With the imminent and much anticipated release of Ardnaglendulloch’s first whisky, we decided to catch up with some of the people behind it to find out the direction they were going in. Located in the historically whisky-drenched area of Corstorphine, it is much-lauded that Ardnaglendulloch will finally bring distilling back to the area after a nine-hundred-year hiatus.
Speaking to Grant Robertson, Owner and Distiller, we sought to find out what these new releases would look like when they came to market. “They will be exceptionally small batches”, Robertson told us, “of approximately 500ml each. Each bottle will be labelled ‘Number One’ – and though this is of course not our intention, they will likely become highly collectable.”
Robertson, whose family have existed for over three generations, went on to describe the style we can expect from Ardnaglendulloch: “We found, through extensive research, that whisky was being made as far back as 1993. We are endeavouring, as much as is possible, to recreate the style that was used in those pioneering days. It’s quite something to think that while Whitney Houston was belting out ‘I Will Always Love You’, folk were already making whisky in much the same way we do today.”
“We also want to be true to the distillery character, producing spirit forward whisky with little cask influence – all the while using very active sherry casks to produce an exceptionally dark colour to make it desirable when viewed online.” Sherry casks have been sourced from a historic and dwindling Bodega in Jerez, where they have been used to age high quality sherry for up to eighty years. They have subsequently been re-charred, recoopered, and re-seasoned with reassuringly available sherry.
All this sounded very promising, but in this day and age consumers want a little bit more of a glimpse behind the scenes – an insight into the nuts and bolts of whisky production. We pressed Robertson on which part of his process would make his whisky stand out – what, to coin a phrase, was it’s USP? “Wormtubs”, replied Grant without hesitation, “when it comes to condensing vapour back into a liquid, wormtubs are certainly a way of doing it.”
Well, we’re certainly sold. Seems as if Ardnaglendulloch is quite literally going to tick every box. Though here at W & C we are aware that in the fickle marketplace of whisky consumers, packaging can be make or break for a brand, especially a new one. We were assured that the labelling “would reflect the time of release whilst also harking back to the whisky labels of old – the 1990s – which themselves reflected the classics of the 1960s. But obviously in a very modern way – in bright pink … Retro.”
The bottle’s are also fitted with a QR code, which when scanned on a smartphone opens the front camera – meaning that those who do manage to purchase a bottle don’t miss out on the look of self satisfaction on their own face. When asked about the closures of the bottles – would they be sporting a hand dipped wax seal, for instance – Robertson simply replied “We’ll not be needing them. The bottle will be simply one piece of sealed glass – it’s not like anyone will open one”.
Ardnaglendulloch will be available soon, exclusively from auction sites. When pushed on the reasoning behind this Mr Robertson told us “They’re all going to end up there anyway. It’s only the secondary market if you don’t sell it there first.”
*It is worth noting that at time of publication Ardnaglendulloch had closed after its first spirit run, producing only 3400 one-bottle batches. Needless to say these are all extremely sought after – as we all know, if a distillery can not continue to operate, it must have been good.
This is (hopefully obviously) a satirical article written in collaboration with Conor O’Keeffe and Alan Mulvhill. All of it is made up and no particular companies or figures are intentionally referenced.