The Contents of a Whisky Bottle… We’re not talking about the whisky itself in this case, but all the things that need to happen to get it from cask to vessel.
Whisky bottlings either occur at cask strength without dilution or, as is most likely, are brought down by adding water to a lower alcohol by volume (ABV) content. We’re bottling Raasay While We Wait at 46% abv and Borders single grain at 51.7% to handcraft the perfect balance of each.
Single Cask vs Vatting
Single cask bottlings come, as their name suggests, from just one single cask. Most single malts however are the results of vatting – combining a number of casks from one distillery (like our new Raasay and Borders expressions). For this reason one expression of a brand can vary from bottle to bottle, which only adds to the unique experience of enjoying whisky.
To Chill Filter or not to Chill Filter
Some whiskies are subject to an additional process before final bottling called chill-filtering. You may have seen bottles (including our own) proudly staing that the whisky inside is ‘non-chill filtered’. There are plenty of arguments for and against chill-filtration well explained by the Whisky for Everyone blog here.
At cold temperatures whisky can become cloudy due to fatty acids, esters, and proteins in the whisky from distillation and maturation. A decrease in temperature causes these compounds to group together giving the appearance of cloudiness and also sometimes a sediment. Chill-filtration means this appearance won’t occur but there are arguments over what that does to the taste.
We personally believe there’s no need to fix what isn’t broken, and leave all our whiskies as is in this respect.
Taking bottles for show at events in the outdoors of Scotland means this talking point can certainly arise!
Colouring, like chill-filtration, is another optional step in the bottling process. Adding caramel to a whisky will change the colour imparted to it naturally from maturation and/or finishing casks. The traditional view of whisky is that ‘the darker the better’, but as the malt world is exploring new appreciations of younger whiskies and uncommon cask finishes a wider range of natural colours can say premium quality.
As a new whisky company preparing to build and bottle new whiskies, we’re proud of the youth of our liquid from Raasay and Borders in inviting whisky lovers on the journey with us from the beginning.
It helps that we know they taste amazing too – we recently took the latest cask samples but you’ll soon be able to buy and try for yourself. Join our free Slainte Club to hear when pre-order becomes available.