Welcome to the Straightbourbon.com Forums.
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 11
  1. #1
    Apprentice
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Posts
    37

    Question about independent bottlers of Scotch

    Hi folks!

    I was wondering, do independent bottlers of scotch take possession of the barrels soon after distillation or after a certain amount of aging at the distillery?

    I ask because in the Gordon & MacPhail webpage you can see all the barrels of dif scotches in the same warehouse and wondered if this makes these scotches dif than the ones kept and bottled by the distillery?

    What about malts that take on a lot of character from the warehouses where they age (I am thinking of the sea character in many malts from near the coasts for example), wouldn't moving them to a warehouse somewhere else change the character significantly?

    I might have to buy an independent of Laphroaig to see for myself.

    Thanks, Rene'

  2. #2
    Connoisseur
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Arkansas
    Posts
    988

    Re: Question about independent bottlers of Scotch

    Rene,

    To be called scotch, it must be distilled and aged for three years in Scotland. So it does not need to be aged at the distillery. It could be aged in Edinburgh, even though distilled on Islay. Gordon McPhail ages most of their stuff at their warehouses near Elgin. therefore I could buy a barrel of Speyside whisky, age it in the Lowlands for three years, brig it to Arkansas and age it for another 7 years, then bottle it and sell it as Glen Stewart 10 yr old speyside single malt. To be called a single malt, all the whisky in the bottle must come from the same distillery. Case in point, Ardbeg Rollercoaster - contains whisky from 7 or 8 different years, but it's all Ardbeg so it's a single malt. Did this answer your question or did I miss the real question?

    Stu

  3. #3
    Connoisseur
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    North Alabama
    Posts
    577

    Re: Question about independent bottlers of Scotch

    Quote Originally Posted by mcer View Post
    Hi folks!

    I was wondering, do independent bottlers of scotch take possession of the barrels soon after distillation or after a certain amount of aging at the distillery?

    I ask because in the Gordon & MacPhail webpage you can see all the barrels of dif scotches in the same warehouse and wondered if this makes these scotches dif than the ones kept and bottled by the distillery?

    What about malts that take on a lot of character from the warehouses where they age (I am thinking of the sea character in many malts from near the coasts for example), wouldn't moving them to a warehouse somewhere else change the character significantly?

    I might have to buy an independent of Laphroaig to see for myself.


    Thanks, Rene'
    It has been my experience that indies almost never taste like the original distillery version. The distillate can be bought from the distillery and rebarrelled or blended. Some buy bulk and others taste each barrel looking for a specific taste and character to work with.

    In the past most Scottish distilleries made the most money from the bulk and blending market and only retained a small portion of the whisky for the single malt market. The popularity of single malt scotch has changed that balance but still the bulk sales to indies and blending markets remains the norm.

    An Indie of Laphroaig may still be very smokey and peaty but chances are it will not taste like the same bottle from the distillery unless it was dumped and bottled by the Laphroaig distillery with the buyer's label.

    I guess the answer to your question is anything is possible. I suppose that is why scotch has such a diverse range of tastes between brands and ranges within brands.
    Often I am forced to deal with the fact that I prefer bourbon over dealing with facts.

  4. #4
    Apprentice
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Posts
    37

    Re: Question about independent bottlers of Scotch

    Quote Originally Posted by Dramiel McHinson View Post
    An Indie of Laphroaig may still be very smokey and peaty but chances are it will not taste like the same bottle from the distillery unless it was dumped and bottled by the Laphroaig distillery with the buyer's label.

    I have been buying Signatory and G&M to get a bottle for every year I have been married. I found this to be the easiest way (even in Michigan).

    Based on your comments my guess is that any of the Islay malts from independents will be similar but very dif from the stuff from the distillery.

    Thanks, Rene'

  5. #5
    Connoisseur
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Near York, PA
    Posts
    897

    Re: Question about independent bottlers of Scotch

    Even with the distillery bottling it you can't be absolutely sure that they stored it. The Laphroaig 30 is a prime example. Casks were bought, moved to a different location, rebarreled in sherry casks, aged and then repurchased by Laphroaig and then bottled by them. Another I believe is the Glen Flagler 30 which was distilled in the Moffet distillery and moved to another location before being bottled by Signatory under license as an "Official" bottling.
    Illuminati in training

  6. #6
    Virtuoso
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Los Angeles, CA
    Posts
    1,178

    Re: Question about independent bottlers of Scotch

    I recently had the chance to talk to the American representative from one of the major indie bottlers. From talking to him, it seems that independent bottlers get the Scotch from wherever they can. Sometimes they get spirits directly from distilleries, but they also quite often get them from blenders who have too much stock.

    As many people have said, indie bottles can taste very different from distillery bottlings, but I think that has more to do with the fact that most indies are single cask than anything else. Most distillery bottlings are made from various barrels of various ages to develop a certain character associated with that bottling. Individual barrels can vary quite a bit from the general. Still, there will usually be some recognizable distillery character, especially among the highly peated Scotches. Most indie Laphroaigs I've had taste like Laphroaig, though perhaps not exactly like any particular Laphroaig expression.

  7. #7
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
    Join Date
    Sep 1999
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    12,622

    Re: Question about independent bottlers of Scotch

    Stu,

    Don't single malts have to be bottled in Scotland? I thought only blends could be U.S.-bottled.

  8. #8
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
    Join Date
    Sep 1999
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    12,622

    Re: Question about independent bottlers of Scotch

    I find the Scottish independent bottler system fascinating. It points out how different the Scottish industry is from the American.

    Scottish independent bottlers are, for the most part, opportunistic. They have their sources and contacts and are ready to jump when a batch of whiskey becomes available. I doubt independents do much aging themselves, at least not deliberately. They buy something to bottle and sell it. That's their business. They're not buying directly from the distilleries, who won't sell to them and try periodically to put them out of business.

  9. #9
    Connoisseur
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Arkansas
    Posts
    988

    Re: Question about independent bottlers of Scotch

    Quote Originally Posted by cowdery View Post
    Stu,

    Don't single malts have to be bottled in Scotland? I thought only blends could be U.S.-bottled.
    I think you caught me Chuck! I guess I'll have to have my Glen Stewart bottled in Edinburgh.

  10. #10
    Virtuoso
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Los Angeles, CA
    Posts
    1,178

    Re: Question about independent bottlers of Scotch

    Quote Originally Posted by cowdery View Post
    That's their business. They're not buying directly from the distilleries, who won't sell to them and try periodically to put them out of business.
    Chuck, I think that's been generally true in the past; they source what they can get and bottle it. However, as you may know, the recent trend has been for the bottling companies to buy distilleries which gives them a foothold in the industry and more choices about how to release their whiskey. Signatory now owns Edradour; Gordon & MacPhail owns Benromach, Cadenhead and Springbank have common ownership and Murray McDavid owns Bruichladdich.

 

 

Similar Threads

  1. Bourbon Question for the Scotch Drinkers...
    By IronHead in forum General Bourbon Discussion
    Replies: 22
    Last Post: 11-01-2009, 14:30
  2. Independent Single-Malts
    By scratchline in forum Foreign Whiskey
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 07-17-2008, 10:27
  3. General Scotch Question
    By Sweetmeats in forum Foreign Whiskey
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 11-15-2007, 08:52
  4. Discussion of private labels/independent bottlers
    By cowdery in forum General Bourbon Discussion
    Replies: 42
    Last Post: 03-06-2007, 11:39
  5. Where are The True Indpendent US Bottlers
    By Bamber in forum General Bourbon Discussion
    Replies: 28
    Last Post: 05-06-2006, 07:33

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Back to top