Alongside the rise of craft distilling and its countless micro-tiny-family-owned distilleries (still thinking of installing a pot still in my basement to enter the market –
my mother use to make tasty homemade marmalades, I could totally sale my future juice as a recipe inherited from my ancestors’ love of fine gastronomy and traditions...), independent bottlers are also spreading the whisky world, scrupulously sourcing and buying special casks from distilleries and working their magic on the spirit! As a result, independent bottlers tend to add their own creativity, sometimes turning whisky into a real work of art. Here’s a shortlist of 4 independent bottlers to watch out !
1. Robert Graham
“Robert Graham loved Glasgow and proudly served as City Treasurer for many years. He was even knighted for his services to the city. Robert Graham Ltd continually strives to protect his 139 year legacy by offering the finest tobacco and cigars with an enviable selection of whisky.
In August 2004 the Managing Director of Robert Graham, Mr Ron Morrison, invited Mitchell Orchant of Turmeaus Tobacconists (Established 1817 and based in Liverpool, London and Chester) to join him in partnership with specific responsibility for the premium cigar side of the business. Mitchell is also the face and passion behind the UK’s largest online cigar merchant company, C.Gars Ltd, and in recent times was also honoured by Hunters & Frankau with the Silver Chaveta award – a respected accolade within the trade which recognises just how much Mitchell has done for the industry over the years.
We are Whisky Specialists offering Scotland’s finest Single Malt Whisky, Vatted Malts, Grain Whiskies and blended Scotch from all of Scotland’s best loved distilleries. We also offer some of the rarest single cask releases from world renowned independent bottlers delivered to your home or office rapidly.
In recent years we have developed our own range of exclusive whiskies under our Robert Graham independent bottling label and have won many awards as voted for by industry leaders.”
2. Edinburgh Whisky
(BOOOOH LOW QUALITY PICTURE SPOTTED – SORRY!)
The brainchild of Gordon Watt and Gregor Mathieson, Edinburgh Whisky was founded in the city to “provide superior whiskies for both international visitors and for home-grown whisky enthusiasts”.
Themed around the city’s Old and New towns, the first releases are The Advocates Batch from the New Town Blends range, and two single malt cask releases from the Library Collection.
“We pride ourselves on carrying on the age old traditions of Edinburgh merchants in the 19th century who cannily sourced, blended, and bottled Scotch whisky, and then sold it to the rest of the world,” said Watt.
“We’ve already had a lot of interest from businesses looking to be among the first to stock this great new range, and we’re sure that will continue when people try the whisky for themselves.
“By launching the New Town and Library Collection ranges first we plan on introducing new additions to The Library Collection in November. We’re encouraged by the early uptake in the UK and we’re currently identifying distributors in key export markets for early 2016.”
Blended from Speyside malts, The Advocates Batch is described as “elegant, complex and very well balanced”. 6,000 bottles of the 43% AVB blend have been made available at RRP £35.
The Library Collection – Highland Park (distilled in 2000 and bottled in 2015) is said to be “heady and enchanting” with peat smoke, salty maritime and floral heather honey notes. The 46% ABV single malt cask release retails for £50.
The Library Collection – Glenlivet (distilled in 2007 and bottled in 2015) is described as “fabulously juicy” with given notes of tropical fruit, salted tablet, hazelnuts and sandalwood. Bottled at 46% ABV, the expression has a £79 RRP.
Victorian-era Edinburgh inspired the company’s packaging. Milanese illustrator Luisa Milani designed the New Town Blends artwork, and The Library Collection’s outer sleeve features Edinburgh-based photographer Lawrence Winram.
Edinburgh Whisky ranges are available now in Harvey Nichols, Royal Mile Whiskies, Valvona & Crolla, Whiski, Vino and Peckham’s. (The Spirits Business – 6th Aug 2015)
3. Abbey Whisky
“A family run business founded in 2008, Abbey Whisky Online Whisky Shop specialises in exclusive, rare and old whiskies that have been blessed to us by the many great distilleries from around Scotland.
Abbey prides itself on providing its customers with the highest level of customer service, striking the perfect balance of personal touch and professionalism. Abbey Whisky have managed to convey this through the social media platforms, being informative, helpful and engaging, they are winning a loyal fan base.
Customer experience is of the upmost importance to Abbey and this is reflected in the exceptional customer service received at every stage of the customer journey, beginning at the enquiry stage, through secure transaction to the safe, fully trackable and efficient delivery of goods. This service is demonstrated in the excellent customer reviews posted by customers on the independent review site Trust Pilot.
Abbey are passionate about customer service, and have taken great care in designing the website and have thought of the customer and their experience throughout every stage. They even offer a freephone number for customers to get in touch and they pride themselves in responding to whisky enquiries within a very short time frame.
Not only can customers filter via many options, the fantastic Birthday & Celebration page is the perfect way to find a gift for the whisky lover in your life. Customer interaction and discussion is encouraged via the on-site whisky blog and customers can also give their opinions on the products that we stock via our customer reviews section found under every malt whisky that we stock.
Abbey have decided to focus exclusively on rare, collectable and old whisky which is exciting for the whisky connoisseur, they also offer a broad selection of international whisky (whiskey) from such countries as India, Sweden, America, England & South Africa. And to make the customers life even easier they have also implemented a currency convertor and Tax Free Shopping for all International customers & supply a very competitive fast and secure international delivery service.
Abbey are (quite rightly) very proud of the launch of “Abbey Whisky The Secret Casks”, single malt Scotch whiskies, aged 30, 40 and 50 years old. Customers can either purchase a beautifully presented wax sealed sample or the more traditional 70cl bottle.”
4. That Boutique-y Whisky Company
That Boutique-y Whisky Company’ bottles Scotch Single Malt Whiskies from a variety of renowned distilleries in limited batches. These whiskies are adorned with cultish graphic novel-style labels which feature prominent figures from the whisky industry upon them, as well as other little details for you to find!
These are Single Malts in the truest sense of the term; they are a blend of casks from one distillery. Thanks to their limited nature and popularity we expect these to become quite sought after and collectable. They are also bottled without age statements because each batch is dependent on the parcels of stock received so it is entirely possible that there could be an age difference of thirty years between batches!