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Independent whisky bottlers have a way-old history. As the name suggests, Independent bottlers are those specialized whisky brokers bottlers who take liquor from either new distilleries or established and reputed distilleries and then rebrand it to sell them under their name. in simple terms, these whisky bottlers purchased the whisky from distilleries and then repackaged them in self-designed bottles to sell from their shops. The label you see on the bottle generally contains the name of the independent bottler, followed by the distillery’s name. The advantages of buying whisky from independent bottlers:-
Variety- The whisky that these bottlers sell has a myriad of options to select from because most of them are released as single releases; they can be ‘blends’ or ‘married whisky varieties.’
Price- Since independent bottlers contour these whiskies, the price of these high-quality drinks is certainly lower than that of established and well-known brands.
The charm of uniqueness- Most of the whisky that these independent whisky bottlers produce is a single cask and is hence limited and unique. That means, once a batch ends, there is no way of procuring that whisky again. This rarity makes seeking and trying different whiskies from independent bottlers a whole lot exciting.
New and distinct flavors- To invent new flavors, some independent bottlers finish their whisky in a different type of barrel; these can be rum barrels, wine barrels, and sherry barrels, resulting in a significant change in the body and sometimes the entire flavor profile of the whisky.
Keeps the market exciting and fresh- If we always buy from huge brands that mass manufacture whiskies, its art will slowly get lost in favor of chasing numbers, which will make the market incredibly dull. Independent bottlers provide a fresh perspective every time they bottle a new cask.
Top 25 Independent Whisky Bottlers
1. GORDON & MACPHAIL
Also known as the grandfathers of long-aged whisky. Gordon and Macphail are amongst the oldest and the most prestigious distillers. This business was inherited from their forefathers. They started this tradition during the 1960s. Before G&M, most malts were sold after five to eight years of aging. Their Warehouses were the most beautiful ones, where they produce the oldest and rarest whiskies. In the year 1993, they purchased Benromach Distillery. They have been entrenched in this business for more than 115 years and have bottled about 350 varied expressions from 70 distilleries. Matching spirit with oak for 115 years, they understand the intricacies of the cask portfolio. The experience that they inherit enables them to contemplate the different styles of whiskies. Their sophisticated and mature management creates balanced and subtle malts. What makes G&M different from the other bottlers? While the others give a thought to only how to bottle the whiskies, G&M work penetrates to find the best way of maturing it. This immeasurable knowledge of casks combined with the gargantuan knowledge of whiskies provides the best whiskies in the world.
No matter how much G&M grows, they have always been grounded in terms of hand-picking their casks. Believing in maintaining deep relations with their bodegas, their regular visits to Speyside Cooperage in Craigellachie are a testimonial to this.
One of the peculiar features of G&M is their timing! Their mantra is “RIGHT CASK, RIGHT TIME.” During maturation, they are extremely vigilant about extracting the right flavors from the casks at the right time. With the quintessence of timing, they endeavor to the point where spirit and wood are balanced to provide a euphoric taste! They simply boast of their entrenched experience in cask management, a process of sampling casks as and when they mature. Cask management is important to decide when to bottle the whisky or to leave it alone.
Its philosophy is what engages its customers. Correct cask delivers the right taste to swirl your tastebuds!
2. Claxton’s – Glenrothes 19yo 1997
With a beautiful palate of thick caramel and chocolate, this single malt is very well sherried and is 19 years old. These bottles are made in very low numbers, and only 669 bottles were ever produced.
3. Berry Bros & Rudd
The oldest family-owned wine and spirits merchants, Berry Bros and Rudd, were founded in 1698 as a humble grocer’s shop. Because of their famed excellence, quality, and reliability, they became one of the world’s most respected and renowned spirit makers. This company produces a delightful selection of small-batch whiskies and casks. This family also owns Glenrothes Single malt brand. They have a beautiful small store in the middle of London, and it is mostly the same for three centuries.
4. Wilson & Morgan
They are an Italian bottler who was in business since the early 20th century, and they have been making whisky since the 1980s. They bottle some unique whiskies because of their relations with distillers and brokers in the UK.
5. Hunter Laing & Company Ltd
Even though they are relatively a younger company, Hunter Laing and company has quickly jumped the ranks by producing a number of unique and rare bottlings in their Old Malt cask and Old and rare collections. Since the whisky industry is a lot reputation and prestige based. Hunter Laing and Company have made a name for themselves by collaborating with the likes of Macallan and Clynelish.
Hunter Laing is the creator of what we think is one of the most beautiful collection of single casks, The Author’s Series whisky collection.
Found in 1988 by Andrew Symington, this company works with more than 50 distilleries under a strict release policy. They certainly believe in beauty and aesthetics, which is evident in the minimalistic bottles and labels they use for their creations. They go to lengths to make sure that the bottles look attractive as they bottle and label the whiskies with hand.
7. Silver Seal
This Italian company was founded in 1979 with the name Sestante. Massimo Righi, the director of a small company called Whisky Antique, is now the owner of this company. Famous for only selecting 1 of hundred whiskies, this brand has built up a formidable reputation for releasing the best rum and Scotch.
8. Rest & Be Thankful
The inspiration for this unique name is the inscription on the top of Glen Croe. Thankfully, the uniqueness is not just in the name this young company is known for. Rest and be thankful are known to be experimental and innovative in their approach. They collaborate with a number of distilleries to make the most varied whisky.
Founded in 1989, this company is based in Aberdeen and is innovative, as it brings modern science and old tradition. They select each cask by hand, and they use technology for a quality check as well. It has offices in London and works big names like Laphroig and Talisker.
10. Scotch Malt Whisky Society
This society was founded by a bunch of friends in the year 1983. Started as a group of connoisseurs, this society is now a global club that releases new whiskies every month, through which members and non-members can enjoy. This group has several partner bars as well, and it bottles hundreds of casks annually.
11. IAN Macleod
You may not have the foggiest idea about the name Ian Macleod, yet in case you’re a devotee of non mainstream players, you will have known about the Chieftain’s bottlings – a broad scope of extraordinary whiskies. The organization additionally possesses Glengoyne and Tamdhu and is the blender of Smokehead and Isle of Skye.
12. Murray McDavid
They were established in 1996 by Mark Reyneir, Simon Coughlin, and Gordon Wright. Mission series is a good example of their bottlings, most of which are single cask. Not any ordinary cask too. Murray Mcdavid ages its whisky in high-quality oak casks, which are imported. Murray Mcdavid also has its boat, which is used for whisky tasting as well as trips.
13. Lady of the glen
Founded in 2012 by Gregor, Lady of the glen acquires rare casks of single malt whisky, and then they sell it under their name. Lady of the glen are well known for providing exceptional flavors. Currently, 20 million casks lie maturing in various Scottish locations. They don’t tamper with the casks and don’t believe in bulk purchases, and each cask is hand-picked to present the best whisky flavors.
14. Mackillop’s Choice
A scope of whiskies chosen by Lorne Mackillop, beneficiary to the head of the Mackillop faction. While the group was nearly cleared out by the English in the eighteenth century, Lorne’s line proceeded and after years in the wine exchange – and capability as a Master of Wine – he presently works for Angus Dundee, proprietor of Tomintoul refinery, and chooses his #1 whiskies to be packaged with his name on the mark.
15. Wemyss vintage malts
Based in Edinburgh and known for its blended malts, this distillery is a family business founded in 2005 by William Wemyss. They have three blended malts, them being spice king, the hive, and peat chimney.
This brand was once a distillery; this was from 1826 to 1907; now, they are known as one of the very best independent bottlers, and they use ex-sherry or ex-bourbon casks.
17. Hidden spirits
Andrea Ferrri founded it; this is an up-and-coming Italian brand known for its meticulous selectiveness of its bottlings.
18. Malts Of Scotland
Not to be mistaken for Single Malts of Scotland, MoS is a German bottler notable in terrain Europe for packaging intriguing whiskies. It has as of late begun doing intriguing things with American whiskies – Islay-container developed Heaven Hill, anyone? – which has put it immovably on our radar.
19. Celtic Whisky Company/celtique connection
This is an odd one out of the list as this company is French. Since they are based in France, wine casks were easy to come by, and hence it flourished.
20. Old Bothell
Yet another family-operated business. This distillery is known for its versatility. Its special own-label whisky also deals in various other drinks like Champagne, vodka gin, and numerous other drinks. They also offer a personalized labeling service.
21. Elixir distillers
Elixir distiller is a company run and established by two brothers Sikhinder and Raj Singh. They were the first ones who took the whisky business online. Today, the whisky exchange is one of the largest and most successful online liqueur stores. They export their brand to more than 20 international markets and boast of their surge in this business.
22. Aerolite Lyndsay
Another brand for newbies is that this brand makes drinks that are very appealing to people who are new to fine whisky.
23. Angus Dundee
Based in London, this brand is an independent bottler and blender, most famous for the Bastard malt, funny right? This malt is called so because the distillery from which it is acquired is a mystery.
Okay, so this strange-sounding name has amazing significance behind it; they have the debris of the cask in which the whisky is made inside every bottle. This provides a truly unique and quaint experience that is hard to forget. It is very hard to get some debris in every bottle, so god knows how Blackadder can pull it off.
It is the only independent bottler that is based in the Isle of Man. They have about 300 years of experience and know-how, and it shows. In the starting, they were mainly focused on maturing whiskies for other companies. They started bottling in the 1960s and haven’t looked back since.