The company Intertrade was founded by Nadi Fiori. As the owner of the Taverna dei Artisti restaurant in Rimini, he travelled Scotland to buy bottles for his customers that were not available in Italy. In around 1976/1977, at the request of a friend who worked at Co. Import, Italy’s importer for Glenfarclas and Gordon & MacPhail at the time, he got in touch with George Urquhart. The two immediately hit it off and he began importing various bottles, taking the time to add details such as the whisky’s age, indicated on a label on the neck of the bottle, a detail that can also be used to identify his imports.
Longmorn 1965 Intertrade 21 Year Old Cask Strength
(with thanks to the Irish Pub Mulligans for the photography)
As a collector, Fiori applied the same attention to detail to his own bottlings. He moved into independent bottling in the early 1980s, starting with a Glenlivet 21 Year Old which was released in 1981, followed by four casks from four distilleries (Glenlivet, Glenfiddich, Glen Grant and Talisker) which he bought from the Aberdeen-based retailer and bottler Robert Watson and bottled in 1983. At the time, these bottles were simply marked “For Nadi Fiori“
In collaboration with the owner of the beer distributor Turatello, he then founded Intertrade. Fiori handled the selection, purchase and bottling of casks, while Turatello dealt with distribution. The bottles’ simple, Scottish-inspired labels were designed by a friend. Frequently they depicted the distillery where the whisky was made or a Scotsman in traditional garb, sometimes a glass in hand. Other even simpler labels featured just a logo, such as Scapa’s longboat. Fiori’s friendship with George Urquhart allowed him access to many of Gordon & MacPhail’s casks, which he often bottled at cask strength, in contrast to Gordon & MacPhail’s practice of bottling at lower strengths.
His approach reflects a simple relationship with whisky, somewhat more discrete and less flamboyant than other major Italian bottlers such as Samaroli, a trait illustrated in the simplicity of the labels and the existence of bottles that do not even include Intertrade’s name on the bottle. But make no mistake, the whiskies bottled by Nadi are some of the finest of their era, especially for fans of Islay malts such as Port Ellen, Caol Ila, Laphroaig, Ardbeg, Bowmore and Bruichladdich.
His approach also reflects his own good tastes, with selection focused on the high quality of a number of Scottish distilleries such as those mentioned above. Fiori’s whisky in many ways embodies the notion of sprezzatura, where choices are made based on a love of the finer things in life, without extra frills or any apparent effort. This same elegant coolness is seen in the always-well-dressed Fiori’s colourful suits, and his preference for whiskies from the past makes perfect sense once one gets the opportunity to taste them.
Highland Park 30 Year Old 1955 Intertrade.
Highland Park 30 Year Old 1955 Intertrade
53.2%, 75cl, 1986 - 216 bottles
Highland Park’s waxy, honeyed signature is paired here with a refined and salty peat to form a deliciously coastal ensemble. Allowed to breathe, the initial incisive precision gives way to a certain softness, a little like a cappuccino. On the palate, the whisky is smokier and spicier (Phu-Quoc pepper), while of course also fruity, revealing a myriad of citrus fruits (bitter orange, mandarin, etc.) and the elegant bitterness of apple peel. Perhaps one of the finest Highland Parks ever bottled.
Caol Ila 21 Year Old 1968 Intertade
58.5%, 75cl, 1989 - 297 bottles
Although the quality of Caol Ila’s whiskies has always been irreproachable, for us, those distilled before the distillery was rebuilt have an unparalleled charm. A slightly unusual charm, nonetheless, as they reveal a marine and medicinal peat that is less civilized and modern and more distinguished than those of the new distillery. They also express a few quite pronounced industrial (oil, metal) and farmyard (hay) notes that firmly position the whisky in the category of malts that sound a little absurd on paper but are an absolute delight to taste.
Clément Gaillard, Golden Promise Whisky Bar.