Scotland Set To Soon Have Its First Rye Whisky In A Long Time - The Whiskey Wash

Scotland Set To Soon Have Its First Rye Whisky In A Long Time

The world of rye whiskey, as we touched on recently, is no longer limited to just the United States or Canada. Other areas of the world are experimenting with this popular grain type for whiskey production, and that now seems to include Scotland for the first time in over 100 years.

The new InchDairnie Distillery, which opened its doors last year in Scotland’s Lowlands region, unveiled recently plans for Ryelaw, a new rye whisky said to combine elements of both Scotch and American rye. The mash bill of this new expression is noted as having “a high proportion of malted rye, the key component in American rye whiskey, and also malted barley, the key ingredient in Scotch whisky.”

image via InchDairnie Distillery

InchDairnie, founded by whisky industry veteran Ian Palmer, has put forth a good deal of information around its rationale for going down this road. Specifically,

first it has been created using Inchdairnie’s unconventional mash filter, one of only two in Scotland, which is able to process the viscous rye grains, unlike the traditional mash tuns in most distilleries.

Secondly, its secret recipe, with its high proportion of malted rye, and the fact that it will be made and matured in Scotland, means that it will meet the legal definitions of both a Scotch whisky and an American rye whiskey. In America, rye whiskey must contain at least 51% rye.

Lastly, distillation will partly take place in the distillery’s bespoke Lomond Hill still, which was installed alongside two traditional pot stills to provide the capacity to experiment and the ability to have greater control over shaping flavour. As a result, Ryelaw will be the first rye whisky ever to be distilled in a Lomond Hill still.

“Our intention with the distillery right from the start was to push the boundaries of flavour in whisky using a combination of our experience and new technology while remaining true to whisky’s traditions,” said Palmer in a prepared statement. “Creating this ‘rye whisky’ is one of many experimental ideas we had in mind when we built the distillery and one of the reasons we chose to install specific equipment that others do not have such as the mash filter and Lomond Hill still.”

It is noted as well that while it can be described in general terms as a ‘rye whisky’, Ryelaw will officially be categorised as a single grain Scotch whisky made using malted ryeThis is in line with The Scotch Whisky Regulations 2009, which define the five categories of Scotch whisky and state that distillers in Scotland can only make Scotch whisky.

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.