A Scottish Rye Whisky Emerges From The Land Of Single Malts - The Whiskey Wash

A Scottish Rye Whisky Emerges From The Land Of Single Malts

By Nino Marchetti / January 11, 2019

When one thinks of Scotland, single malt Scotch whisky is certainly one of the first things which comes to mind. Made from malted barley, it is the champion of that region of the whisk(e)y world. Also under the umbrella here though is a style known as single grain which, unlike single malt, doesn’t need to be made from barley, nor does the grain need to be malted. Instead, single grain whiskies are often made from wheat, corn, or a blend of the two. Rye hasn’t really been in the mix for quite awhile, at least until the new Arbikie Highland Rye Single Grain Scotch Whisky recently debuted.

Arbikie’s Highland Rye Single Grain Scotch Whisky, according to those behind it, was laid down back in 2015 by a distillery that describes itself as “the world’s first single estate distillery producing vodka, fin and whisky using ingredients grown on its 2000-acre farm on the east coast of Scotland.” It has a mash bill that consists of Arantes Rye, Odyssey Malted Barley and Viscount Wheat. All of these grains, as just mentioned, were grown on the farm where this whisky was distilled and then aged first-fill, charred American Oak casks and finished in Pedro Ximénez casks with no coloring or chill filtration.

Arbikie’s Highland Rye Single Grain Scotch Whisky (image via Arbikie Highland Estate)

“We’ve been working on our Highland Rye for years and it has posed some challenges from a growing and distillation point of view,” said Arbikie Master Distiller, Kirsty Black, in a prepared statement. “The flavour profile is orange marmalade, cloves and maple syrup. The main differences between our Highland Rye and American Rye is that traditionally American Rye uses corn in their mash bill, and usually malted rye. At Arbikie we have used unmalted rye, malted barley and wheat. The ageing process is also significantly different due to temperatures in the US and Scotland respectively.”

Said to be the first rye whisky distilled in Scotland in over 100 years, it serves as something of a historical marker in much the same way as the debut of the Irish rye whiskey from Kilbeggan earlier this year. With regards to release plans, 998 bottles, each pricing at £250, or around $320 USD, are being put forth markets globally.

About the author

Nino Marchetti

Nino Marchetti is the founder and editor-in-chief of The Whiskey Wash, an award winning whiskey lifestyle website dedicated to informing and entertaining consumers about whisk(e)y on a global level. As a whisk(e)y journalist, expert and judge he has written about the subject extensively, been interviewed in various media outlets and provided tasting input on many whiskeys at competitions. He also maintains a large private collection of whiskey from which he continually educates his palate on this brown spirit type.