Dalmore 62: ‘Kingsmen’s choice’

SPYBITS (The Philippine Star) - February 24, 2015 - 12:00am

An American friend of mine who watched Kingsman: The Secret Service told me he was so intrigued by the reverence to Dalmore whisky that he found himself doing some research about the drink.  People who have seen the action flick (about a group of British ultra-elite super spies) would know he is referring to Dalmore 62, a single malt Scotch whisky so rare that the characters treat it with such respect: “Dalmore 62 – can’t let a drop hit the floor!”

Indeed, Kingsman has been getting very good reviews, with many saying it is even cooler than James Bond flicks because of the campy, irreverent British humor and fantastic scenes that make other spy thrillers seem slow and aged – not to mention the stylish suits straight out of Savile Row and of course, the choice of a very expensive liquor.

As my American friend noted, those who know their whisky would be familiar with the Dalmore Sinclair 62 produced by Whyte and Mackay (WM), which holds the record for being the most expensive bottle of whisky having been sold for £125,000 (about P8.5 million) at Changi Airport in Singapore to an anonymous Chinese businessman in 2011. He also discovered that it was the last of only 12 bottles by master blender Richard Paterson and named after Andrew Sinclair, a distillery manager who worked with WM for four decades.

Dubbed as “pure liquid gold” for obvious reasons, the Dalmore 62 has acquired legendary proportions with the spirit dating back to 1868, contained in a hand blown crystal decanter with the iconic, 12-pointed platinum stag head. When the sale to the anonymous businessman was announced, Paterson called it a “fantastic investment” since the Dalmore’s value has risen tenfold to £100,000 from the time it was first released in 2002 – a trend that is most likely to continue for other Dalmore collections now that interest has been heightened thanks to Kingsman, my friend commented.

But what really struck him most in the course of his rigorous research is the discovery that Whyte and Mackay was recently purchased by Filipino company Emperador Distillers for £430 million – information that I confirmed. In any case, my American friend is very happy to know that he will soon have the opportunity to enjoy the popular brands from the Glasgow-based distiller such as Jura, Dalmore and other WM blends.

I must say, my friend Andrew Tan has really struck “liquid gold” on this one.

‘Mano sa APO’

In our Feb. 17 column item titled “Passport delays feared,” we wrote about the concerns raised by certain quarters over the possibility of delays in the issuance of e-passports because of the reported “unavailability” of APO Production Unit – a government-owned and controlled corporation – for a meeting with Oberthur Technologies whose passport maintenance contract with the government recently expired.

We received an email from APO board chairman Mila Alora expressing their side and clarifying certain issues that were raised in the column item. According to Alora, APO took over from French firm Oberthur Technologies at the start of 2015 year when the latter’s contract with the government expired.

“While APO is under no obligation to work with Oberthur, there have been at least three meetings where discussions were held on the possibility of the French company to work with the GOCC in some form. This is contrary to claims that APO has been ‘unavailable’ for meetings with the former supplier,” Alora said.

“APO has assumed operational control of the personalization facilities of the Department of Foreign Affairs and is presently making repairs on the system left behind by the previous provider. The system has been subjected to numerous attacks and interferences immediately after the change in operational control. This is of course with the obvious aim of slowing down passport production,” she added, explaining that APO is working to complete the repairs and upgrades by the third quarter of March 2015. 

“It is understandable that Oberthur is not happy with losing the huge contract it had to supply passports for the Philippine government, but it is high time for Filipino experts to take over. Besides, the French firm still has an ongoing contract with the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas to supply the country’s currency,” the APO chair also noted, explaining that the transfer of the printing of passports from a foreign firm to a government owned and controlled corporation was under the auspices of the Presidential Communications Operations Office.

“It goes without saying that the government will be saving millions of pesos – dollars, actually, as payments to Oberthur are presumably in the most acceptable foreign currency, the greenback – under the new arrangement,” Alora noted.

With regard to the Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) controversy regarding an alleged rigged bidding involving a P59 million contract for the printing of seaman’s books, Alora maintains that the issue has no bearing on APO’s capability to provide e-Passports.

“The seafarer’s books are entirely different from APO’s projects with the DFA.  Allegations of the supposed ‘rigged bidding’ were never substantiated by any concrete evidence. More importantly, the issue has become irrelevant now because APO has been able to address all concerns and fully deliver the seaman’s books to the Marina way ahead of schedule,” Alora concluded.

Spy tidbit: ABS-CBN share prices soar

At the close of trading last Friday, the price per share for ABS-CBN stocks was at P61.00 – almost double the share price of P32.45 in January 2014 – with its market value also soaring to P53.2 billion from P27.6 billion in January last year. In contrast, GMA Network’s share prices closed at P6.30, lower than the P8.05 which was the shareholder price during the time when the group of Manny Pangilinan made an offer to purchase a 34 percent stake in the Kapuso Network, whose market value is currently placed at P 21.3 billion.

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Email: spybits08@gmail.com





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