We are delighted to be able to announce that we now stock fine and rare whisky. We already have some great single Scottish malts (the likes of Glenturret, Glenfiidich, Macallan and Scapa), in historic and rare bottlings, and we shall be continuing to expand on this growing and impressive list.
For many thousands of years, humans have cultivated barley and other grains as a means of sustenance, with the convenience over other food sources, such as fruits, that it can be stored for greater periods of time without deteriorating. However, while it is relatively easy to obtain sugars from fruit to create fermentable juice, it takes the process known as malting to achieve the same in barley.
The art of distilling has evolved over many centuries, but malt whisky is still made today in a Pot Still
similar in design to the stills in which all spirits were originally produced. Whilst whisky can be produced (in theory) almost anywhere in the world (Ireland, the US and Japan), it is generally (if occasionally controversially) argued that the finest examples come from Scotland. As with wine, a sense of terroir is of utmost importance, and a vast range of conditions contribute to the complex aromas and flavours of the spirit in the bottle.
It is terroir, or the influence of the landscape, that acclaimed Malt Whisky writer, Michael Jackson argues are the overriding elements in producing ‘real drinks’… those over which many a passionate debate has taken place as to the exact effect of the surroundings and the process of distilling on the whisky in the bottle. Real drinks, Jackson implies, inspire emotion which can only deepen the appreciation of the liquid in the glass. They must also taste of the place they come from, and elements such as heather-clad hillsides, the degree of peat employed, the qualities of the water source, or even the diversity of the rock surrounding the distillery would all have their unique part to play.
The whisky distilleries of Scotland (there are over a hundred in existence of which around two thirds are active at any one time), cover the length and breadth of the country, from the Lowlands to the Highlands as well as the surrounding Islands, from the Hebrides to Orkney. The joy of whisky is in the huge variety of character offered by such diverse regions. Unlike wine, there are no regional regulations regarding the production of whisky, yet whiskies are often discernable by their regional characteristics…
The Highlands comprise the Eastern, Northern and Western Highlands, as well as Speyside. The Highlands account for by far the highest proportion of Scotland’s distilleries (Speyside alone boasts between a half and two-thirds of them). Due to the great area it covers, you cannot associate one particular style of whisky to the Highlands which are wide and diverse in style.
The Islands. Of all the Islands, Islay has the greatest reputation and the most number of distilleries (eight). Famously peaty in style, it is not uncommon for Islay whiskies to be described as ‘medicinal’! These whiskies exhibit arguably the most singular character of all.
The Lowlands feature the smallest number of distilleries, but the whiskies produced here are often considered to be the most accessible. They are generally light in flavour and body, yet complex and herbal. This style is particularly attractive to those who find whiskies from the Highlands and Islands too powerful or robust. There are currently only three active distilleries in the Lowlands.