SCOTCH whisky specialist Hunter Laing has achieved record profits helped by its success in overseas markets despite uncertainty about the outlook for the global economy.

The latest accounts for Hunter Laing Holdings show the Glasgow-based group made £7.3 million profit before tax in the year to April 30, up by around a third from £5.5m in the preceding year.

The privately-owned group, which bottles and blends whiskies acquired from distilleries across Scotland, grew sales by 15 per cent in the latest year, to £18.3m, from £15.8m.Overseas sales grew by 70%, to £14.6m, from £8.6m.

Asia, Europe and the Americas are key markets for Hunter Laing. The group says it supplies more than 70 markets around the world.

The success in the latest year provides an indication that demand for Scotch has remained strong despite the fallout from the pandemic and the war that Russia launched in Ukraine in February after months of threatening behaviour. The conflict has stoked inflationary pressures around the world.

In their strategic report in the accounts for Hunter Laing Holdings directors said: “Market demand for premium, rare Scotch whiskies remains strong for those with the right stocks.”

They noted that the group’s core Far Eastern markets grew substantially in the latest year. The group increased its presence in North America.

Directors believe Hunter Laing has reaped rewards for investing in whisky stocks in recent years to put itself in position to respond to expected growth in demand.

The company markets the whisky it sells under brands such as Old and Rare and Old Malt Cask.

Directors noted: “We continue to build our portfolio of mature stocks, including by strategic acquisition, which have secured the future of our brands.” The accounts were signed on November 30.

Hunter Laing has moved into the distilling business itself in recent years.

The company officially opened its first distillery, Ardnahoe on Islay, in 2019, following a £12 million investment. Ardnahoe was the first new distillery opened on Islay since 2005. It was built on land acquired by Hunter Laing in 2017.

In the latest accounts directors noted: “Having just passed the fourth anniversary of the commencement of production we celebrated the first ever dram of Adnahoe Single Malt Scotch Whisky towards the end of 2021 and we look forward to bringing our first products to market in the near future.”

Ardnahoe Distillery Company employed an average number of 31 employees in the latest year, out of a group total of 60, in line with the preceding period.

The group is run by members of the Laing family. Managing director Stewart Laing has been involved in the whisky business for decades.

In October whisky giant Diageo said it expected the operating environment to remain challenging citing “ongoing volatility due to geopolitical uncertainty, a weakening of consumer spending power, inflationary pressures and disruption related to Covid-19.”

However, the group said it had made an encouraging start to the current financial year.

In July Diageo hailed a “star showing” by its flagship Johnnie Walker blend in the year to June.

Pernod Ricard, which owns the Chivas Brothers whisky business, recently noted strong performances by key travel retail operations in the US, China and India amid “challenging and volatile”trading conditions.