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From what Marcin says, he didn't ask, or isn't telling what he was told. It's disappointing , but I certainly didn't intend to accuse him of turning to the Dark Side
Please reconsider - your contributions to this thread have been enormously important and tremendously helpful in getting us to this stage in this thread.
I know that it has been a long and frustrating path, but if we give up now the Dark Side will succeed in evading any final reckoning for their behaviour which can only be described as an arrogant and contemptuous dismissal of entirely reasonable
requests for them to stand behind their claims. The mind truly boggles that in this day and age when all the business schools teach that the customer is king ( except in Japan, where the customer is God ) and companies allocate huge amounts of their marketing budgets to generate and sustain good customer relations, David Cox, in effect, sticks two fingers up and says p*ss off!
But not even David Cox can string out for ever the evasion - sooner or later the truth will out, but only if people like you stick with the thread. Surely nothing would suit the Macallan better than for this thread to fizzle out.
And sooner rather than later. if the Macallan do not come up with firm evidence, supported by unarguable facts, someone is going to open this subject up to a much wider public - and possibly much more damaging publcity for the Macallan.
Stay with us - the best is yet to come!
PS My point about Dominic was that he is not an investigative journalist and we cannot expect Whisky Magazine to go to war with the Macallan over this. The magazine is playing its part by providing the platform on which this little drama can be played out.
Iain, don't pull out. If it weren't for your relentless pressure, we'd never had gotten this far.
If Macallan had real evidence for the existence of these 'ghost' companies and bottlers, they would have presented it given all the pressure. Therefore, my assumption is that they don't have any. I really hope they will show my assumption to be wrong, but I somehow doubt it .....
While we are waiting for the Macallan to answer all of the questions ( I should live so long!) they have so far failed to answer, how about a little survey to help pass the time?
It is very simple - all you have to do is post a one word answer to the following question -
As a result of the attitude taken by David Cox and his colleagues,
do I now believe a single word the Macallan says?
Just post your answer - Yes or No
So, if anyone else (Erik?) has evidence that McWilliam operated a shop in Craigellachie in 1856, please make it public!
se for your selves: http://www.marketwire.com/mw/release_ht ... e_id=58696
It's just amazing! Here are a couple of quotes from the press release. Both are attributed to Mark Izatt, US Brand Manager for Macallan.
1. Our new advertising campaign will help the brand become the most valuable single malt in the eyes of the consumer.
2.Only a brand as revered as The Macallan can introduce a fine and rare collection like this with such credibility.
Who else but a (no doubt highly-paid ) PR company could use the words < Macallan > and < credibility > in the same sentence and make it sound positive!!
Do, please, go to the website and read the press release See for yourself how sadly out of touch with what people really think about them The Macallan are.
Credibility? Most valuable? - yeah, right!
"Bosses at one of Scotland's top distillers may have wasted UK£500,000 buying fake bottles of their own whisky...
Experts believe the Mafia set up the dram scam, attracted by the huge profits to be made simply by printing fake labels and filling bottles with cheap whisky..."
November 03, 2003
Mcallan begins testing for fake vintage malts
By Shirley English
ONE of Scotland’s leading malt whisky distilleries is testing more than 100 of its rarest, vintage bottles amid fears that some may be worthless fakes planted on the collectors’ market by unscrupulous dealers.
The Macallan distillery has asked experts to check the authenticity of a number of antique malts held in its £500,000 collection at the Macallan Museum in Craig-ellachie, Moray.
The Edrington Group, which owns the Macallan brand, claims it is the only whisky producer in Scotland to respond to growing industry fears about dealers with Mafia links selling fake vintage single malts from the 19th and early 20th century.
Few antique whisky bottles are ever opened by the collectors who buy them and some dealers may have been tempted to falsely label bottles containing cheap whisky and pass them off as the genuine article.
To maintain the confidence of collectors the Macallan distillery has commissioned three tests to be carried out on the glass, paper and whisky of each vintage bottle at its museum. Two of the tests, undertaken by renowned independent experts, including a paper specialist from Southeby’s, have shown that the paper used on the labels and the bottling glass are genuine. The result of taste tests are expected within the next few months.
The distillery said tests had started on an additional group of bottles at the museum carrying labels which say the whisky was “bottled by John McWilliam of Craigellachie” in the 19th century. Some of the bottles were bought from private collections and are said to have originated in Italy, provoking speculation about a possible Mafia scam.
But the distillery dismissed that as “absolutely ridiculous” and said it had complete confidence in the authenticity of the suspect bottles. Emrys Inker, of Edrington Group, said: “Where you have collectors involved there is always the potential that you will have some unscrupulous people trying to pass off fakes. But the market for rare single malts is still relatively small and unlikely to have attracted the attention of a major operator.”
Questions have been raised about the provenance of the John McWilliam of Craigellachie bottles because no census records show a man of that name living in the village until the 1900s. But the distillery claims to have a photograph of McWilliam’s village shop dating from Victorian times.
The stakes are high. Norman Shelley, an English businessman, recently paid a record £231,400 for 76 bottles of The Macallan, many with the John McWilliam label.
I said back in September in this forum that the Macallan's arrogant and dismissive attitude towards perfectly reasonable interest in the provenance of their whisky would eventually reach a wider audience. And it has.
So what spin do the Macallan try to put on the story? That they are the only whisky producer carrying out tests, clearly implying that they are more responsible than the other producers!
How sad is that?
I've found a "John McWilliam draper, grocer and spirit dealer (branch)" in Craigellachie in Kelly's Directory of Scotland for 1899. It would be easy to find out more in Elgin, but I live a lot further away than our friends at Mac do - perhaps they can go to the library and establish when Mr McW opened his shop there?
It's not difficult - it would only take a couple of hours, max.
I'm sure you wouldn't get away with that in, say, a whisky magazine.
Casting doubts on a product's authenticity, and then offering to run a "feature" followed by a double-page (and very expensive?)advertising spread designed to reassure the public that the product is authentic after all.
Only a very cocky or cynical publisher would try to pull off such a stunt.
And only a very daft or desperate whisky company would fall for it
No-one enjoys a conspiracy theory more than me - I mean, can there be anyone who believes that Oswald killed JFK, or Sirhan killed RFK, or James Earl Ray killed Martin Luther King? - but in this case, I think you are wrong. I have done a little bit of advertising work, and major advertisers plan and book their space months ahead, so I guess it is just a coincidence.
As for a cynical - not to say corrupt - publisher panning a product in print to persuade the producer to buy advertising space, it tends to work the other way. Advertisers are much more likely to support a publisher who only ever writes good things about them.
Or who never writes anything bad about them, even when their behaviour and attitude is a flagrant and sustained failure of accepted producer /consumer relationships.
Erm, hang on - isn't this where we came in?
"major advertisers plan and book their space months ahead, so I guess it is just a coincidence. "
Indeed they do - and the debate on this forum began on 1 Jan 2003 after the appearance of Dave Broom's article in Whisky Magazine No.28, in 2002!
WM visited a certain Speyside distillery several months ago to visit their "vintage" cellar (a gushing article appeared in the mag soon after), but I'm sure that's just a coincidence...
Iain says this thread started on January 1 2003.
Seems appropriate therefore that we should all observe a minutes silence on January 1 2004 at say 12.00 hours in memory of a once proud and highly-respected whisky producer.
Some of us may also intend to make it one of our New Years resolutions not to drink a single dram of that producer's products in 2004.
PS any other suggestions for New Year resolutions about whisky?
As a matter of interest, Iain, does the Mac website carry - even in the smallest type tucked away in the least accessible corner - any caution to prospective bidders that , at least as far as I know, the Macallan are still waiting for/ have still to make public the definitive results of the tests on the authenticity of the 2003 offerings?
And if Whisky Magazine is throwing its weight behind the clarification of malt whisky descriptions after the Diageo /Cardhu
episode ( see the Latest News forum on this website), is it not about time that it added its weight to the Fake Macallan saga?
Incidentally, the thread about the Diageo/Cardhu episode is really interesting with some of the longest postings ever seen on this website. Do look at it.
Personally I think the campaign to clarify the descriptions on the label is all a bit overblown. Since a lot of infrequent buyers of malt whisky probably won't know exactly what pure or vatted means - and between them they purchase an awful lot of malt whisky, why not just have 2 categories - Single Malt and Malt.
On the label the individual malts contained in the bottle would be clearly listed thus:
Joe Bloggs Single Malt Whisky
(contains Joe Bloggs Single Malt Whisky)
Fred Smith Malt Whisky
(contains Old Barmy Ben Malt Whisky
Unwashed Socks Malt Whisky
Sweaty Kilt Malt Whisky)
What could be easier to understand? Who need 5 categories and a hallmark? What matters it if the distillery which produced a Single Malt is long gone? Or the label is a Supermarket own brand instead of a made-up mythical Scottish icon?
Surely what counts is what is actually in the bottle.
As the great George Dubya is prone to say -
Keep it Stupid. Simple
I thought that Mr. Roskrow piece in WM 36 stating that the MAcallan debate issue was badly handled hinted at possible censorship of posts. So I wrote a post on that issue and the removal of John Haydock's column. I thought I'd repost it here since this is where most of the Macallan debate has been ongoing --at least up to now!
To the editors:
Upon reading issue 36 of Whisky Magazine, I was a little disappointed with the removal of John Haydock’s column. His pieces were often funny and always refreshingly irreverent; I will miss them.
I thought the tone of the new column by Mr. Roskrow -- Haydock’s replacement -- was inappropriately self-congratulatory considering the glaring editing mistakes under his watch. Take the lead editorial piece in issue 35 for example: Marcin Miller wrote about a whisky exhibition by the owner of La Maison du Whisky which took place at the Palais du Tokyo (sic). Unfortunately, the venerable place is called Le Palais de Tokyo. This error was repeated twice in the otherwise excellent editorial by Marcin Miller. Surely some responsibility for this mistake falls on Mr. Roskrow. Though I was not expecting a correction in the next issue, I certainly did not think the editor would subsequently have his own column!
To add to this, I thought Mr. Roskrow’s rambling on the Macallan debates on whisky magazine’s forum to be disingenuous at best. While I do not agree with most of what was said on the forum regarding The Macallan, it is misleading for Mr. Roskrow to present himself as the holder of objectivity while Whisky Magazine accepts money in exchange for advertisement space from the owners of The Macallan.
Whisky Magazine has a forum on the website of the magazine, and a great one at that, lets hope a statement that Whisky Magazine does not necessarily agree with the opinion expressed on it will suffice to calm the marketing departments of corporate conglomerates (which own almost all whisky distilleries these days). I daresay that evicting the participants whose post upset the financial powers that be would be a mistake and not what I would expect from Whisky Magazine. Then again, look what happened to Haydock.
Iain's posting drew my attention to the column by Dominic in issue 36 of Whisky Magazine in which he writes of < the weird other world> of this website and < the idea of individals with pseudomyms passing judgements on others and drawing all sorts of conclusions as to what is going on as bizarre >
Pseudonyms are, of course, widely used, even as Iain points out, in Whisky Magazine. Dominic's previous life in the rock music industry will also have brought him into contact with a large number of people not using their real names. His implied criticism that people using pseudonyms are less able to examine the facts, draw conclusions based on those facts and pass judgement than people who use their own names seems. well, bizarre in itself.
As to the implication that there is something weird about people using the forums on a website, perhaps Dominic needs a gentle reminder from Marcin that successful, professional editors do not, as a general rule, make derogatory remarks about their readers - at least not in public.
For my part, I will come clean. I started using the pseudonym
Rudolph Hucker ( rude ole *ucker - geddit?? ) because I thought it was funny. My real name is Colin Willsher, and as some of you may know, including Eric Huurman, I worked for Whisky Magazine for 2 years on the sales and marketing side. And I know Dominic.
I have from time to time sought to present an objective view on these forums of the difficulties faced by an editor in the Fake Macallan situation, and specifically recall defending Dominic against comments from other users, alleging that he was not acting as an investigative journalist.
Since my knowledge of whisky is limited - unlike Dominic who has clearly become an expert in a year - my contributions have never been about any technical aspect of whisky production. My comments about the Fake Macallan situation have focused on the customer relations aspects, which with nearly 40 years experience in sales and marketing I do feel qualified to comment on.
My position remains that the way the Macallan have handled this matter - regardless of the provenance of the whisky itself - has displayed both arrogance and contempt for the customer.
Perhaps it is because Dominic does < believe in the integrity of The Macallan > that he falls into the same trap with the comments he has made. Calling some of your readers <weird > and their behaviour <bizarre> seems to me to be much the same sort of attitude as The Macallan undoubtedly has about some users of this forum who persist in asking awkward questions.
Dominic thinks a great deal has changed in his year as editor. As he well knows the objective measure of an editor's success is the
number of copies his publcation sells.
So will he please post on this forum the total number of copies sold for issue 27 and the total number of copies sold for issue 36?
Not the totals printed, or the totals distributed by any means such as complimentary copies. The number of copies actually sold by subscription and at newsstand.
For my part, this will be my last contribution to these forums - under any name - unless of course Dominic fails to post the sales figures, in which case I will post them.
As you know, it is not very often that I feel compelled to get involved in the forum. I view its role as being precisely that, a forum. A place serving as a medium for topical debate. That's why postings are seldom (ever?) edited or deleted. I believe in freedom of speech.
However, it appears that this thread is becoming personal and that is not what it is about.
I wanted to respond as Dominic is away from his desk for the rest of the week and is unlikely to read this post until next week. So these thoughts are mine. Dominic's views may be entirely different.
The whole topic of pseudonyms is an interesting one. Rudolph / Colin is not the only one who is under the impression that Dominic's column was about him. Others have taken a similar line but no-one else has outed themselves yet. I imagine Dominic was making a general point as there would be little point in doing otherwise.
For my part, I have found many of the postings in this thread very objective and informed. And entertaining.
Which is what the magazine tries to be. Under Dominic's editorship the content of the magazine has shifted significantly and for the better.
On that note, I will declare that my name is really Dave - and I live in West Van(couver) and "hic" all I have to say on the subject is:
"Friends don't let friends scribe drunk - Don't drink and scribe!!!"... Now... carry on...
P.S. - and what's all this fuss about pseudo-nymphs anyway... "hic" oh, ... never mind.
I don't think the Craigellachie grocer issue has been resolved yet. I know of the existence of the photo, but, although I have not seen it myself, I have been in touch with someone who has seen it and he says he can't find the name McWilliam on the photo anywhere.
It may be that another photo has turned up, but if it has and it can be dated to around the year in question and clearly shows McWilliam's name on a shop front or something, then why oh why does Macallan not simply publish the photo in WM or on their web-site?? Hardly sensitive information I'd say ..... If WM for whatever reason does not have the space to publish the photo and Macallan feels it doesn't really fit on their web-site, then I hereby offer Macallan space in "Celtic Spirit" (http://www.celticmalts.com/journal.htm) for a piece in which the photo is published together with any dating or other information on the photo. This offer will remain open from today; all they need to do is contact me.
As I think (hope!) I've made clear in this forum and also in my piece in WM, my intention is and has always been to push Macallan into providing their evidence to the public (i.e. their potential customers). I don't wish to see Macallan in this trouble and certainly don't secretly hope some of the bottles are fakes. I just want to get to the bottom of it as there are too many things here which don't fit.
As I have said before, all the concern over labelling inconsistencies can be wiped off the table in one sweep by Macallan making all the results of their chemical tests available to the public. And with that I mean of course showing the public the actual data, not a statement refering to the tests and concluding that there is nothing to worry about without giving people the opportunity to draw their own conclusions from the unedited data. First the results were promised in September last year, then it was said there was a delay and now it appears to have disappeared off the radar altogether. Have those tests been conducted? If not when will they be? Again, space is hereby offered in "Celtic Spirit" for presenting the full and unedited results if Macallan so wishes.
Lex (not a pseudonym)
I note that no acknowledgement of the glaring editing mistake in issue 35 ("Le Palais du (sic) Tokyo") was made neither by Mr. Miller nor by the self congratulatory but conveniently absent new editor.
That was disappointing.
But perhaps they think there was no mistake and/or have not even bothered to check? Whether motivated by ignorance or arrogance, this refusal to admit the most basic of mistakes is clearly not indicative of good editing standards, Dominic's and Miller's commentary to the contrary notwhitstanding, of course.
Oliver (aka Oliver)
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