This week Scotchwhisky.com‘s Tom Bruce-Gardyne addressed the hybrids debate and asked;
From rum/Tequila mash-ups to unlikely combinations of Cognac and sweet wine, hybrid spirits are increasingly in vogue. Now, as whisky also gets in on the act, are these products welcome innovations or threats to the integrity of Scotch?
He asked R&B Co-Founder Alasdair Day to weigh in on the debate, as well as Alex Bruce of Adelphi Distillery and Ardnamurchan Distillery on the other side.
Here’s what Alasdair had to say about the emerging hybrids trend:
“As a relatively new company, R&B Distillers are fully aware of the need to be innovative and different. After all, it is our ambition to be the leading hand-crafted whisky producer in Scotland.
‘Hybrid whiskies are most definitely different, and those produced so far have been good and created interest. But my concern is that they blur the lines, rather than define them.
‘If you look at the recent past with flavoured vodkas or even “flavoured whiskies” or oak-aged gins, the customer ultimately becomes confused and the category declines.
‘Worse still, the reputation of inferior quality sticks – smoky bacon or even cherry brandy whisky, anyone? The danger is that hybrid whiskies start to become more of a marketing opportunity, rather than about creating truly innovative whiskies.
‘I think that we have to protect the quality and global reputation of Scotch whisky, which is something the Scotch Whisky Regulations do. We intend to produce innovative Scotch whisky, while at the same time adhering to the Regulations, and that is a much greater challenge. To me there is little point in producing an innovative spirit in Scotland and not being able to call it Scotch whisky or even whisky.
‘As R&B Distillers, we want to look around the world at what distillers in other countries are doing and bring these innovations to our Scotch malt whisky production on the Isle of Raasay.
‘We want to showcase why young Scotch can be excellent, provided you set out to make a young single malt in the first place. We want to bring our heritage of blending and finishing premium Scotch whisky to our Raasay single malt production.
‘We believe our current Scotch whisky range – The Tweeddale, Raasay While We Wait and Borders – demonstrates our blending heritage and that it is possible to produce complex, young Scotch whisky.
‘We intend to define the lines – not blur them.”
You can read the full article on Scotchwhisky.com here.
What’s your view? Tell us in the comments section.