, Scottish distilling apparatus, and set a Scot to work on them, but the glory evaporates: it will not travel."
—Ivor Brown, British essayist and novelist
Fortunately, though the "magic" and "glory" of Scottish distilling processes are not exportable, the finished product is. No alcoholic beverage in the world is so closely and immediately identified with its homeland as Scotch. And two brands exemplify and symbolize the world-renowned quality and prestige of Scotch whisky—Chivas Regal and The Glenlivet.
In A Double Scotch, celebrated beverage author, journalist, and columnist F. Paul Pacult tells the stirring story of how two families forever changed the Scotch whisky playing field by producing benchmark whiskies that, over time, became standards of excellence, not just in Scotland, but the world over.
Set against the spectacular, craggy backdrop of the Scottish Highlands, this multigenerational saga offers a study in contrasts between families as different from each other as the exquisitely blended Chivas Regal is from The Glenlivet, the quintessential single-malt Scotch.
You'll meet the Chivas brothers, James and John, an ambitious pair of upscale Aberdeen grocers who never owned or operated a distillery, but elevated the process of blending whiskies to a fine and very profitable art. The father-and-son team of George and John Gordon Smith, on the other hand, were hardy Highlands farmers from the Glenlivet district of Banffshire whose sideline malt whisky business became too lucrative to remain a part-time pursuit.
For all of their differences, the Smiths and the Chivas brothers shared a common dedication to quality, authenticity, and customer service. It was that dedication that helped both families weather a storm of cutthroat competition that, along with excessive taxation and ill-advised government interference in the whisky trade, gave birth to an infamous era of widespread skullduggery, illicit distilling, rioting, smuggling, and even murder. Through it all, these two families—along with their flagship brands—not only survived but also transformed their local craft by creating first a nationwide, then a worldwide market for their products.
Amidst this remarkable tale of family drama, business intrigue, and bloody mayhem, Pacult taps into a deep vein of dry Scottish humor and infallible common sense. Served neat, A Double Scotch will whet the whistle of Scotch lovers, Scotland aficionados, and business enthusiasts alike.From the Back Cover:
Praise for A DOUBLE SCOTCH
"A Double Scotch tells the tale of how two men from farming stock, George Smith and James Chivas, found themselves as central figures in the birth of the modern whisky industry and who by hard work, hard-nosed determination—and some luck—created what were to become known as 'brands.' The pace is fast, the tone light but punchy, witty, and informed. Pacult has also uncovered facts that have been ignored by other whisky scholars and along the way, punctures some of the myths which have sprung up around the drink. Pour yourself a dram and dive in."
—Dave Broom, Whisky journalist, United Kingdom
"Clear, concise, informative, and full of wonderful personalities, A Double Scotch is a fascinating look at the distiller's art and the business that supports it. F. Paul Pacult's research is meticulous and his storytelling fluent. I enjoyed it mightily. What more could one want?"
—David Wondrich Esquire
"F. Paul Pacult has literally poured himself into his work (and, to be sure, his work into him). . . . A Double Scotch is as vital and aromatic as a wee dram sitting by the reader's side. Make it a double!"
—Duncan Christy Editorial Director, Sky magazine
"Scotch whisky, Scotland's gift to the world, developed, grew, and succeeded through the skill and tenacity of colorful and resourceful individuals. In A Double Scotch, these characters and the tribulations they had to overcome are brought to life, making the book a joy for all who wish to understand what has made Scotch whisky the global success it is today."
—Campbell Evans Scotch Whisky Association Edinburgh, Scotland
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