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Thread: Product Naming

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Central Arizona (near Prescott), U.S.A.

    Product Naming

    A reference in a different thread to Dalmore Cigar Malt started me thinking about names. The fact that I'm on my third drink this afternoon has lowered my inhibitions to the point where I'm going to post some ramblings on the subject.

    First, does anyone know why the word "cigar" appears in the name of this scotch? Tastes like a cigar? The color of a cigar? (If so, with what type wrapper? Claro? Maduro?) Goes well with a cigar? Different than other scotch in that regard? Is it a Welsh word? (What language do they speak in Scotland, anyway?)

    Then there's the almost ubiquitous "The". For example, why don't they just use "Macallan"? Why is the "The" included in the registered trademark for this product? It seems rather pretentious to me, to the point that I almost stutter if I try to say it. I've noticed several others similarly named; it's not peculiar to Macallan (or should I say "The Macallan"?).

    One could argue that "The" is no more pretentious, and no less informative, than the "Old" in so many bourbon names. After all, it's easy enough to put the age of the product on the label, making the use of the word "Old" unnecessary. And don't get me started on "Very", much less "Very Very".

    Finally, is there a comprehensive pronunciation guide for the hundreds of scotch whiskies? I tried to ask a counterman about a couple of "L....." scotches (I thought one rhymed with "javelin" the other with "leap frog" ) yesterday while I was shopping for a peaty example for future exploration, and at first he didn't recognize either of them. I'd bet it's because I wasn't even close on the pronunciation.

    While I was there, I glanced through a book by Jim Murray only to find that he seldom gives the pronunciation. By chance I did find "La gah VOO lin", which I never would have guessed. Sheesh!

    Yours truly,
    Dave Morefield

  2. #2
    Bourbonian of the Year 2003 and Super Moderator
    Join Date
    Feb 2002

    Re: Product Naming

    I can explain one thing Dave, Bear in mind that this is tongue in cheek , hell I could have a field day with that one! Very and Very Very are actually holdovers from a more ancient time , when spirits and the drinking of them had a more reverant quality and use in the service and worship of ones God. You have to go back to the time when miracles of turning water to wine at weddings , and parables being told on the " Mount" Verily Verily I say unto you, pass the Barton. I say unto you that whosoever abides with me Etc Etc. Of course then we have the temple whores ran out of the synagog ( in all actuality should have been Sinagog) They take up smoking cigarettes and leaning on lampposts , A few town drunks tanishes the sterling image that drink once had...... The scrupulous distillers of the day need to distance themselves from all the shenanigans and negative qualities of the religious frauds and hucksters ( All was well at the beginning) . So verily become Very Old and for a while it was a reference to the halcyon days when all was pure , and the pure in heart knew what it meant. Now it is a tired but tried and true marketing tool.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Pelham, AL

    Re: Product Naming

    Hmmm, Dave. The one thing you asked that I can give an answer to is that the old language of Scotland (the one most whiskeys are named in) was a dialect of Gaelic. Most of the Scots ancestors were from Ireland. Funny how in recent times they basically hate each others' guts. Another broad dialect of Gaelic is/was spoken in Wales. I think it is there that Gaelic still has the strongest influence.

    All three of those areas now speak dialects of English, but all are very proud of their Gaelic heritage.


  4. #4
    Advanced Taster
    Join Date
    Jul 2002

    Re: Product Naming

    Hey Dave, check out these websites....

    This one gives a decent list of scotches, their names and how to prounounce them:


    But you might find this one a tad more interesting. The list here is longer and includes sound bytes. So you can hear for yourself the Scottish twist on "leap frog"


    Once you get to the main page of this site, click on "Learn About Malts" and then click on "Pronunciation".

    I can't speak for The Macallan but The Glenlivet was legally afforded the The designation in 1880. I imagine they had good claims to being the original distillery in the "glen of the livet" in order to be dubbed "The". I read that scotch whiskies that are either similar in style or close geographically to "The" can use the word "glenlivet" in their name but it must be attached to the rest of their name and hyphenated such as "Dufftown-Glenlivet" or "Glenkeith-Glenlivet". In fact, I've seen the name "Macallan-Glenlivet" before. Is this the former name of The Macallan? Does anybody know?

    And about the cigar malt. I was glad to see your questions because I was a little afraid to ask any myself. Cigar Malt? Sounds like a bad milkshake.....also conjures up images of stogey stubs floating in half drunken bottles of rot gut. Sorry. I like an occasional cigar and am learning as I go about scotch but that name struck me as more than odd.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Bryan, Ohio

    Re: Product Naming

    Dont forget, Dave, that Ancient Ancient = 10 Years !


  6. #6
    Administrator in exile
    Join Date
    Aug 2002

    Re: Product Naming

    "Dont forget, Dave, that Ancient Ancient = 10 Years !"

    Unless it is followed by "10 star" in which case you subtract from 10 the square root of 16 and add some inferior whiskey

  7. #7
    Advanced Taster
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    Pittsburgh, PA, USA

    Re: Product Naming


    THE Glenlivet sought the copyright on the name because other distilleries were trying to capitalize on it. After THE Glenlivet became a big favorite (and big seller), other distilleries nearby tried to get a piece of the action by tacking on the word "Glenlivet" to their names. The other distilleries could do this since they were located in the glen of the Livet River (although for some that was a very tenuous claim). THE Glenlivet simply wanted to make it clear that unless the bottle said "THE Glenlivet", it was not from THE Glenlivet distllery. I agree using "The" is--in most cases--pretentious (i.e., The Macallan, The Dalmore), but I think The Glenlivet had (and still has) a legitimate reason for including it in its name.

    As for The Dalmore Cigar Malt, it's name simply reflects the distiller's opinion that this version of Dalmore would go well with a cigar. It is a rich, rounded version with a great deal of sherry-casked whisky (and a great deal of caramel coloring). Based on my experiences with this malt, I would agree that it is a fine after-dinner dram that would be good with a cigar.

    It's funny you should mention Laphroaig (pronounced "la-FROYG") reminding you of "leap frog," because leap frog is a nickname for this malt. In fact, a coupld of years ago, independent bottler Murray McDavid released a bottling of Laphroaig. But, the distillery sued claiming copyright infringement. So, Murrary McDavid called it Leapfrog. The Laphroaig people were still pissed and sought to prevent MMc from using that name as well, claiming that everyone knew "leapfrog" was a nickname for its malt. Eventually, they settled the suit and Murray McDavid was permitted to use the name Laphroaig on its bottlings of that malt.


  8. #8
    Advanced Taster
    Join Date
    Jun 2000
    Pittsburgh, PA

    Re: Product Naming

    Here's another take on the "The" topic. Don't forget that Highland Scotland was, and still is, a country of fiercely independent families or clans, each with their own heraldry and tartan pattern. When a man went out in public, he wore his tartan proudly, and in a symbolic sense his whole family went with him. A slight against one member of a clan was a slight against all (take that to Appalachia and you have the Hatfields and McCoys). The leader of a clan stood for all of his clan in councils or in war, and many interclan disputes were settled by individual battles between the leaders or champions of each clan. So in a basic way the leader of clan McGregor was The McGregor, the embodiment of the clan. To a Scottie, the appelation "The" would thus imply pre-eminence.

    Just my theory, folks...

    Ralph Wilps



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