The other day, I was asked if I was in to wine . Well, I like wine and I have a basic knowledge of some grape varieties , some producers and some vintages ; but to be honest, I know a lot of people who have a far greater depth and breadth of knowledge than I on the subject.
A long time ago, when I first fell in love with whisky, it seemed that Scotch was a world which I could get to grips with more easily than, say, wine. Scotch whisky to me seemed like a triangle with three sections. At the base there is blended whisky; high volume and focused on consistency. The most FMCG part of whisky business, by a long way.
The middle of the triangle: single malts. Certain distilleries who bottle their own product, often with a range of easy-to-understand, age statement products growing in maturity throughout their range. Again, with consistency playing a major roll.
At the top of my pyramid, are single casks. These often come from distilleries who don’t normally release a single malt, or if they do, are in some way unique. Yet these are never about consistency; these are the ‘flair players’ in the team. Temperamental, inconsistent, but sometimes utterly brilliant.
From their jaw-dropping building, a 13-meter tall red brick cube, through to their two current products, a new make and a very young single malt (note the lack of the term ‘whisky’ here) matured in local wine casks which are stored in ex-military bunkers, the whole affair is unique.
These two releases, initially called simply ‘White’ and ‘Red’ and latterly renamed ‘Pure’ and ‘Alba’, are the only two products produced by the distillery, with the first being young spirit (6 months old) and the second being matured for twice as long in Marsala Vergine wine casks from Sicilly. Both products have been upped from their original strength of 40% to a new, higher strength of 43% abv and, unlike the ‘White’ and ‘Red’ which were only sold locally, these will both be available internationally.