Smooth scotch malt whisky with an extra warm afterglow.  The perfect dram for a cold winter’s day.  Or so the Scotch Malt Whisky Society imagined when they first transferred four of their wonderful whiskies into ex-chilli sauce casks.


Unfortunately the reality was quite different.  Two years slumbering in these skittish casks left the Tasting Panel diving for water, eyes watering, throat burning.  The chilli peppers completely dominated leaving the whisky undrinkable and consigned to the kitchen for use in cooking.  Two days later the chef reappeared.


I need more. This stuff is fantastic. It adds zest to my flambées and zing to my salmon.


Now here was something to get the creative juices flowing.  The key to success would be in the positioning.  This was a ‘cooking spirit’.  Market research helped determine the price point (top end), size (10cl), packaging (screw top, boxed,) and mandatory information.  Inventive recipes created by invited chefs helped demonstrate the scope of the product.  Now we needed to turn it into a brand.



Hotscotch Sauce came out of a lively brainstorm. A whimsical play on words suited the Scotch Malt Whisky Society’s style while also presenting it as a food-related product.  Interweaving the skills of a designer, cartoonist and copywriter, the branding was developed to reflect quality, fun, energy and integrity.  Packaging, a microsite and product literature soon followed.  A spirited gathering of members, journalists and opinion-forming chefs signalled the launch of Hotscotch Sauce. Supported by a direct marketing campaign, enthusiastic PR and tasting events across the UK, curious cooks started to order.


Word spread.  Repeat orders came in. All four casks sold out – at a profit – and those ‘demonically firey’ casks were refilled to make another batch.


"The Scotch Malt Whisky Society has worked with Leapfrog for a number of years.  Leapfrog approaches business issues with a marketing perspective and, with welcome clarity, develops plans to help sales.  Translation of these plans into action, has always been well managed and executed.



Leapfrog understands the priorities of small businesses ensuring that marketing expenditure is measured against business benefits and is always well controlled."

Richard Gordon

Managing Director, The Scotch Malt Whisky Society



Sibh has worked on several branding projects including Yester Farm Dairies, Luffness Mains, the National Railway Museum, the National Media Museum, Gliterary Lunches.  She has also worked with two branded product businesses, Hume Golf & Leisure and Parkers Promotional Products.