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Independent Bottlers Challenge 2013 Winners

PRECISION BOTTLING
We reveal this year’s winners of our prestigious competition

The independent bottling sector provides consumers with an interesting and precise view into their favourite distilleries; the releases can serve to fill in the gaps left by official bottlings. Given the very nature of the bottlings, short runs, limited quantities and sometimes unusual years, these are the effemora of the whisky world; in a glass today and gone tomorrow. That’s what makes them so desirable to the drinking public, the chance to drink a little bit of history from a distillery you respect and enjoy.

There has been much talk of the independents feeling the squeeze from distillery owners in terms of obtaining stock, but, as this challenge shows, the sector is going strong and still coming up with some wonderful expressions.

INDEPENDENT BOTTLER OF THE YEAR

INDEPENDENT BOTTLER
OF THE YEAR

WINNER

Again this year we honour the independent bottler who scored the most points across all categories in the competiton with an Icon of Whisky.

Malts of Scotland

The Judges

  • Rob Allanson Chairman
  • Jim Anderson
  • Edward Bates
  • Jon Beech
  • Lucy Britner
  • Mark Connelly
  • Chris Goodrum
  • Alwyne Gwilt
  • Joel Harrison
  • Michael Lord
  • Charlie Maclean
  • Jonny McCormick
  • Annabel Meikle
  • Tom Morton
  • Neil Ridley
  • Pierre Thiebaut
  • Jason Thomson

CAMPBELTOWN

No Age Statement

GOLD

Master of Malt

That Boutique-y Whisky Co. Springbank

Delicate, with grapefruit citrus. Sweet attack, which is then swamped by a warm rush of peat. EB

Beautiful soft medicinal peat, buttered kippers on brown toast and shortcrust pastry. Buttermilk and a swathe of peat on the palate. NR

12 YEARS & UNDER

GOLD

Malts of Scotland

Springbank 2000

Treacle in the tin, caramelised carrots. Tomato sauce, HP Sauce. Wine gums. Heavy - malt extract on granary toast. A tannic grip and then more juicy, wine tastes came out with water. Leather pig skin. AM

Really nice balance between the cask sweetness and the peat. Warming with real character. EB

SILVER

WM Cadenhead

Springbank 11 Years Old

BRONZE

No bronze was awarded in this category

13 – 20 YEARS OLD

GOLD

Malts of Scotland

Glen Scotia 1992

Espresso bite, then dark chocolate bitterness. Hint of bacon fat and roast beef juices. A belter. AM

Real sense of deep dark brooding. smoky treacle and bonfires. Rich autumnal smoky fruit. EB

SILVER

Duncan Taylor Scotch Whisky Ltd

Dimensions Springbank 1993

BRONZE

Scotch Malt Whisky Society

93.51 Matrons sick bay and Angostura Bitters

21 YEARS & OVER

GOLD

Whiskies of Scotland

Glen Scotia 1991

Warm leather and soap. Intriguing nose that forces you to go back again and again. Rather yummy that. Complex blend of peat and fruit and spice. EB

Bottle aged sweet vermouth, bonfire toffee, butterscotch sauce, with a dry, oaky palate, some residual smoke and toasted almonds. NR

SILVER

Malts of Scotland

Glen Scotia 1972

BRONZE

Wemyss Vintage Malts

Strawberry Ganache

HIGHLAND

No Age Statement

SILVER

Master of Malt

That Boutique-y Whisky Co. Auchroisk

Lemon puff biscuits on the nose and the citrus theme continues with a bold fresh palate. Short dry finish. With water more citrus notes develop and more dryness. JB

12 YEARS & UNDER

GOLD

Malts of Scotland

Old Pulteney 2006

Plummy dried fruits with a luxurious explosion of fruit oils and wood spice. MC

Orange peel and muscovado sugar with hints of dunnage warehouse on the nose. The warehouse stays with me as I am imagining drinking this straight from the cask. The kick of this sherried whisky is calmed with water and gives a mouth filling complexity that belies it’s age with a hint of smoke? JB

13 – 20 YEARS OLD

GOLD

Master of Malt

Clynelish 16 Years Old 1997 Single Cask

Lemon sorbet and barley notes, followed by clean oak, chocolate and toffee. MC

Pineapples and burnt sugar on the nose leads to a bold sweetness with more fruit on the palate. With water grapefruit tanginess coupled with a creamy sweetness. Sweet moreish finish. JB

SILVER

Whiskies of Scotland

Clynelish 1995

BRONZE

Malts of Scotland

Ben Nevis 1996

21 YEARS & OVER

GOLD

Malts of Scotland

Glengoyne 1972

Baked fruits and plum jam. Rich, spicy and complex. Perfect for winter! MC

Complex aromas on the nose including marzipan, marmalade and cola. Large round ball of stollen on the palate with a slightly dry long finish. Hints of Scottish bluebell. JB

SILVER

Duncan Taylor Scotch Whisky Ltd

The Octave Blair Athol 1989

BRONZE

Wemyss Vintage Malts

Autumn Berries

ISLANDS (NON ISLAY)

No Age Statement

SILVER

Douglas Laing & Co.

Provenance Talisker Young & Feisty

A chemical fire on the breeze (almost acrid) and antiseptic cream. Develops into smoky bacon crisps. Less smoky in the mouth but quite a bit of brine comes through and a gentle sweetness. ML

BRONZE

Master of Malt

That Boutique-y Whisky Co. Highland Park

12 YEARS & UNDER

GOLD

Scotch Malt Whisky Society

4.170 Evokes the magic of Orkney

Some sweet barley, honey and sub-tropical fruit. Oily and youthful with hints of marc and spice. Hints of toffee’d oak now appear. Good spicy, honeyed length with the oak finally putting in an appearance. CG

Good balance and little burn, even at high strength. With water, evens out. Lovely, sticky toffee notes on palate. Quite enjoyable. AG

13 - 20 YEARS OLD

GOLD

Whiskies of Scotland

Isle of Jura 1993

Quite full, opening with a lovely barley sheen and some encroaching coffee tannins but the weight of juicy, sub-tropical apricot and orange fruit balances superbly. Finally some mature American oak puts in an appearance. CG

Sharp, punchy, orange filled palate with a great structure overall and sharp grassy finish. AG

SILVER

Duncan Taylor Scotch Whisky Ltd

Dimensions Isle of Arran 1996

21 YEARS & OVER

GOLD

Whiskies of Scotland

Highland Park 1990

Bucket loads of pineapple and mango slices with wisps of pencil sharpening and dabs of lemon. Still very tropical on the palate with an intriguing drying quality. ML

A beautifully soft and subtle nose of sweet barley, straw, mature white fruit, apricot and salt along with some lightly mature oak. CG

SILVER

Malts of Scotland

Highland Park 1986

BRONZE

Douglas Laing & Co.

Director’s Cut Highland Park 21 Years Old

ISLAY

No Age Statement

GOLD

Master of Malt

That Boutique-y Whisky Co. Caol Ila

Blossom honey, coconut, orange zest, vanilla pods gouged out on the back of a spoon. A taste of tangerine and melons. JM

Fresh, maritime, abundant carbolic; some acidic tinned fruits. Liquorice taste. CM

12 YEARS & UNDER

GOLD

Malts of Scotland

Port Charlotte 2001

A burst of intense orange and worked leather. Gooey toffee when water is added but that deep orange keeps blazing like the setting sun. JM

Machine oil. Zest of orange, hard toffee. Hemp ropes, smoke. Later treacle toffee.CM

SILVER

Scotch Malt Whisky Society

129.1 A Smoky, Peachy, Yoghurt of Loveliness

BRONZE

Duncan Taylor Scotch Whisky Ltd

Dimensions Bruichladdich 10 Years Old

13 - 20 YEARS OLD

GOLD

Malts of Scotland

Bowmore 1995

Deep amber. Dry; hessian and sweet tobacco; later meaty and smoky sausages. Sweet and faint smoky taste, with dried bones and fruits; then sweet and tannic taste, with spice. CM

SILVER

Whiskies of Scotland

Laphroaig 1997

BRONZE

WM Cadenhead

Bowmore 14 Years Old

21 YEARS & OVER

GOLD

Duncan Taylor Scotch Whisky Ltd

Dimensions Bunnahabhain 1979

Plum jam on wedding cake with extra marmalade. Syrup of figs and hot chocolate, to fruit compote, sweet with rosehips and salt. TM

Lemons squeezed over polished floors with gentle woodsmoke on the breeze. Tidy and well structured with a lemon core. JM

SILVER

The Golden Cask

Bunnahabhain

BRONZE

WM Cadenhead

Ardbeg 21 Years Old

LOWLAND

No Age Statement

GOLD

Master of Malt

That Boutique-y Whisky Co. Auchentoshan

Much more complex than its years would suggest. Reminders of chalky sweets and tropical fruits. JT

12 YEARS & UNDER

GOLD

Scotch Malt Whisky Society

5.35 Laundry in the Bakery

Soft fruity, raisin, floral nose with oranges and peaches. fudge. Green hay and slight bitterness on the palate - fruit notes come back at the end. LB

It has a real mixture of character. It ventures from sweet perfume to haylofts in the summer to fresh baked vanilla slices. JT

SILVER

Malts of Scotland

Auchentoshan 2000

13 - 20 YEARS OLD

GOLD

Whiskies of Scotland

Auchentoshan 1998

Burnt caramel, yellow apples, pear drops, white pepper with floral top notes. Deliciously tangy on the tongue with dry straw and toffee. LB

Very much reminded me of growing up in the country side cereals & slight mucky note. JT

SILVER

WM Cadenhead

Auchentoshan 14 Years Old

BRONZE

Scotch Malt Whisky Society

25.61 Lemon and Vanilla delicacy

21 YEARS & OVER

GOLD

Scotch Malt Whisky Society

50.49 Pudding in a glass

Rich, creamy, vanilla fudge, dried raisins and chocolate, coffee beans. Plum, chocolate and touch of marmalade on palate. Big flavour. complex. LB

Big bags of grain and scoops of vanilla ice-cream here. Very engaging on the palate from start to finish. JT

SILVER

Robert Graham

Littlemill 1985

BRONZE

WM Cadenhead

Magdalene 30 Years Old

NON SCOTCH

12 YEARS & UNDER

GOLD

Heartwood

Release the Beast

Cherry cola, tomato chutney, hoisin sauce. Chinese five spice, like being in a Chinese supermarket. Liquorice root. More red liquorice, strawberry chewing gum, and red Thai sauce. Very unusual but curiously drinkable. AM

Damp, dank cellary notes, quite a lot of dried meat too. Intriguing, complex. Big chunky sherry and smoke. Real power, redolent of a really old Karuizawa. Blimey! EB

SILVER

Scotch Malt Whisky Society

128.3 Chesnut puree and new hiking boots

13 - 20 YEARS OLD

GOLD

Scotch Malt Whisky Society

124.3 All the complexities of summer

Quite hot, with lots of tropical fruit. Without water the alcohol gets in the way on the palate. With water it softens right out. Delicious ripe warm fruitiness. Hmmm, lovely. EB

Fresh orchard fruit, a slight slate/wed stone note, fermented blackberries and clotted cream. NR

21 YEARS & OVER

GOLD

Scotch Malt Whisky Society

116.17

With water, it becomes soft and mellow. Leather armchairs. Barley sugar with a soft whiff of smoke. A real fireside dram. EB

Very dry aromatic peat, bonfire toffee and tarte tatin. Sweet and very pleasant. NR

SPEYSIDE

No Age Statement

GOLD

Master of Malt

That Boutique-y Whisky Co. Glen Moray

Fresh and bright with banana, vanilla and a hint of honeysuckle. Some vegetal notes too. A delicate fizz with some melon, vanilla, a few cereal notes and a nice gentle finish. PT

Sweet nose with a touch of acetone; honey on the tongue with hints of rose & heather; lasting, sweet malty finish. JA

12 YEARS & UNDER

GOLD

Malts of Scotland

1836 Glenfarclas 2001

A full-bodied and firm palate with butter cream and nougat notes which continue throughout the long finish. JA

Oak, menthol spices, with oily palate, fruits and pumpkin. JH

SILVER

Whiskies of Scotland

Linkwood 2000

BRONZE

Duncan Taylor Scotch Whisky Ltd

Dimensions Cragganmore 2000

13 - 20 YEARS OLD

GOLD

The Golden Cask

Aultmore

Sweet patchouli, strawberry Nesquik, sugar puffs. JH

Mild nose of peach and meringue; warming palate with more peach, toffee, malt and a silky mouthfeel leading to a gradual, balanced tapering finish. JA

SILVER

Robert Graham

Dancing Stag Mortlach 1996

BRONZE

Malts of Scotland

Mortlach 1994

21 YEARS & OVER

GOLD

Whiskies of Scotland

Glen Grant

Wet wood and a little malt on the nose; very light body, sweet and spicy flavours grow on the mouth, finishing with a complex climax of cinnamon and lavender. JA

Aromatic herbs, a hint of leather, dried fruits and caramelised sugars. Has well balanced complexity, develops and evolves. PT

SILVER

Cumbrae Supply Co. Ltd

The Golden Cask Braes O'Glenlivet

BRONZE

Malts of Scotland

Longmorn 1976

GRAIN

No Age Statement

BRONZE

Master of Malt That Boutique-y Whisky Co.

North British

Juniper. White Pepper. Very aromatic vanilla and herbaceous notes with liquorice and anise. NR

12 YEARS & UNDER

GOLD

Scotch Malt Whisky Society

G91 Sweet and sour melange

Milk chocolate, sour cherries, freshly ground coffee and mandarin zest. Creaminess and green apple skins with water. Superb and delicate. NR

Gum, brown envelope. Little shy but starfruit. Powerful zesty citrus notes. Toasted oakiness and a long finish. AM

13 - 20 YEARS OLD

GOLD

Scotch Malt Whisky Society

G5.5 Rich, Sweet and Comforting

Fresh summer pudding, rich vanilla, farmhouse toffee and ripe cherries. Hugely spicy on the palate, with clove and a beautiful creamy coconut. NR

Fresh almonds. Five spice, suntan lotion. Mentholic cool with water. Sweet pipe tobacco. Big, rich aniseed character. AM

SILVER

Malts of Scotland

North British 2000

BRONZE

Master of Malt

North British 18 Years Old 1994 Single Cask

21 YEARS & OVER

GOLD

Whiskies of Scotland

Cameronbridge 1978

Red apple, touches of fresh fruit salad, with summer berries (blueberry and strawberry) smothered in cream. NR

Toasted wood, ginger snaps, red fruits, quince paste. Tingling spice lingers. AM

SILVER

Scotch Malt Whisky Society

G1.11 Iced mulled wine and Sorrento Limencello

BRONZE

Duncan Taylor Scotch Whisky Ltd

Dimensions Cameronbridge 1979

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