Are some distilleries bottling their whiskies under multiple labels for sale as a different malt? Are they selling younger unbottled whiskies to other companies for the purpose of distributing as a new single malt?
November’s scotch, The Ileach, has led me realize that this may be the case. This practice may in fact be relatively common.
Contributors to some of my research sources (the Internet) mention the taste comparisons between these mystery scotches and some even mention that it comes directly from the Lagavulin distillery.
I was not able to find very much company information on the Ileach’s distillery at the time of my review, in fact I was surprised that it didn’t appear to be bottled by a distillery at all: “bottled by The Highlands and Islands Scotch Whiskey Company“. Michael from Halifax, who has inspired me to do a little research into this, had tasted a whisky bottled as Cooper’s Choice which he believes to be a “LaPhroaig 10 year old under” the Highlands and Islands branding.
I understand the practice that goes on when crafting a blended scotch and that the single malts included are most often a mystery to the public, but singles being ported around and bottled by third parties is a little more intriguing to me. I don’t believe that it has to be dishonest however. If these bottlings are different (in age and other factors maybe) than the ones distributed by the original distillery then maybe we’re gaining a palate of new tastes that we would not have otherwise experienced.
After all, one of the reasons I enjoy scotch so much is the complexities as well as the subtlies in the differences noticed between distilleries, bottlings and even between sips. I am not saying that these are poor quality scotches. In fact I thoroughly enjoyed the Ileach and it’s unrepentant brashness.
Nevertheless I am curious about this and have submitted an inquiry to the Highlands company and will update as with any information I can get.
As always your comments are welcome!
A while back we had some interest in bottling practices behind certain scotches. Please see: White Labeling Single Malts for the original article.
I contacted the Vintage Malt Whisky Company Limited and they were extremely gracious in their response to some of my quesitons:
“Many thanks for making contact with us and for your interest in our Ileach Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky. I am delighted to hear that you… Continue reading
This is a more expensive whisky, but I found the taste so intriguing, that I had to make it this months scotch of the month. Continue reading
I first sampled this month’s scotch selection at a Robbie Burns celebration years ago. Continue reading