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North-east whisky firm moves into south-east Asian market with products hitting the shelves in Kuala Lumpur

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Duncan Taylor Scotch Whisky has sealed a deal that brings some of their range of spirits to markets in Kuala Lumpur.

A north-east independent whisky bottler is celebrating after its products hit the shelves in Malaysia.

A large selection of the company’s portfolio including its Dimensions, Black Bull, a Premium Octave Dalmore and Indian Summer Gin is now available at Single and Available Whisky Shop in Kuala Lumpur.

Whisky being bottled at Duncan Taylor ready to be shipped out to Kuala Lumpur.

Sales director of the Huntly-based firm, Kirsty McLeod, said plans to get their products out to Malaysia had been in the pipeline for some time, but the coronanvirus pandemic outbreak meant the deal took longer than anticipated to get over the line.

She revealed: “I made the initial contact last year. Then the pandemic made things a wee bit tricky, but we set up a Zoom call which covered a lot and then we had another one after that.

Duncan Taylor Scotch Whisky’s sales director Kirsty McLeod.

“They were really very easy to work with. They knew about Duncan Taylor products and I knew about them as having a reputation for being a very good importer of specialist niche whiskies. We clicked, made that connection and started working on the first order which has just arrived there.

“Single and Available actually have a range of their own shops as well as being a distributor, so initially the products have gone into there.

“They have had a lot of problems with Covid-19 there, with a lot of restrictions and lockdowns which has obviously affected the launch. You can’t do tastings or launch events and, sadly, I have not been able to go out and visit them yet but I will do that once things open up again.”

The Dalmore 2004.

Target markets

Duncan Taylor exports its range of products all over the world with the move into Malaysia part of an overall push to getting more of their products to market over that side of the world, said Kirsty who has worked for the company for 20 years.

“We export a huge amount of our products, but Southeast Asia has been a target market for us recently so that was a really big step getting that one,” she added.

“We are working on others at the moment. In terms of the Far East we also work with two importers in China for various different brands, we export to Taiwan, as we have done for many years. It’s a very big market for us.

Duncan Taylor’s Black Bull 12 Year Old.

“It’s so amazing and each market is different. The passion out there for Scotch whisky is just incredible. You go to Singapore and there are these amazing whisky bars wall to wall with the most unusual whiskies, some that you wouldn’t even find here.

“As sales director, my main job is to oversee the global sales which does involve looking to target new markets, emerging markets where we see there is an opportunity and try to find the right partner, the right fit, which we are really confident that we have done here.”

The company’s Indian Summer Gin is now on sale in Malaysia.

Meant to be

Now, Kirsty, 47, is looking forward to a long and prosperous relationship with Single and Available – and getting out there when it’s possible to do so.

She added: “It has been tricky with Covid and it has slowed down the process and we were lucky to get the products in as quickly as we did.

Casks maturing at Duncan Taylor Scotch Whisky.

“In Malaysia you have to register your products and the government put a quota on it. Just as we got in they announced the cut-off or we would have had to wait another six months.

“Obviously it was meant to be, and we are in and we are getting started. Normally we would have planned a trip out and do some launch events but we are sure it will do well.”


Read more about Duncan Taylor…

‘We sold out in eight minutes!’: Duncan Taylor Scotch Whisky’s Octave proves a winner after Sunday Brunch slot

From LA law to whisky galore: How a trip to a distillery changed this woman’s life

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