Littlemill and Glencairn partner for latest Private Cellar Collection bottling

September 6, 2019

Littlemill 29 year old, the latest expression from Littlemill’s Private Cellar collection, will be released this September, using liquid carefully selected from some of the last remaining casks to be laid down at the Littlemill Distillery, beautifully presented in a limited edition bespoke Glencairn crystal decanter.


Now recognised to have been the oldest licensed distillery in Scotland, the distillery fell silent in 1994 and was destroyed by fire in 2004, making this liquid exceptionally rare and covetable.


Littlemill 29 year old (RRP £2,750; 47.3% ABV) is the third release from the Private Cellar Collection, each crafted by Master Blender Michael Henry in Littlemill’s traditional Lowland ‘floral’ style. This latest release places particular emphasis on developing the wood character and only 600 bottles will be released across the world.


To ensure that the decanter and packaging echoed the exquisiteness of the liquid itself, Glencairn worked closely with Littlemill on every detail. The packaging concept had to echo the style and rarity of the whisky and bring its extraordinary home to life.


Each Glencairn crystal decanter is etched with an illustration of the River Clyde and a silver star signifying the Littlemill distillery’s location. Situated in Bowling on the banks for the River Clyde, it would prove to be a defining factor in the distillery’s success, opening important trade routes to key cities including Glasgow and Edinburgh when the Forth and Clyde Canal was completed in the 1790s.


Hand-engraved and hand-infilled by Glencairn’s specialist in-house team, each decanter is truly one of a kind and is individually numbered for exclusivity and collectability. The design also features a beautiful Scottish silver badge and collar both branded and finished with black infill. The branded silver stopper has a flower grade mirror ended cork which is of the highest quality.


The beautifully crafted presentation box also includes a 5cl miniature of the liquid, a piece of an original Littlemill cask, and a booklet sharing the fascinating history of the Littlemill distillery with tasting notes from Master Blender Michael Henry.


Master Blender Michael Henry explains how each of the Private Cellar releases have been crafted to deliver different flavour profiles while still retaining the original character of the Littlemill distillery:


“The latest expression in the Private Cellar collection helps to tell another piece of the Littlemill story. Littlemill has always represented the traditional Lowland ‘floral’ style, and over the years the distillation and maturation processes evolved to maintain this flavour profile.


“The first Private Cellar release in 2015 was designed to reflect Littlemill’s original quality and style. The second release in 2017 focussed more on the distillery influence, and by maturing the liquid in refill bourbon casks the distilling process became the main factor in defining the whisky’s character. Littlemill 29 year old, our 2019 release, focuses on the influence of wood.”


“The original liquid was laid down in refill bourbon casks in 1990. Seven of these were selected and combined, then finished in first-fill oloroso sherry and Limousin oak casks. The oloroso sherry adds further floral notes, similar to the traditional sherry casks used at the Littlemill distillery, while the Limousin oak provides the European oak influence. The result is unmistakably Littlemill, with delicious caramel sweetness layered with spice.”


Scott Davidson, Glencairn’s New Product Development Director, commented: “We are truly honoured to have worked with Littlemill to design and create a decanter to encase such a special whisky. Getting to understand the distillery, its heritage and people has been a privilege, as has evolving the story into something tangible within the look and feel of the packaging and bottle. We are incredibly proud to be part of this special launch.”


Littlemill Distillery has long laid claim to an extensive and fascinating history, but new historic documentary evidence unearthed from the archives now conclusively proves that it was the oldest licensed whisky distillery in Scotland, with recent records unearthed with dates the license from 2nd November 1773.


Brothers George and Archibald Buchanan – the original owners of Littlemill – were trailblazers for the rich tradition of Scottish whisky production, and Littlemill continued to lead the industry for over two centuries. Notably, it was one of the first distilleries to have a female licensee, Jane MacGregor, in 1823. Later, in 1931, under the stewardship of the American Duncan Thomas, Littlemill was at the forefront of still innovation with technical designs that could create three styles of single malts from full-bodied to light.


Whisky production at Littlemill, situated in Bowling on the banks of the River Clyde near Glasgow, continued until the distillery fell silent in 1994 and was subsequently destroyed by fire in 2004, never to produce a drop again.



Lanarkshire’s Glencairn Crystal posts record sales as whisky boom fuels demand

July 17, 2019


GLENCAIRN Crystal has recorded another year of double-digit growth as the booming popularity of high-end spirits brands stokes demand for the glassware it designs in Scotland.

Lanarkshire-based Glencairn grew sales to a record £11.3 million in the year to April 30, from £10.2m last time, after maintaining the strong growth it has achieved in recent years at home and overseas.

Owned by the Davidson family, Glencairn has become a global success story after capitalising on the premiumisation trend sweeping through the international drinks industry.

The company specialises in designing decanters and packaging which can be used to add lustre to drinks that malt whisky producers and the like target at affluent consumers.

Rapid economic growth in countries such as China has fuelled demand for drinks seen as prestigious.

Product development director Scott Davidson said in the past year the company had been commissioned by over 30 different brands to create bespoke packaging for some of the oldest and most luxurious single malt whiskies ever released.

Glencairn recently supplied nosing glasses and a jug for inclusion in a trunk produced to showcase Glenfarclas malts, which sells for over £100,000.

Mr Davidson said he had seen no signs that growth in the malt whisky market was starting to flag.

He noted Glencairn had also done well overseas after responding effectively to developments in other drinks markets.

The firm has won business from more than 400 craft distillers in the US. These include Tuthilltown and Garrison Brothers. Brown-Forman, which produces Jack Daniels bourbon, is a customer.

US sales topped £4m in the latest year. The figure includes around £1m online sales of the company’s whisky glass.

The glass has tapered sides, to help people enjoy the smell of its contents.

Mr Davidson said Glencairn has made good progress in China in recent months.

The company has worked with Chinese firms that are sourcing malts for use in limited edition bottlings, such as the Whisky Corporation. It is investigating opportunities to work with local drinks producers.

Glencairn has also received a boost to business as a result of the emergence of craft gin producers in the UK.

Mr Davidson noted it has produced promotional glassware used by firms such as St Andrews-based Eden Mill.

The wins have helped Glencairn consolidate its position as a leading player in an industry niche which it helped create.

The company’s potential was recognised by the London Stock Exchange in January. It was one of seven Scottish firms selected to join the ELITE programme for fast-growing companies.

Glencairn employs 10 people who work on assembling decorated decanters. This can involve applying specially designed metal parts to decanters the company buys in.

“It maybe only produces 50 pieces a day but it’s high value activity and very few people in the world are doing it,” said Mr Davidson.

The company has grown total employee numbers at its East Kilbride base to 65 in the latest year, from 60.Mr Davidson expects employee numbers to grow in the coming year.

Glencairn plans to boost production capacity. The firm wants to increase the number of tasks completed in Scotland to give it more control over its supply chain.

While Glencairn did not disclose details of profits Mr Davidson said it had performed strongly on that count.

Mr Davidson’s father Raymond founded Glencairn in 1981. He focused on niche markets after seeing the difficulties UK volume producers faced while working at Edinburgh Crystal.

Glencairn recruits Purchasing Director to drive global business

April 24, 2019

Scotland’s award-winning crystal company, Glencairn, has expanded its management team with the recruitment of a new Purchasing Director, James Crilly.


James joins the family run team alongside Managing Director Paul Davidson, New Product Development Director, Scott Davidson, and Sales Director Jason Kennedy at the business based in East Kilbride, just outside Glasgow.


Before taking up his new role at Glencairn Crystal, James worked at Inver House Distillers in Lanarkshire for 25 years, starting off in the Maturation and Blending team for the first four years. James then worked in Procurement and New Product Development for 21 years.


Having known and dealt with the Davidson family in his previous role in the drinks industry for over 15 years, James is excited to take up his new position at Glencairn Crystal and brings with him a wealth of experience in supply chain management, stock control, new product development and international industry contacts.


Originally from Coatbridge, James is married with a young daughter and enjoys spending time with his family and playing football. He also enjoys playing golf regularly in his free time and plays off a handicap of 10.


James said: “I’ve watched Glencairn Crystal grow from strength to strength over the last few years so I’m delighted to join the team at such an exciting point of the business and to be a part of their continued global growth and success”.


Glencairn Supply Glassware to WhiskyLive and GinLive

March 26, 2019

Gin & Whisky Live London 2019

The gin boom has resulted in hundreds of new and exciting brands of gin. The team behind Whisky Live and Gin Magazine are organising a brand-new gin festival in London, gathering gins from across the globe into a 2-day event. Sample a variety of gins in a beautiful marquee outside the Armoury House at the Honourable Artillery Company right in the city centre of London, receive the free Gin Live glass, attend classes with industry experts and enjoy cocktails mixed by masters.

The world’s premier whisky tasting show returns to the stunning surroundings of the Honourable Artillery Company on Friday 29 & Saturday 30 of March 2019. This historic 18th Century mansion, set in a six acre garden yet just a stone’s throw from Moorgate and Liverpool Street stations, provides a truly memorable backdrop to a great whisky experience. With a brand new whisky and gin-themed menu for 2019, Masterclasses, the VIP Lounge and exclusive private VIP pourings, Whisky Live London 2019 welcomes visitors from across the globe.

Producers from four corners of the globe gather to showcase their rare, unique and hard to find whiskies, as well as some of the more mainstream brands you would expect to find in specialist whisky retailers. With producers from Spain, the USA, Australia, Taiwan, Japan and of course Ireland & Scotland (as well as many other producing nations), this is a unique international whisky experience not to be missed, whether you’re an avid enthusiast or new to the exciting world of whisky.

This year’s Whisky Live new feature is the gin marquee outside the building. Entry is included in your Whisky Live ticket to enjoy an international array of gins.

Your free tickets include entry to your chosen show, samples of exhibited gins and whiskies, a 2-course meal, Gin or Whisky Live tasting glass and the relevant showguide (+Entry to the other show from 7pm on Friday and 2pm on Saturday).


Friday 29 March 2019
Entrance opens at 5pm and closes at 10pm

Saturday 30 March 2019
Entrance opens at 12pm and closes at 5pm.


The Honourable Artillery Company, Armoury House, City Road, London EC1Y 2BQ

Glencairn Crystal emphasise Scots roots amid global expansion

February 25, 2019

PREMIUM crystal glassware expert Glencairn Crystal was set up more than 40 years ago by Scott Davidson’s father. Davidson has now taken over the business, which he started working in aged just 10. The company has a huge stake of the international market as it is available in more than 70 countries and has plans for further expansion in Asia and the US.

Name: Scott Davidson

Age: 47

Position: Product development director


Glencairn Crystal


East Kilbride


MY father set it up almost 40 years ago. He started at Edinburgh Crystal putting company logos on decanters. Edinburgh Crystal couldn’t service customers well so we bought it over and that’s what we’ve been doing ever since. I grew up in the business.

My education is in computer science and electronics – not in anything artistic – but I have worked there since I was 10 and have been engraving crystals since age 14. Me and my brother have been in it from a very young age – officially almost 30 years, unofficially nearly 35.

I am originally from Airdrie and there are two distillers based there – Inner House Distillers and Burn Stewart distillers. My dad started there and the business just expanded.

When we started to expand we thought national would be good but it was actually easier to go international and go around the world – we are in hundreds of distillers in the US. Engaging with consumers around the world is easier than doing it here. We grew our market in the UK afterwards.

There are values in being a Scottish company. There is a quality aspect to the product which makes doing business easy and quite personable as well. We try to operate the business on family values – we are not some corporate entity that overrides the quality of the business. This kind of business works better abroad than people appreciate.


IT is hard to say. There are lots of different aspects to the business. We’ve got the glasses, bottles and decanters market. Interestingly we don’t really have competition in the UK. We have some in France from the old established crystal market and glassware market around the world. The skill is we developed the product for the global markets and we do a lot of the brand work here in our little factory. We are investing in hand-crafting in Scotland and are interested in the growing craftsmanship in Scotland. Scotland is core to who we are.


BESIDES the gift-giving market, working in the drinks industry is a large part of the business (more than 80%). The target market is consumers that appreciate whisky and spirits around the world. That market changes constantly – with [the popularity of] gin there is a bigger female market than ever. We are in more than 70 countries including Antarctica and we also supply a small whisky distillery in Patagonia. We are also in Taiwan, Japan, India and Scandinavia.

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