When you’re a fan of fantastic scotch you must know Piers Adam. Though an Englishman by delivery, his coronary heart and soul belong to the Speyside of Scotland. Right here, beneath the shadow of among the world’s most storied single malt producers, this large metropolis nightlife impresario is quietly working the oldest whisky lodge in all the nation.
The argument can simply be made that an in a single day at The Craigellachie is each bit as important to a correct scotch pilgrimage as excursions of the distilleries themselves. And that’s all due to the imaginative and prescient of Adam, who bought the property again in 2014. He refurbished it right into a world class vacation spot with out sacrificing any of the well-worn attraction it amassed over a number of centuries.
Simply off the foyer you’ll enter The Quaich Bar, which holds some 800 bottles of the native spirit—a listing spanning all of Scotland and relationship again a long time. Downstairs is the country and comfy Copper Canine Pub. It’s an unforgettable locale for a pint paired alongside fish and chips. And in case you present up right here for dinner on any given evening, you’re fairly prone to discover legendary scotchmakers sharing area on the bar. Although you’d by no means know; these are humble craftswomen and males that court docket convivial dialog, not celeb or outsized consideration.
In 2019 Adam partnered with spirits large Diageo to conceive a blended malt named after this wondrous watering gap. Copper Dog initially launched within the UK, however it’s now making inroads right here within the US the place it usually retails for $30 a bottle.
Forbes sat down with Adam to be taught extra about his journey from the frenzied nightlife of London to the bucolic banks of the River Spey. Certain, the model he co-founded is eyeing continued growth within the 12 months forward and his lodge is as well-liked as ever. However as for his presence on the grand stage of scotch, that is simply the opening act.
You’re a Londoner with a pedigree tied to among the metropolis’s finest nightclubs. What introduced you to rural Scotland?
Piers Adam: I’m a seventh technology Londoner from my mom’s aspect. However my father’s dad and mom immigrated from Glasgow after the primary world conflict to London to search out work. As a toddler I had by no means been to Scotland. I all the time wished to go the place the solar and the match women had been—and that actually wasn’t Scotland! Nevertheless, throughout World Warfare II my father was evacuated from the bombing again to stick with family in Scotland. Earlier than he popped his clogs, my spouse prompt that I ought to take him again to Scotland to locations that he cherished and reminisced about. As quickly as I went to Speyside I used to be hypnotized by the fantastic thing about the world and the heat of the folks. And, in fact, the love of whisky.
What, particularly, introduced you into the world of scotch?
PA: As much as that time in my golf equipment I didn’t promote scotch. I used to be barely intimidated by the class however after I met a grasp blender on the Craigellachie, I requested him how one ought to drink, one’s whiskey. He replied, ‘Anyway you f**king need.’ I used to be impressed by their genius but in addition by their humility and accessibility.
Discuss in regards to the historical past of the Craigellachie Lodge.
PA: Speyside accounts for 70% of malt whisky. 1.2 billion bottles are exported yearly. It’s the equal what Champagne is to France, that is to scotch and Scotland. The lodge is nestled within the very coronary heart of Speyside the place the overwhelming majority of distilleries are inside a 20-mile radius. It dates again to 1703 and was prolonged in 1893 by a outstanding architect Charles Doig who revolutionized the way in which that whisky was distilled by means of the introduction of pagodas. This city can be considered the very coronary heart of whisky as a result of its the place the [distilling] group has been gathering for over 300 years.
What impressed you to buy it? And speak in regards to the modifications you’ve made since assuming possession.
PA: It was very troublesome on the time for banks to lend cash on accommodations as a result of it was the peak of the recession—and much more so to attempt to increase finance on a lodge in the course of rural Scotland. So I mortgaged all the things to accumulate it in 2014. We then needed to utterly renovate it because it had been unloved for many years. We wished to create one thing that was much less of a mattress and breakfast however extra like someone’s nation home. Ralph Lauren is my hero and creates a way of life model. That’s what we wished the Craigellachie to be. We additionally modified the situation of the Quaich bar which had been there for over 100 years and restored it to its unique place overlooking the River Spey.
Inform us extra in regards to the Quaich Bar.
PA: ‘Quaich’ means a cup of friendship; a cup of affection. It’s how warring tribes would settle their variations ingesting from the identical cup. James the Sixth of Scotland gave a Quaich as a marriage reward to his spouse. Additionally once they cease combating my poison is your poison. You can then belief the individual to not stab you. The Quaich was then synonymous with buddies coming collectively and it has over a 1000 single malt bottles in its cellars. All the things within the Quaich Bar is hand made utilizing native artisan furnishings makers. The wonder is within the totally different form of the bottles and the colours of the liquid and the design of the labels.
How did the Copper Canine come to be?
PA: I noticed a dipper in a bar with the identify Copper Canine. I believed, ‘What a improbable identify!’ It’s a steel tube that distillery employees would use to dip into the casks when their bosses weren’t watching. They’d put it down their trouser leg and smuggle it residence. Therefore, it was all the time by the proprietor’s aspect after which bought the identify copper canine—a person’s finest good friend. I believed the lodge had been ignored by locals for too lengthy and I wished it to be the locals’ native. So we determined to name the pub Copper Canine and restore it to its former glory—with its stunning stone partitions—as this was an instrument that the locals would admire and perceive. It was thereafter we had a lot of personal events the place among the nice British music scene and vogue scene people got here out and we gifted them a bottle of Copper Canine whisky which we had specifically curated.
And that was the delivery of the eponymous model?
PA: Sure. It was quickly thereafter, Diageo thought that this was a terrific resolution for an introductory model into malt. The explanation why I selected a blended malt is that individuals clearly imagine malt whisky is the best and single malt is revered as a premium product. I wished to allow a younger shopper—a brand new shopper. I wished folks to grasp the complexity of the mixing and by making a blended malt it will be step one in direction of understanding and absolutely appreciating single malt versus the way more ubiquitous blended scotch. We labored on 72 tastings with award successful grasp blender Stuart Robinson. Mainly, I noticed an enormous alternative to make scotch related. For me bourbon is about freedom and but scotch is simply stuffed with guidelines and regulation. I believed it will be improbable to create a liquid and a model that really portrayed Britain as being popular culture and never simply stiff conservative manufacturers. All the things I’ve ever achieved in bars and golf equipment is all the time making an attempt to make folks have enjoyable. I wished to do this with a whisky.
What’s subsequent for you and the Craigellachie Lodge?
PA: The Craigellachie is on the very coronary heart of the group and I wish to construct a world life-style model and hope to construct a world life-style from it—introducing the world to the among the handcrafted, traditions. Not simply scotch, however ciders, mixers, delicate drinks and take them to a broader viewers. Speyside is a magical world. A particular place for its magnificence and its merchandise. I actually wish to put this on the map for everybody in order that they’ll a way of this place, even when they haven’t skilled it in individual…But.