As soon as I took on my first ever role in the Scotch Whisky industry, nearly 20 years ago, I knew I was here to stay. It well and truly pulled me in and has never let me go – not that I want it to. Whisky has been a loyal companion in times of reflection, contemplation, concentration, sadness and celebration. It has always been treated with the respect it commands, thus it has offered me so many memorable moments. From travelling on business, to meeting customers in far away export markets representing large international brands, to sitting at home with a single cask sample from an unheralded distillery, I keep every ‘whisky moment’ locked away in a little chamber in my mind.
I am incredibly fortunate to have made a career from something I love and my own contribution to the industry was recognised in 2013 when I was bestowed the honour of becoming a ‘Keeper of the Quaich’. More fortunate still to have been able to access, from very reliable and established sources, a wide assortment of incredible casks for my own bottlings. At its heart, Scotch Whisky is for enjoying - whether that’s drinking it or collecting it. Personally, I buy whisky to drink and I try to select parcels of stock that fit a wide array of flavour preferences - I hope that comes across in this particular release.
People often ask me “what’s your go-to whisky?”, I always end up just rattling off a whole load of distillery names and not really answering the question. Whiskies suit moments, occasions and the company you are in at any given time. On balance, I have always veered towards a sweeter, fruitier style – Speyside in particular. However, nothing hits the spot after a rough day like a peaty beast of a malt from Islay. I don’t think I’d ever tasted Single Grain until one day a few years ago during my time at Edrington, trying an old North British (from 1988 or ‘89 as I recall) in the Great Western Road sample room, was incredibly memorable. I could taste the gentle vanilla, salted buttery notes for hours after and it was delicious.
This series is a culmination of my experiences in the industry. I think this would make a really interesting ‘tasting flight’, exploring different styles and an array of colour, aroma and flavour. I really do hope you enjoy drinking these whiskies as much as I did putting them together.
Cùm sàbhailte.- Keith (Founder, The Whisky Cellar)