This whisky collection truly contains something for everyone, featuring bottlings and vintages from a wide range of distilleries. Comprised of 44 bottles dating from the 1980s to the 2000s the collection includes a mix of discontinued and now scarce bottlings, with the majority enjoyed by whisky lovers when they were first released. With many of these bottlings produced as the whisky industry sought to revive itself following distillery closures during the 1980’s ‘Whisky Loch’, production from the majority of distilleries was small scale using traditional floor-malting methods and high-quality casks for maturation. A number of these classic bottlings are either early vintage expressions or the inspiration for now renowned single malt whiskies, released at a time when the historic blending powerhouses of Scotland slowly adapted to the newly buoyant single malt market.
The collection features a selection of bottlings from ranges including the Classic Malts of Scotland and the Flora & Fauna collection introduced by blending groups and spirit companies to promote single malts to the mass market. Introduced in 1988, the Classic Malts of Scotland was a selection of six single malt whiskies released by United Distillers (later Diageo) to showcase the range of flavours available in single malts whiskies produced across Scotland’s whisky regions. The Cragganmore 12-Year-Old and Dalwhinnie 15-Year-Old representing the Speyside and Highland whisky regions respectively, are vintage expressions of popular single malts still widely available today. The Glenkinchie 10-Year-Old which originally represented the Lowland region was discontinued in 2007, and replaced by a 12-Year-Old expression.
In the early 1990’s, United Distillers released a new range to showcase whiskies from its lesser-known distilleries whose output was normally destined only for blends. The Flora & Fauna range, nicknamed by the late whisky writer Michael Jackson, was a themed series of single malt releases each depicting the image of a local animal or plant on the label. Gradually as distilleries were commercialised, closed or sold, the Flora & Fauna range contacted with discontinued bottlings becoming increasingly collectable. The collection features two Flora & Fauna early vintage bottlings distinguished by their wooden presentation boxes depicting the same label images, the Dailuaine 16-Year-Old and Bladnoch 10-Year-Old. The Dailuaine 16-Year-Old is one of the few official bottlings released from the distillery, and while still popular amongst whisky enthusiasts later batches are sold without the presentation box. The Bladnoch 10-Year-Old was the only bottling the distillery produced under the ownership of United Distillers, who acquired Bladnoch in 1989 and decommissioned the distillery in June 1993. Depicting a Broad Leaved Helleborine wild orchid on the label which grow behind the Bladnoch distillery, this vintage expression represents a past incarnation of whisky from a distillery which has redefined its malt style since revival under new ownership.
Echoing the Flora & Fauna range, the collection also includes bottlings from independent bottler Signatory’s Scottish Wildlife series. Released in collaboration with the Scottish Wildlife Trust from the early 1990’s to 2000, bottles from each distillery depicted images and descriptions of Scottish wildlife with a donation from each sale going to the Trust. The collection features bottlings released as part of this series from the Strathmill, Balmenach, and Mortlach distilleries all with an age statement of 10 years. Scottish wildlife depicted on these bottles are the Red Squirrel, the Capercaillie, and Hen Harrier bird of prey respectively.
The collection also includes bottlings from ranges released to challenge and capitalise on the success of United Distiller’s Classic Malts and Flora & Fauna ranges. In 1993, Canadian based spirit merchant Seagram launched the Heritage Collection a series of single malt brands from its Scottish distilleries including Longmorn, Glen Keith and Strathisla. The Longmorn 15-Year-Old Heritage Collection is a legendary and discontinued bottling highly regarded amongst whisky enthusiasts and collectors. This bottling caused some controversy when first released, as the slightly fantastical label shows the distillery nestled amidst rugged peaks – Longmorn is actually situated on the flatlands near Elgin. The Longmorn 15-Year-Old bottling was discontinued in 2007, and replaced by a 16-Year-Old expression. Alongside the Glen Keith 1983 and Strathisla 12-Year-Old bottlings included in this collection these represent vintage examples of well-known brands which continue to be produced today.
Whyte and Mackay’s range of pot still decanters were released in the 1980s in response to the emerging single malt market. These collectable porcelain decanters were shaped like a pot still, then painted in different colours for each distillery owned by Whyte and Mackay. This collection features three examples of Whyte and Mackay’s ceramic pot still decanters, a Dalmore 12-Year-Old, Fettercairn 10-Year-Old, and Tomintoul 12-Year-Old.
The collection features a number of individual limited distillery bottlings, each with distinctive vintages and stories. The Glen Moray 15-Year-Old featured in the collection is the vintage bottling released as part of the Glen Moray distillery’s Highland Regiment collection. For a short period each different Glen Moray bottling was released in a limited edition presentation tin depicting images of soldiers from various Highland army regiments including the Highland Light Infantry and the Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders. This Glen Moray 15-Year-Old expression features the Black Watch Royal Highland Regiment.
A slightly controversial bottling, the Prince of Wales 10-Year-Old was bottled during the 1980s-1990s and claimed to be ‘Single Vatted Malt Welsh Whisky’. Speculation and rumours have existed ever since its release that the contents were Scotch whisky from undisclosed distilleries, blended and bottled by the Welsh Whisky Company.
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