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This distillery has hired a dog to ‘sniff out’ whiskey imperfections

Grant’s Whiskey distillery in Scotland has hired a cocker spaniel to detect whiskey imperfections in barrels

Rocco the sniffer dog

Grant’s Whiskey distillery has employed a meticulous quality control expert to detect imperfections in the barrels of its product. And new hire Rocco is all ears on how he can help to fine-tune the process. The one-year-old cocker spaniel has undergone extensive training with an expert and is tasked with sniffing the casks in which the whiskey is aged, looking out for any imperfections in the wood.

Trainer Stuart Phillips said: “A dog like Rocco has such a powerful natural sense of smell – around 40 times stronger than a human’s – and my job was to help him focus on identifying specific scents in the wood, and then communicating what he’s found to the Grant’s team.”

In his new specialist role, Rocco will nose his way through casks at the Girvan Grain and Ailsa Bay single malt whisky distilleries and report back to an appropriately named boss, the associate global brand director Chris Wooff, should he detect any issues at the cooperage.

Speaking about the new appointment, Wooff said: “Wood is a natural material, and the distilling of whisky is an organic process, so we want to make sure that everything is perfect as the whisky ages in the oak casks. We’ve specially selected and trained Rocco to pick up the scent of anything that’s not quite right as the whisky matures.”

As the Daily Record reports, the brand already uses state-of-the-art technology to detect imperfections in its product, but Grant’s sees added value in having a pooch on site.

“Mechanical ‘noses’ are widely used in the wine-making industry, but we wanted to maintain the tradition of our craft skills by using a dog’s natural super-sense of smell in our quality control process,” said Wooff. “Rocco’s ability to ‘nose’ a very large number of casks in a short space of time means he is a fantastic addition to our team of craftsmen.”

Any team members hoping for a cuddle will be disappointed. “Rocco is a working dog rather than a workplace pet, so we have guidelines in place to make sure he doesn’t get disturbed, but the boost in morale whenever he is around has been a joy to see,” said Wooff.





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