British Airways Teams With Whisky Distillery On Centenary Dram - The Whiskey Wash

British Airways Teams With Whisky Distillery On Centenary Dram

By Katelyn Best / June 3, 2019

InchDairnie, the self-proclaimed “modern” Scottish distillery, is partnering with British Airways on a whisky commemorating the airline’s 100-year-birthday. The limited-edition scotch will be released in 2031, when it’s 12 years old, and will be available exclusively on British Airways flights. It just went into American oak barrels that previously held bourbon, with cask heads from French oak red wine barrels.

The provenance of the barrels is significant to British Airways: the American oak (beyond being a fairly standard choice for Scottish distillers) represents the up to 30 cross-Atlantic flights the company operates every day, while the French oak represents the first flight operated by AT&T, British Airways’ forerunner, which flew to Paris in 1919.

A cask set aside for the British Airways Centenary Dram (image via British Airways)

“Celebrating our centenary is all about honouring our airline’s history, as well as looking to the future,” said British Airways Wine and Beverage Manager Kelly Stevenson, in a prepared statement. ” InchDairnie has a modern and innovative approach to whisky distilling and we’ve incorporated touches with a nod to our history.  In years to come our customers will be able to enjoy it from the comfort of their seat—we know it will be worth the wait.”

Curiously, the statement also includes some tasting notes for this yet-to-mature whisky: “Over 12 years the spirit will mature, drawing out vanilla and coconut flavours and a dark colour from the cask, before ageing to create a malty, fruity, Scotch whisky designed to work perfectly at altitude.”

The partnership with InchDairnie feels like a natural one for an airline, as the Fife-based distillery, unlike most Scottish whisky producers, leans into being young and high-tech in its branding.

“We’re delighted we’ve been able to create a very special whisky for British Airways in their very special year,” said Ian Palmer, managing director at InchDairnie. “Although we are a new distillery who have a much younger heritage than British Airways, through the use of industry leading technology we are bringing together decades of industry experience and knowledge, enabling us to fine tune one of the most meticulously designed distillation processes in the world.”

From now through September, the airline is also offering 12 whisky from exclusive barrels of InchDairnie, each with a different flavor profile, at its luxury lounge at JFK, in what it calls the Centenary Cask Programme.

Scotch isn’t the only product the airline is hawking to celebrate its special birthday: they’ve also released a bespoke IPA and a specially-labeled, travel-size jar of the very British yeast spread Marmite, reportedly the most-confiscated brand at airport security.