2017 Berry Bros. & Rudd Arbikie, Cask Ref. 69, Highland Rye, Single Grain Scotch Whisky (58.3%)

2017 Berry Bros. & Rudd Arbikie, Cask Ref. 69, Highland Rye, Single Grain Scotch Whisky (58.3%)

Product: 20178171566
2017 Berry Bros. & Rudd Arbikie, Cask Ref. 69, Highland Rye, Single Grain Scotch Whisky (58.3%)

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Founded by the three Stirling brothers on the family’s East Coast estate, sustainability has been at the heart of Arbikie’s production from day one. From the distillery’s ground-breaking use of hydrogen fuel to its carbon-positive crops, Arbikie is truly a leader in green distilling.

Sweet aromas of Icelandic rye bread, honeyed sponge cake and cloves open the bouquet with some nutmeg emerging with time. The palate is lively and joyous, showing sweet rye spice, crème brûlée and dark chocolate cookies. It is immensely quaffable. Baking spice and dry rye come in waves over the finish. Scotland isn’t known for its rye whisky, but if this dram is anything to go by, it soon will be.

Jonny McMillan, Reserve Whisky Manager, Berry Bros. & Rudd (2023)

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Arbikie Distillery

Arbikie Distillery

Established by the three Stirling brothers on their family’s picturesque East Coast estate, Arbikie Distillery has upheld a steadfast sustainability commitment since its inception. From the moment the distillery’s doors swung open, they embarked on a remarkable journey with sustainability firmly embedded in their core values. Arbikie’s dedication to environmental responsibility is nothing short of exemplary.

At the heart of the distillery’s sustainability journey is its pioneering use of hydrogen fuel, a groundbreaking innovation that has set them apart in the world of distillation. This innovative approach to energy sourcing demonstrates their unwavering dedication to reducing their carbon footprint. Hydrogen fuel, known for its clean and renewable characteristics, powers their distillation process, ensuring their operations have minimal environmental impact.

However, Arbikie’s sustainability commitments extend far beyond their energy sources. Their dedication to being carbon-positive is a testament to their holistic approach to environmental stewardship. They actively engage in sustainable farming practices, cultivating crops that contribute to their distillation and help offset carbon emissions. These carbon-positive crops represent a genuine effort to give back to the planet by sequestering more carbon than they emit, making Arbikie a true leader in green distilling.

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Highlands Whisky

Highlands Whisky

Maybe because it is the largest geographical area, the Highlands is also the hardest Whisky region to pin down stylistically. For this reason it is easiest not to consider the Highlands as one large are, but as 4 smaller and much more distinct ones.

North-Highland malts tend to be light bodied, delicate whiskies with complex aromas and a dryish finish sometimes spicy, sometimes with a trace of salt. Northern Highland distilleries are almost all coastal. The most northerly is Old Pulteney, situated about as far north as you can go in Wick, which produces a delicious, fragrant, dry whisky. 

Working south along the route of the A9, next comes Clynelish at Brora (built in 1969, beside an earlier distillery who’s whiskies are known as Brora) - a sophisticated and complex whisky older expressions are very highly regarded and the malt deserves to be better known. Perhaps the reason that it is rarely seen as a distillery bottling is that it’s malt is a key component of Johnnie Walker.

The best known of all the Northern Highland malts is Glenmorangie. Glenmorangie, is made at Tain on the Cromarty Firth, and is the most popular malt in Scotland. Over the last decade Glenmorangie pioneered the now often copied process of wood finishing. Althoght this process is not universally popular;  it transformed the company’s commercial success. 

The Eastern Highlands produce a number of whiskies that can be confused with those of Speyside.  In the north of the region close to the southern border of Speyside, whiskies which are smooth, sometimes with a little smoke, malty-sweet, such as Macduff, Ardmore, Glen Garioch and Knockdhu are made.

Further south is Fettercairn, and Glencadam, at Brechin, which produces an unusual creamy, fruity malt. The area between the Moray and the Tay has two distilleries of note; Royal Lochnagar and Glendronach. The first is a wonderfully smooth, rich whisky made in the shadow of the mountain of the same name in a distillery established in 1825 The second is also luscious and often sherried.

In the Western Highlands there only two distilleries on the mainland those of Oban and Ben Nevis. Oban is a perfect, sheltered harbour makes it the principal seaport for the Isles and the capital of the West Highlands. Its whisky has a misty, briny character, with a background of heather and peat.

The Oban whisky stills used are among the smallest in Scotland; the cramped nature of the site is attested to by the odd position of the worm tubs, fed by unusually short lyne arms, and nestled in the ‘vee’ between the roofs of the still house and an adjoining building.

The whiskies of the Central Highlands are a mixed bag. Generally they are lighter-bodied and sweeter that their cousins to the east, but not as sweet as Speysides.

The Central Highland single malts used to be known as 'Perthshire Whiskies'. Most are found along the valleys of the Tay and its tributaries.  The furthest north is Dalwhinnie, which is almost in Speyside indeed; it is at the very head of the river, over sixty miles from Grantown-on-Spey.

Blair Athol and Edradour whisky distilleries are both near Pitlochrie. The former was founded in the 1790s and was substantially rebuilt in 1949 Edradour is the smallest distillery in Scotland - a happy survivor of the days of 'farm distilleries' - yet produces a clean, fresh, attractive and justly popular whisky.

South again is Aberfeldy distillery, on the edge of the pretty town of the same name. Glenturret, at Crieff is one of the claimants to being the oldest distillery, although it was dismantled in the 1920s and is much changed.

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