Friday, December 30, 2016



Plenty of distilleries are lining up to cash in on the Whisky Boom, mainly Single Malts. Some of these are:

Annandale The Annandale distillery was closed in 1924, but production resumed in 2014.

Arbikie Arbikie is a large estate near Dundee. In 2014 they decided to build their own distillery.

Ardnamurchan The bottler Adelphi called itself a distillery long before they actually built one.

Ballindalloch Ballindalloch is one of Scotland’s smallest distilleries.

Daftmill The Daftmill micro-distillery has chosen not to release any of its whisky just yet.

Dalmunach Pernod Ricard / Chivas built the Dalmunach distillery in 2015 - and it’s beautiful.

Dornoch Dornoch distillery is a crowd funded project near the Dornoch Castle hotel.

Eden Mill The Eden Mill whisky distillery was established in 2014 - but it’s also a brewery.

Falkirk Development by Falkirk Distillery Company happens where Rosebank used to be.

Glasgow The Glasgow Distillery Company hardly seems like a ‘proper’ distillery right now.

GlenWyvis GlenWyvis says they will be the world’s first community owned distillery - eventually.

Harris The new Harris distillery on the Isle of Harris is also located on the Isle of Lewis.

Kingsbarns The Kingsbarns distillery started producing whisky in January 2015.

Loch Ewe Loch Ewe is kind of a ‘model’ distillery / tourist attraction. Whisky was never bottled.

Roseisle The massive Roseisle distillery was founded in 2009, but there’s no malt whisky yet.

Strathearn The Strathearn micro-distillery was producing malt whisky by the end of 2013.

Torabhaig The construction of Torabhaig on the Isle of Skye started in 2014 - and is unfinished.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016



What is Petroleum?
Petroleum (or crude oil) is a complex, naturally occurring liquid mixture containing mostly hydrocarbons, which contains compounds of oxygen, nitrogen and sulfur as well. It is also termed fossil fuel, formed by natural anaerobic decomposition of buried dead organisms, the age of which is typically millions of years, at times exceeding 600 million years. There is a general conception that when it is found under solid ground, that ground will be part of a desert, as is mainly the case today, with most petroleum reserves found in the sands of Saudi Arabia and the Middle East countries.

What is not known is that only a small portion of this crude oil came about as a consequence of decomposing dead organisms buried under solid ground. Most of the crude oil actually migrated to underground locations from under the seas! 70 percent of the earth’s surface is covered by water and the living organisms therein far exceed those on and under solid ground. The undersea organisms comprise of ancient fossilized organic materials, such as zooplankton and algae. Vast quantities of these remains settled to sea or lake bottoms, mixing with sediments and being buried under anoxic
conditions. As the number of layers increased with time, their density increased, causing a build up of intense heat and pressure in the lower regions. These conditions changed the organic matter into a waxy material known as ‘kerogen’. Petroleum is formed by the breaking down of large molecules of fats, oils and waxes that contribute to the formation of kerogen. 

Because petroleum is a fluid, and also due to continuous geologic tectonic movements, it is able to migrate through the earth as it forms. This migration is slow, over millions of years. Hydrocarbons migrate because oil and gas are less dense than water, so they try to rise toward the Earth's surface to
get above groundwater. Natural gas, being less dense, floats above the oil. This buoyancy tends to drive both oil and gas upwards. Typically, a hydrocarbon system must have a good migration pathway, such as a set of permeable fractures, in order for large volumes of hydrocarbons to move6. Oil companies pray for the absence of migration pathways, so that the oil and gaseous bodies become static pools.

Geological surveys look for large pools; extraction from small pools is not cost-effective, given the extremely high rates for leasing deepwater oil rigs (between US$ 450,000- 800,000 per day) and other working costs. To remain static, the pool or reservoir must be trapped by a non-porous rock
formation. The reservoir needs to have a cover of impervious rock that will prevent the passage of hydrocarbon fluids to the surface. This impervious rock covering the reservoir is called a cap rock. 

A hot and wet climate is conducive for the growth of large amounts of organisms. If this growth takes place in a shallow sea, the drying out of the environment and evaporation of the sea water leaves behind large deposits of salt. Salt is impervious to hydrocarbon fluids and makes an excellent cap rock. If migration is prevented by a geological folding of subsurface rocks, very large reservoirs are formed.

These were precisely the conditions that prevailed for eons in the Middle East, resulting in the enormous deposits of oil found in that region of the world10. Again, these are precisely the conditions that prevail in most tropical and subtropical continental shelves. The atmospheric and subsea conditions
in the Gulf of Mexico are ideal for oil pools from which the ‘black gold’ can be extracted gainfully. 

Sunday, November 20, 2016



This is something you didn't know. History says that The Mayflower sailed from Plymouth, England, bound for the New World with 102 passengers, on 16/9/1620. The ship was headed for Virginia, where the colonists–half religious dissenters and half entrepreneurs–had been authorized to settle by the British crown. However, stormy weather and navigational errors forced the Mayflower off course, and on November 21 the Pilgrims reached Massachusetts, where they founded the first permanent European settlement in New England in late December. This is the 'doctored' version.

They landed, for many reasons, on the tip of Cape Cod at what is now Provincetown, Massachusetts. A party of armed men was sent out to explore the area and find a location suitable for settlement. Three weeks later, some passengers went ashore at the site located by the advance party, to a place they named Plymouth. The trip was from Plymouth, England to Plymouth, New England. 

Actually, the ship had to stop at Newlyn in Cornwall on the Land's End peninsula in England before sailing west. It was believed that the water picked up at Plymouth had caused fever and cholera in the city, so Newlyn provided fresh water to the ship. 

The first landing in New England was because the ship was running out of beer. So they halted, went ashore and collected water so that the seamen-not passengers- might have more beer. The passengers demanded beer in place of water, as they were worried about contracting Cholera. The weather was intolerable, so all passengers returned to the ship to spend winter. They suffered an outbreak of a contagious disease described as a mixture of scurvy, pneumonia and tuberculosis. They drank beer, as far as possible, not water, as they thought that the water was unsafe. The beer was stored in barrels known as "hogsheads."
When it ended, there were only 53 passengers, just over half, still alive. Likewise, half of the crew died as well.

Friday, November 18, 2016



The Sumerians (the ancient inhabitants of Mesopotamia) are said to have discovered the beer fermentation process quite by chance. They must have liked it: They had a goddess of brewing, Ninkasi, and a hymn to her, which was the beer-making recipe put to music. Their successors, the Babylonians, knew how to brew 20 different types of beer. The recipes were recorded by scribes as early as 6,000 B.C. The ancient Egyptians made note of Ramses III, the pharaoh whose annual sacrifice of about 30,000 gallons of beer appeased ‘‘thirsty gods.’’

The modern term bridal joins the words bride and ale; a bride’s ale was brewed by a young woman’s family in preparation for wedding festivities.

The significance of beer in the average person’s diet was demonstrated at the landing of the Mayflower at Plymouth, in what is now Massachusetts. The Pilgrims were headed for Virginia, but the ship was running out of beer. So they halted, went ashore and drank water that the seamen might have more beer.

Beer production and sales played colourful parts in U.S. history. The first American brewery was opened in Lower Manhattan by the Dutch West Indies Company in 1632. The crude streets of New Amsterdam (today’s New York City) were first paved to help the horse-drawn beer wagons make better progress, which were so often stuck in the mud! 

Alcoholic beverages, often in combination with herbs, were considered the only liquids fit to drink, with good reason. Household water was commonly polluted. Milk could cause milk sickness (tuberculosis). But beer, ale, and wine were disease-free, tasty, and thirst-quenching, crucial qualities in societies that preserved food with salt and washed it down with a diet of starches.

In England the public house, or pub, developed during Saxon times as a place where people gathered for fellowship and pleasure. An evergreen bush on a pole outside meant ale was served. Each pub was identified by a sign with a picture of, for example, a Black Horse, White Swan, or Red Lion. These early ‘‘logos’’ were used because most people could not read.

When Europeans migrated to America, they brought the tavern with them. It was considered essential to a town’s welfare to have a place providing drink, lodging, and food. 

In Massachusetts in the 1650s, any town without a tavern was fined! Often the tavern was built near the church so that parishioners could warm up quickly after Sunday services held in unheated meetinghouses. A new town sometimes built its tavern before its church. As towns grew into cities and roads were built connecting them, taverns followed the roads.

It was also in the taverns that the spirit of revolution was born. These were the rendezvous spots for rebels, where groups like ‘the Sons of Liberty’ were formed and held their meetings. The Boston Tea Party was planned in Hancock Tavern, while in the Green Dragon, Paul Revere and 30 companions formed a committee to watch the troop movement of British soldiers.

When Americans pushed westward taverns sprang up along the routes west. As towns appeared the tavern was often the first building. Homes and merchants grew up around it. Drinking places without lodging started to appear. These kept the name tavern, while more elaborate inns adopted the term hotel. But the hotel kept its barroom; it was often a showplace, with a handsome mahogany bar and a well dressed bartender.


Prohibition was the best thing that could happen to the Scotch whisky industry and they were quick to capitalize on it. Prohibition in the United States was a national ban on the sale, production, and transportation of alcohol imposed on January 16, 1920, and repealed on December 5, 1933. One anomaly of the “Prohibition Act” (Volstead Act) was that it did not actually prohibit the consumption of alcohol; consumers quickly stockpiled liquor for their own use in late 1919, before sales of alcohol became illegal the following January.

The production of alcohol, although not necessarily its consumption, remained legal in neighboring countries. Canada imposed prohibition nationally from 1918 to 1920. Canadian provinces enacted their own prohibition for varying periods between 1901 to 1948. Distilleries and breweries in Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean flourished as their products were either consumed, were legal by visiting Americans or smuggled into the United States. The Detroit River, part of the border with Canada, was notoriously difficult to police and control, and soon became a bootlegger’s highway. Nassau, in the Bahamas, became a major center for the stockpiling of hard liquor destined for the American market and a staging ground for “rum runners.” When Washington complained to the London that British officials in Nassau were undermining its law, London refused to intervene. The province of Ontario enacted a prohibition on alcohol consumption from 1916 to 1927. The Ontario Temperance Act was the opposite of the Volstead Act. It prohibited the domestic consumption of alcohol, but continued to allow its manufacture and transshipment for export outside the province.

The Volstead Act had broad exemptions for the use of ethanol or grain alcohol for “fuel, dye and other lawful industries and practices, such as religious rituals.” Ten licenses were authorized for the production of “medicinal whiskey”, but only six companies applied for them. All of the companies had been in production prior to Prohibition and had stocks to sell. 

The law allowed physicians to “prescribe” up to one pint of whiskey per week to their patients for “medicinal purposes.” The American Medical Association subsequently lobbied the U.S. Congress to remove the limit on the amount of whiskey that could be prescribed on the basis that physicians were “better qualified to determine the therapeutic value of a substance and the proper rate of its prescription.” In addition, there were a variety of liqueurs, especially bitters, which were successfully reclassified as “medicines” and thus exempted from the Volstead Act. The Scotch malt whisky Laphroaig, a heavily peated, smoky, phenolic whisky from the Isle of Islay, a whisky that is often described as being “medicinal” in flavor, successfully had itself reclassified as a “medicine” by the Bureau of Alcohol, Fire Arms and Tobacco. So too did the blended Scotch, White Horse, which prominently features another phenolic, single malt from Islay, Lagavulin. The two Scotches were the only ones that could be legally imported during Prohibition and were available for sale at pharmacies. Their purchase required a prescription from a doctor.

Prohibition had predictable results on the Scotch whisky industry.The copious  quantities of home brewed “bathtub gin”notwithstanding, demand for hard liquor remained strong. This demand was met largely by bootleggers, many of whom were part of organized crime rings that flourished during this period. A combination of British and Scottish liquor producers, domestic Canadian spirit producers, and various Caribbean rum producers, largely met the bootleggers demand. The Scotch whisky industry, far larger than their Canadian and Caribbean competitors, and already far more sophisticated in its marketing and distribution than their foreign rivals, was ideally positioned to capitalize on the burgeoning American demand.

Whisky producers stockpiled inventory in locations convenient for smugglers. Whisky exports to the Bahamas, for example, increased from 944 gallons in 1918 to more than 386,000 gallons in 1922, and they continued to increase as Prohibition progressed. Similar Scotch “depots” were established in Havana, the Turks and Caicos Islands, and on Grand Cayman. Comparable warehouses were set up in St. Johns, Newfoundland, and the French islands of St. Pierre and Miquelon in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Scotch was also shipped to the province of Ontario for transshipment to the United States. The Detroit River was a major thoroughfare for the smuggling of illicit liquor. It was difficult to police despite the number of revenue agents assigned to patrol it. In 1927 for example, records from the Ontario provincial government show that boats carrying a total of 3,388,016 gallons of “hard liquor” had left Windsor, Ontario for Detroit. In that year, US agents were able to seize only a paltry 148,211 gallons—roughly four percent of what was shipped.

The economics of bootlegging were not unlike those of the contemporary drug trade. Smugglers would pick up stock in an offshore “depot” like Nassau and proceed to the mainland where they would wait just outside the US 12-mile territorial limit. As long as they remained outside of US territorial waters they were technically exempt from US jurisdiction. In reality, aggressive Coast Guard patrols often stopped and boarded smugglers and seized their goods as contraband.

 Fast motorboats from the mainland would go out to the “mother ship” to pick up cargo and deliver it to shore. Landed on the coast, prices would double again. Delivered to a warehouse in a major city and from there to a local “speakeasy” would see another doubling at each stage. By the time a bottle of Scotch had traveled from Nassau to a “speakeasy” in New York, the price could have increased by a factor of 16 times. If the liquor was diluted the profits were even larger.

Most Scotch whisky exports were in the form of bottled stock. That made it more difficult to tamper with the contents and to adulterate them. The result was that of all of the illicit liquor being smuggled into the United States, Scotch whisky consistently had the higher quality. Exports from Canada and the Caribbean were usually in barrel form and were bottled after arriving in the United States. This made it easier to dilute the contents and the quality of the resulting product suffered accordingly. The Scotch whisky industry was also in an ideal position to increase production to meet the American demand. The superiority of Scotch among the other smuggled hard liquors would serve the industry well when Prohibition was repealed, and led to an immediate increase in the relative market share enjoyed by Scotch whisky in the American market. To this day Scotch whisky has maintained a dominant market position in the United States.

Saturday, August 13, 2016



It is believed that Frere Road in Kirkee Cantonment was named after Sir Henry Bartle Edward Frere, 1st Baronet GCB CGSI (29 March 1815 – 29 May 1884), a British colonial administrator. He had a successful career in India rising to become Governor of Bombay.

Frere was born at Clydach House, Clydach, Monmouthshire, the son of Edward Frere, manager of Clydach Ironworks and Mary Ann Green. His elder sister, Mary Anne Frere was born circa 1802 in Clydach, and his younger sister Frances Anne Frere was born circa 1819 in Clydach. He was the grandson of John Frere and a nephew of John Hookham FrereWilliam FrereBartholomew Frere;James Hatley Frere; and Temple Frere – canon of St Peters, Westminster. He was educated at the East India Company College.

On 10 October 1844, he married Catherine Arthur (born c.1821 in Honduras), daughter of Sir George Arthur, 1st Baronet who was the Governor of Bombay and to whom he had been appointed private secretary two years earlier. They had five children.

After leaving the East India Company College Frere was appointed a writer in the Bombay (now  Mumbai) civil service in 1834. Having passed his language examination, he was appointed assistant collector at Poona (now Pune) in 1835, and in 1842 he was chosen as private secretary to Sir George ArthurGovernor of Bombay.

He became a member of the Viceroy's Council in 1859, and in 1862 was appointed Governor of Bombay, where he continued his policy of municipal improvements, establishing the Deccan College at Pune, as well as a college for instructing Indians in civil engineering. His order to pull down the ramparts of the old Fort allowed the city to grow, and theFlora Fountain was commissioned in his honour. During Frere's administration his daughter, Mary Frere, collected Old Deccan Days (1868), the first English-language field-collected book of Indian folklore.  Some maintain that Frere Road was named after Mary Frere. 

Along with Burr Road, this road provided the British Army and Civil Servants 
the ability to move freely in Kirkee Cantonment. The CO, his 2i/c and the Adjutant had magnificent bungalows, with stables, outhouses, external kitchens, pantries, riderboys’ accommodation and so on. The Officer’s Mess was a colonial castle.