A Double Scotch: How Chivas Regal and The Glenlivet Became Global Icons
A Double Scotch: How Chivas Regal and The Glenlivet Became Global Icons

A Double Scotch: How Chivas Regal and The Glenlivet Became Global Icons

by F. Paul Pacult

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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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780471720058
Publisher: Wiley
Publication date: 04/08/2005
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 256
File size: 3 MB

About the Author

F. PAUL PACULT is the founding editor and publisher of the newsletter F. Paul Pacult's Spirit Journal – The Quarterly Independent Guide to Distilled Spirits, Beers, and Wines, now in its fifteenth year of publication. He is the author of the critically acclaimed book American Still Life: The Jim Beam Story and the Making of the World's #1 Bourbon, from Wiley, as well as Kindred Spirits and The Beer Essentials. He is the wine and spirits columnist for Sky, the Delta Air Lines in-flight magazine; a contributing editor and the spirits tasting director for Wine Enthusiast magazine; a contributor to CARGO; a special projects editor for the New York Times Magazine; and the judging director at the annual San Francisco World Spirits Competition. He is also honored to be the only journalist worldwide to be a member of The Bourbon Hall of Fame, a member of the Armagnac Company of Musketeers, and a life member of The Keepers of the Quaich Scotch Whisky Society. Paul lives in Wallkill, New York.

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Table of Contents

Foreword by Patrick Ricard.

Preface: Sparks and Bonfires in Whiskyland.



Prologue: The Guid Auld Drink.

1. AMagic of Locality.

2. Reaching the Boiling Point.

3. George Smith, Glenlivet, and Ancient Liberties.

4. The Great Era of Smuggling.

5. The Glenlivet.

6. Timely Passages.

7. Smoking Guns and Castles Three.

8. From On-the-Job Terror to Purveyor to Her Majesty.

9. Panicked Grouse and the End of a Defining Era.


10. A Father’s Dreams.

11. The Chivas Brothers Company.

12. Such a Character as the Late Mr. Smith.

13. The Magic Words: Chivas Regal.

14. The Gallant Major’s Whisky, O!


15. A Spirit of No Common Rate.

16. Young Men of Conspicuous Gallantry.

17. Mr. Sam and Scotland’s Prince of Whiskies.

18. Drams of America.

19. Mr. Sam’s Historic Scotch Whisky Gambit.

20. The Joining of Two Scotch Whisky Giants.

Epilogue: The World of Opportunities.

Appendix A: Whisky Talk.

Appendix B: Personal Tasting Evaluations.



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