Scotland’s whisky making house Whyte and Mackay recently announced that every distillery in its collection has now been incorporated into the company’s Scottish Oak Program.
The initiative, founded by Master Whisky Maker Gregg Glass, set out to explore the potential for responsibly-sourced, locally-grown Scottish oak to in turn mature Scotch whisky.
Historically, the Scotch industry has favored oak sourced from outside Scotland.
Recently, Speyside’s Tamnavulin Distillery joined the program as Mark Kent, CEO of the Scotch Whisky Association, was on hand to join the whisky makers filling special Scottish oak casks.
The distillery was next in the Scottish Oak Program following the island distillery of Jura, and Fettercairn of Aberdeenshire, where the initiative was born.
Each distillery now has whisky experiments laid down to explore and evaluate the effect locally-grown oak has on each distinct distillery style, and to identify the flavor characteristics that Scottish oak lends to Scotch whisky.
A statement from the Scotch whisky house said that Whyte and Mackay’s move towards Scottish oak maturation is an exploration into the unique flavor that the oak species possesses.
It’s also future-proofing both the sourcing and seasoning of cask options for the wider whisky industry, looking toward a more sustainable future.
Head of Whisky Experience at Whyte and Mackay, Ludo Ducrocq, said, “The filling of these special casks is really a celebration of the partnerships Whyte and Mackay has nurtured over time, which will ultimately benefit the whole industry.”
Greg Glass continues to explore the use of native oak species, and has done so for many years through Whyte and Mackay’s experimental arm, Whisky Works. And they’ve previously released The King of Trees, a 10 year old blended malt finished in Scottish oak casks.
Since his appointment in 2016, Glass has developed partnerships with landowners and cooperages who are rooted in forestry management and considerate cooping practices.
“The Scottish Oak Program seeks to inspire change within the Scotch whisky industry. We want to champion the potential that home-grown oak offers the spirits industry, and the incredible diversity of flavor it offers the whisky maker,” Glass said.
Whyte and Mackay was founded in Glasgow in 1844, as the whisky makers recently celebrated their 175-year anniversary, and were recognized as Distiller of the Year in 2021.
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