Sales to Asia's aficionados of premium
Scotch whisky have steadily
grown in importance to distillers in recent years. An auction
of some of Scotland's finest in Hong Kong in November saw 100% of lots sold, including a bottle of 42-year old Black Bowmore that sold for 30,940 Hong Kong dollars (about US$4,000).
Overall exports of Scotch whisky to Asia fell 9% last year. But at the top end of the market, distiller Morrison Bowmore has seen 'consistent double-digit growth' in sales in Asia of its single malts over the past three years, says David Pattison, the firm's emerging markets manager.
去年苏格兰威士忌对亚洲的总体出口量下降了9%。但高档苏格兰威士忌生产商Morrison Bowmore的新兴市场经理帕蒂森(David Pattison)说，该公司单一麦芽苏格兰威士忌在亚洲的销量过去三年一直以两位数增长。
Scotsman Mr. Pattison has enjoyed a 'wee dram' or two with some of the firm's wealthiest clients throughout Asia -- all in the name of business, of course. He talked to Duncan Mavin in Hong Kong. The following interview
has been edited.
WSJ: How much of your job in Asia is about educating buyers?
Mr. Pattison: There's no question that education is a significant
part of the job. Single malt is still a relatively
in Asia and there are a lot of buyers who still don't know a Scotch whisky from an Irish whiskey
or even a Cognac.
WSJ: Is it possible to define
an 'Asian taste' when it comes to spirits?
Mr. Pattison: Yes and no. If anything, Chinese consumers tend to favor an easier taste on the palette, going for the sweeter, sherry-matured whiskey
s. Japanese are a bit more adventurous
. They are curious about the different regions and like to experiment.
WSJ: What surprises you about Asia's appetite
for single malts?
Mr. Pattison: Western markets have favored blended whiskey
s for over a century and only gradually moved toward single malts. Asian consumers bypassed that trend.
What's more, we are seeing
base develop in Asia too. Some people are buying two bottles -- one to drink and the other as an investment
WSJ: What's the best single malt tasting experience you've had in Asia?
Mr. Pattison: Two years ago, in Singapore, I spent a very special evening tasting four wonderful whiskey
s: a Highland Park Cask, a Macallan 50 year-old, a Macallan 1973 and a 1964 White Bowmore. It's hard to explain what makes one tasting stand out -- a lot is about the company with whom you are enjoying the experience -- but I do recall an excellent 1964 Cuban cigar, which was the perfect complement.
帕蒂森：两年前在新加坡，我曾经在一个非常特别的夜晚品尝了四种美妙的威士忌，它们是Highland Park Cask、有50年酒龄的Macallan、一种1973年出产的Macallan以及一种1964年出产的White Bowmore。难以解释是何原因使得某种口味的威士忌尤其惹人喜爱──这很大程度上取决于和你一同饮酒的是些什么人──但我确实对吸过的一种1964年产高品质古巴雪茄难以忘怀，这真是一种佳品。
WSJ: What advice do you have for anyone looking to start a collection
of single malts?
Mr. Pattison: First, look for malts that have a reputation
for collectability and investment
. Second, look for releases where there are only a limited
number of bottles available
-- say less than 1,000. And third, look for releases from distilleries which have closed but have a limited
stock line that is made available
from time to time.