Grant’s Whisky distillery in Scotland has taken an innovative step in isolating barrels that have a less than perfect condition. They have called in a new quality control expert to detect imperfections in their product – but the new employee is not what you may expect – Rocco is a one-year-old cocker spaniel, with a resume of extensive training in sniffing out which of the casks may have imperfections in the wood, and which of the whisky is aged.
Speaking of this unusual measure in quality control 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.”
Girvan Grain and Ailsa Bay single malt whisky distilleries will have Rocco’s focus, and once he’s checked their casks he’ll report back to the associate brand director – the aptly named Chris Wooff.
Speaking of his new employee Mr. Woof 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.”
Of course, this cute news will have some employees wanting to cuddle and pet their new colleague but they may face disappointment. “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.
For more information on the pup, check out bwycanine.co.uk.