In brief

06 April, 2007

Burn Stewart Distillers has appointed a brand ambassador for the company. Former Oddbins and Springbank Distillery employee Donald Colville has been taken on to promote the company's brands globally. Colville will help to grow Black Bottle and Scottish Leader blended Scotch whiskies as well as the company's single malts, Bunnahabhain, Deanston and Tobermory.

A spirit made from cactus pears has been released in the UK - 150 years after British soldiers helped islanders first distil it. Tungi, pronounced Toon-jee, is produced on the Atlantic island of Saint Helena and is made from prickly, or cactus, pears which grow wild there.

The spirit is hand-distilled and bottled in a Tungi stairs flask, based on the island's famous Jacob's Ladder landmark. It has an abv of 43.2 per cent and retails at around £26.99.

Organisers of the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival are expecting a record 12,000 visitors this year. The annual festival, which runs from May 3 to 7 and allows attendees to visit distilleries not usually open to the public, will be supported by a food fair for the first time. Visitors will also get the chance to sample and judge the six finalists in the 2007 Speyside Whisky Awards. For more information go to

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Few things can bring communal pleasure so intimately as wine. Apart from a hot tub, perhaps. Sport can trigger mass jubilation, film gives us shared empathy, but wine has a nigh-unique ability to bestow conviviality among us through a shared bottle – which makes it especially galling that we spend so much time divided over it.

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Is blended Scotch overshadowed by single malt in retailers?

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