Independent Whisky Bottlers
Buying whisky from independent bottlers can be a great way to try unique, premium whiskies at a fair price. Their releases are often limited editions, typically (though not always) in the form of single casks. They might be from one of the major distilleries, giving you the chance to try whiskies that shine a new light on distillery characteristics, or offer a different experience to that of the distillery’s core expressions. The releases could be from a smaller distillery, one you might not have heard of; these bottlings can be a great opportunity to try something unique and off the beaten track.
There are some big names in the world of independent bottlers, and there are also smaller brands doing some great work. In alphabetical order, here are our top 5 whisky bottlers you might not have heard of but should check out in 2020:
Archives is the independent bottling collection from the good folk over at WhiskyBase. With their instantly recognisable label designs, they work with distilleries they feature on their main database to find great quality single casks to bottle and offer to WhiskyBase members. And yes, you can record your tasting notes about the Archives bottles on WhiskyBase itself! Visit Archives here.
The cunning Artful Dodger brings you single cask whiskies that they have ‘liberated’ from a range of distilleries. Full of character and clandestine charm, he encourages you to ‘grab and run’ with these limited editions before they’re gone. You can find a good range of distilleries, age statements, and price points on their website. Visit Artful Dodger here.
Berry Bros. & Rudd
To be fair, you might have heard of Berry Bros. & Rudd; but, I wager you think of wine when I mention their name. What you might be less familiar with is their range of whisky. They offer two core ranges. The first is their ‘classics’ range consisting of well-priced blended malts; they have four expressions including Sherry Cask, Peated Cask, Speyside, and Islay – all at 44.2% ABV. The second is their ‘Berrys’ Own’ range, which are single cask expressions from a range of distilleries (read this article for an example). Visit Berry Bros. & Rudd here.
The Single Cask
The Single Cask bottles, yes you guessed it, single casks of whisky. All their whiskies are cask strength, natural colour, and non chill filtered. They have a wide range of age statements, some interesting cask finishes, and a plethora of different distilleries in their portfolio. Presented in glassware reminiscent of a crystal decanter, a bottle of whisky from The Single Cask is a perfect piece to put on the table in the middle of a group of friends and enjoy a dram and a chat around. Find our collection of whiskies from The Single Cask here.
The Whisky Baron
The Baron has three excellent single cask releases on the market. And 2020 brings both new premium expressions in the form of their ‘Renaissance’ range, and an innovative infinity bottle. This innovative spirit spills into their core range too, with their augmented reality app allowing the Baron to jump off the bottle to talk you through both the whisky itself and other useful information such as cocktails you might enjoy the whisky in. Visit The Whisky Baron here.
All five of these independent bottlers have some great whisky, and are well worth checking out. Visit them online today, keep an eye out for them in the shops, and visit their stand at whisky shows.