Happy Hour - Tasting some of Scotland's finest
What makes a good whisky? A single malt? Consistent batches year-on-year? A rich heritage?
All these things are important, however for those that really want to delve down into the fascinating world of limited release whiskies, it really pays to seek out some of the offerings from Adelphi. With a tradition of buying selected barrels from distilleries across Scotland, the company is known around the globe as an independent bottler of exceptionally fine whisky.
For the initiated, independent bottlers specialise in purchasing newly produced spirit from distilleries, and holding it in their own casks until they deem it fit for release. The whisky can be from the Highlands or Campeltown or Islay, and released at 8, 10, or 20 years – it’s really up to the bottler to decide when the whisky is at its best.
Last Friday at Molly, we had the opportunity to sit with Alex Bruce,, director of Adelphi, who was in Australia on a mini-tour of the select bars that have managed to get their hands on the current Adelphi range that includes rare treats from Bowmore, Longmore, and Irish distillers, Limerick Slaney.
It's been an amzing ride for the bottlers in recent years. Alex has watched the sudden growth of the Indian middle-class put pressure on the large Scottish distilleries to maintain supply – particularly of the classic malts with recognisable age statements (Thinks Macallan 12, Bowmore 10, etc). This happened around the same time that saw a reduction in bourbon production in the United States, and therefore limited the amount of available barrels to be exported across the pond for the production of Scottish and Irish whiskies.
So, Adelphi was faced with a challenge. How can they maintain a business and a history whisky business while facing constraints that are beyond their control?
Simple. They built thier own distillery.
After a number of years of planning, the most western stills in Scotland have commenced production at the newly-minted Ardnamurchan Distillery. The company is producing two types of whisky – one peated and one unpeated, and have presold a number of private casks in order to maintain revenue for their enterprise.
The team at Adelphi/Ardnamurchan aren’t making any bold statements about when we’ll see the first releases from the distillery – rather that “It will be ready when it’s ready.” It’s in keeping with the philosophy of Adelphi, so in the meantime you’ll have to be satisfied with tasting some of their barrel selections that are available from Hippo Co and Molly.