The Whyte & Mackay Scotch whisky company is a multi-brand operation best known for its Jura and The Dalmore distilleries. It has other lesser known operations under its wing as well, however, such as the Fettercarin distillery out of Scotland’s Highlands region. Founded in 1824, it is one of the oldest of its kind in this area of the world, and now is bringing to market a new line up after a long hiatus from new bottlings.
Fettercarin, according to those behind it, is bringing forth four new expressions, all of which are age statement oriented in nature. The last time a new single malt was released from here was 2010, so the timing feels right for those working there to be making this push. Included in the mix are 12-, 28-, 40- and 50-year-old whiskies.
The distillery itself is reportedly noted for having a somewhat unique production method. In the mid-1950s the whisky-makers at Fettercairn experimented, seeking ways to create a purer expression of their spirit. They found that pouring water down the still cooled the copper, increasing condensation inside so only the lightest vapours could rise for collection. With this knowledge they fashioned a unique copper cooling ring around the neck of the stills, drenching them with local mountain water.
Not only is this technique said to be beautiful to watch and a highlight of the distillery’s breath-taking still house, it also creates an oxidation ‘patina’ on its copper, with colors of teal, white and brushed copper making the stills at Fettercairn more visually striking.
“Fettercairn is simply a beautiful distillery with a treasure trove of aged and rare stocks,” said distillery manager Stewart Walker in a prepared statement. “I’ve worked here since 1990 and most of the team that started with me then are still on this journey with me today. It’s a pleasure crafting Fettercairn Single Malt together and we are immensely excited to finally share our exceptional whiskies with enthusiasts the world over.”
As for the specific releases,
- Fettercairn 12 Year Old – £48 (around $60 USD); 40% ABV; aged in ex-American white oak bourbon barrels; “the colour of sunlight and amber honey, with vanilla, pear and soft spices on the nose and refreshing nectarine, tropical fruit and roasted coffee to taste. To finish, memorable flavours of sultanas and black toffee.”
- Fettercarin 28 Year Old – £500 (around $675 USD); 42% ABV; aged in ex-American white oak bourbon barrels; “deep shimmering gold in colour. With initial bursts of pineapple and melon on the nose before giving way to treacle and banana, and hints of warm ginger and liquorice; this expression opens up to citrus peel and black pepper on first taste, followed by tempered walnuts, coffee, apricot, and a touch of sweet balsamic.”
- Fettercarin 40 Year Old – £3,000 (around $4,000 USD); 48.9% ABV; aged in ex-American white oak and finished in an Apostoles Sherry Cask No.6; “dazzling amber highlights. On first nose, honey, molasses, and ginger, then overtaken by toffee apple, thick treacle, and sherry. To taste liquorice and balsamic vinegar, are balanced with citrus, toffee and raisin for a glorious finish of soft spice and tropical fruits…non chill-filtered with no added colour.”
- Fettercarin 50 Year Old – £10,000 (around $13,500 USD); 47.9% ABV; aged in ex-American white oak and finished in Tawny Port Pipe (Cask No1); “a dark and rich colour…enticing aromas begin the drinking experience with ginger, spices, citrus peel, and apple; preceded by nuances of Morello cherry, over-ripe plums, and blackcurrant. A whisper of coconut and a hint of pineapple provide an unforgettable close. To taste warm spiced citrus, ground coffee, and toffee apple, give way to rich notes of port wine and sweet almond; burnt caramel and soft chewy liquorice notes round out this timeless treasure…non chill-filtered with no added colour.”
Nino Kilgore-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...