Front Cover of 'On the Production of Pot-Still Whisky'

Ruth Herd and Alan Wolstenholme will discuss the work of translating from Japanese to English ‘On the Production Methods of Pot-Still Whisky’, a key text in the history of the Japanese whisky industry.

In the winter of 1920, Masataka Taketsuru, with his new wife Rita in tow, arrived in Campbeltown, a small town on the west coast of Scotland. The young Japanese had been fortunate enough to secure an invitation to undergo practical training in pot still whisky manufacture at the Hazelburn Distillery, then the largest of the Campbeltown distilleries. Four months later, he had completed his report. Taketsuru would go on to establish his own company – Nikka Whisky. Today Nikka’s whiskies are known the world over, and frequently win awards.

The report formed the cornerstone of the nascent Japanese whisky industry. It is also significant in that it provides a snapshot of Scotch whisky production as carried out a century ago in the town once dubbed the ‘whisky capital of the world’.

The first English translation of Taketsuru’s report, which took the form of two handwritten notebooks, was published by Dr. Ruth Herd in the summer of 2021. This seminar will introduce the notebooks and highlight their historical significance. She is joined by Prof. Alan Wolstenholme, technical editor of the translation, and grandson of Peter Margach Innes, manager of Hazelburn at the time of Taketsuru’s visit.

This CLCC Research Seminar will be delivered online only. Please register using the eventbrite link (below) to confirm your place.