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Rocco’s first day in the dream job as Grant’s Whisky’s official sniffer dog with his boss, Mr Wooff.

19th May 2021: Whisky lovers pride themselves on their nose for a dram, but they have nothing on Rocco, a one year old cocker spaniel who has just landed the dream job in the spirits industry - being given the run of the Grant’s Whisky distillery in Girvan, Scotland.

Rocco’s job is to sniff out the quality of the casks at the cooperage, where wooden barrels are made by highly skilled craftsmen who use traditional techniques to prepare them to protect and help perfect Grant’s Whisky for years.

When he’s done checking out the quality of the wood in the cooperage, Rocco noses around the rest of the distillery to make sure that everything is going to plan. If Rocco picks up the scent of anything that needs attention, it gets reported to Grant’s top dog, Associate Global Brand Director Chris Wooff.

Mr Wooff said: “Wood is a natural material, and the distilling of whisky is an organic process, so our job for Grant’s Whisky is to make sure that everything is perfect as the whisky ages in the oak casks. The sense of smell of a dog like Rocco is 40 times stronger than a human’s, and we’ve specially selected and trained Rocco to pick up the scent of anything that’s not quite right as the whisky matures.

“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. 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.”

Before taking up his new role, Rocco went through six months of intensive training with dog training expert Stuart Phillips in Pembrokeshire, Wales, to hone his natural skills. Trainer Stuart used a number of cask samples from the Grant’s distillery to build a training ground for Rocco. He said: “A dog like Rocco has such a powerful natural sense of smell that 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.”

To make sure that Rocco feels right at home and is on call night and day, Grant’s craftsmen have built him a kennel right outside the distillery in South Ayrshire, Scotland, and he is cared for by Team Leader Lianne Noble, who prepares his daily work schedule and keeps him fed and exercised.

Lianne said: “Word spread very quickly around the distillery about Rocco’s arrival in the team and it has been amazing to see the impact he has on everyone around him. The atmosphere lifts wherever Rocco is working, and people can’t help but smile in his presence.

“He’s a working dog rather than a workplace pet, so we have guidelines in place to make sure he doesn’t get disturbed when he’s taking a break between shifts, but the boost in morale has been a joy to see.”

About Grant's

In life, some try to go it alone. At Grant’s, we prefer to make it together. Since 1887 William Grant has been making whisky to a unique formula, with passion and expertise shared over six generations. Many whiskies take their flavour from just one cask, but we mature Grant’s Triple Wood in three different types of wood: Virgin Oak cask provides spicy robustness, American Oak lends subtle vanilla smoothness and Bourbon refill offers brown sugar sweetness, resulting in a smoother, richer, mellower taste. It’s the addition of ageing the whisky in a third barrel that dials up the quality and provides an extra layer of distinctive flavour that sets Grant’s Triple Wood apart. After all, two barrels makes it good, the third makes it Grant’s. Drink Grant's responsibly.

About William Grant & Sons

William Grant & Sons Holdings Ltd is an independent family-owned distiller and was founded by William Grant in 1887. Today the company owns some of the world’s leading brands of Scotch whisky, including the world’s most awarded single malt Glenfiddich®, The Balvenie® range of handcrafted single malts and the world’s third largest Scotch, Grant’s®, as well as other iconic spirits brands such as Monkey Shoulder®, Hendrick’s® gin, Sailor Jerry® spiced rum, Tullamore D.E.W.® Irish whiskey and Drambuie® Scotch Liqueur


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