Here’s what we were up to at Camp last week. We explored the ways in which the established and traditional world of Scotch whisky is staying contemporary in today’s market. Sometimes the idea trumps the spirit, but we must keep moving forward.
The first fully certified organic single malt , Benromach goes beyond the use of organic barley, and is using virgin oak from sustainable American forests to make this a responsible spirit as well.
Kilchoman Vintage 2006
The first distillery to open its doors on Islay in 124 years is also a bit of a farm distillery. Growing some of its own barley, doing some floor malting, and distilling in small batches in some of scotland’s smallest stills, this newbie is playing it a bit old-school. We also love the return of vintage whisky. Can’t wait for this newbie to grow up.
Compass Box Flaming Heart 4th release
What’s more radical than an American bringing back the art and craft of whisky blending in Scotland. John Glasier’s commitment to the use of first-fill barrels, no coloring, and quality curation have helped make blended scotch exciting again. The virgin French oak finishing in this, the 4th release of Flaming Heart, lends a different kind of clove-like spice to this rich and peaty rock n’ roller.
Glenmorangie Nector D’or
While it’s not a new whisky, the focus here is on cask finishing and the chemistry involved to create the perfect balance. It is quite remarkable that a distillery making 10,000,000 bottles a year (6% of the single malt market), is able to maintain this level of quality. In this expression, Glenmorangie is able to take advantage of its large corporate parents (Moet Hennesey), who also own Chateau D’Yquem- to provide Sauternes barrels of the highest quality. Going bigger is not necessarily selling out it seems.
Highland Park Thor
The trend of “special” or “seasonal” releases from distilleries speaks to the insatiable hunger of the malt market. We are asking for “something special” and this is the answer. Yes, it comes in an oak case that is a stylistic expression of the Viking longboat, and, yes, it is a lot more expensive, but it is also big, bold and delicious—and a little exclusive with 1500 bottles in the US. You need to decide if that’s cool or not.