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Independent bottlings

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If you don’t like a standard bottling, does it mean you won’t like any of its independent bottlings?

Yes – You can’t make a silk purse out of a pig’s ear
3
11%
No – It’s a different cask, matured and finished differently so it tastes different from the standard to improve it sufficiently.
25
89%
 
Total votes : 28

Independent bottlings

Postby TreacleSponge » Sat Oct 20, 2007 2:57 pm

If I'm not keen on a standard bottling I no longer try any variation of it. But perhaps I'm missing out on finding something great by doing this. So if I don't like the OB, does it always follow that I won't like an independent edition of the same whisky?
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Re: Independent bottlings

Postby Admiral » Sat Oct 20, 2007 11:41 pm

Courtesy of the SMWS, I've tried quite a number of delicious and spectacular casks from distilleries whose OB bottlings I've not been impressed with.

Examples are Linkwood, Glen Scotia, Dallas Dhu, just to name a few.

Cheers,
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Re: Independent bottlings

Postby K-Mile » Sun Oct 21, 2007 2:43 pm

There are so many factors, alcoholic strength not the least, that affect the whisky after aging, so I think it's pretty safe to say that it's worth a try.

On the other hand, does it also work that way vice versa? Can an IB ruin a perfectly fine whisky? Chill filtering, coloring, watering down, etcetera...
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Re: Independent bottlings

Postby Di Blasi » Sun Oct 21, 2007 4:33 pm

Unless it's actually the distillery character from that certain OB that you don't like, it's very possible and likely you'll enjoy other OB's from the same distillery, and from independent bottlers I'm sure.
And K-Mile, I'm sure an IB can ruin a perfectly good whisky with a bad/inferior cask, and whatever else they choose to do with it.
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Re: Independent bottlings

Postby TreacleSponge » Sun Oct 21, 2007 8:06 pm

Yes, there's definitely some IBs that are poor even though the original is a good whisky. And many IBs that improve on already excellent whiskies. There are some OBs I just can't get excited about - Cragganmore and Arran spring to mind - and I just wonder if they can be turned around to such an extent by an IB.

Are there any independents that stand out as tending to produce good bottlings?
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Re: Independent bottlings

Postby Ganga » Mon Oct 22, 2007 5:00 pm

Some of the best expressions I've had have been IB's. Macallan, Springbank, Mortlach all come to mind. Then again, some of the worst experiences have also been (see Trader Joe's bottlings).
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Re: Independent bottlings

Postby Leither » Mon Oct 22, 2007 5:10 pm

I would recommend Cadenheads as an example of an excellent independent bottler and have been so for what seems an eternity:

http://www.wmcadenhead.com/

You can order online or they have fantastic premises in both Edinburgh, Canongate (bottom of Royal Mile) and London (Covent Garden) and also elsewhere in Europe.

Specialists in single cask, cask strength bottlings and you really cannot go wrong. Fair prices too.
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Re: Independent bottlings

Postby The Fachan » Mon Oct 22, 2007 11:11 pm

With an OB the producers want consistency from one batch to the next with however many casks that may be. An IB has something new every time and long may it continue, some will be poor, some good and some fantastic.
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Re: Independent bottlings

Postby K-Mile » Tue Oct 23, 2007 12:09 am

Leither wrote:I would recommend Cadenheads as an example of an excellent independent bottler and have been so for what seems an eternity:

http://www.wmcadenhead.com/

You can order online or they have fantastic premises in both Edinburgh, Canongate (bottom of Royal Mile) and London (Covent Garden) and also elsewhere in Europe.

Specialists in single cask, cask strength bottlings and you really cannot go wrong. Fair prices too.


Not to forget a great little shop in Amsterdam. I went there a few weeks ago, and was staring at the immense selection of (obviously) Cadenheads bottlings, as well as others and OB's.

It was no less than 4 drams later before I even got to make a decision on what whisky to buy. He just grabbed bottle after bottle to have me try them. Went out with a Springbank 15yo and the Lagavulin 16 DE from 1990. At fair prices, too.

I think the shop owner is also giving a masterclass at Whisky Live Leiden next month.
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Re: Independent bottlings

Postby Di Blasi » Tue Oct 23, 2007 12:51 am

TreacleSponge wrote:Are there any independents that stand out as tending to produce good bottlings?


Yes, Douglas Laing does a fantastic job with their bottlings!!
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Re: Independent bottlings

Postby Ardbeggar » Thu Oct 25, 2007 1:37 pm

I was recently faced with the choice of buying a Macallan 18 OB or a 27yr Macallan that was bottled by the Old Malt Cask brand. I went with the former because the IB idea I wasn't too sure about. Plus I know the 18 was finished in Sherry casks and I think the 27 was just dumped right in the bottle. But maybe I missed out.
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Re: Independent bottlings

Postby irishwhiskeychaser » Thu Dec 06, 2007 6:50 pm

Indy bottles have served up some cracking drams but there has also been a few let downs.

If you like your Talisker 10 or some of the other bigger Islay brutes then single casks will nearly always reward you.

If you like Glenlivet 12 yo. Then stick to the 12 yo as it is a single malt blended to be that way.

Just depends what you want from your dram?
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Re: Independent bottlings

Postby pmullin » Fri Dec 07, 2007 1:55 am

I agree that there can be a vast difference between the DBs and IBs - with the balance swinging either way.

AS previously mentioned, the downside of the IBs is that they are a bit of a crap shoot - you're not quite sure what your getting.

My best advice is to find a local whisky bar that carries the IB and try it for a few bucks, before forking out for a bottle that you may not care for.
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Re: Independent bottlings

Postby Ganga » Fri Dec 07, 2007 6:51 pm

In general, I haven't been disappointed by Murray McDavid bottlings. The exceptions are the finished whiskies that they've been producing lately. I would also suggest Duncan Taylors premium line (Whisky Galore's can be a little all over the place) as well as Douglas Laing's OMC line (still need to try a premier barrel).
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Re: Independent bottlings

Postby Wave » Sat Dec 08, 2007 8:24 pm

I love IB's and at least 60% of my collection is from independent bottlers. I wholeheartedly agree with Leither about Cadenheads and I always stop in their shop in Edinburgh whenever I'm there for a bottle or two. Other favorite IB's are from Douglas Laing (OMC and Platinum Selection), Scott's Selection and Signatory. I have come across some IB stinkers, one that comes to mind was a Glenrothes 17yo OMC, but many others have been absolutely brilliant, like a Caol Ila 17yo sherrycask finished OMC and a Port Ellen 18yo '83 Scott's Selection.

Here in the US the only way to taste some single malts (Ben Nevis, Glen Elgin, Glen Grant, Mortlach, etc) is to buy IB's since the OB's from these distilleries just aren't shipped here.


Cheers!
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Re: Independent bottlings

Postby Deactivated Member » Sun Dec 09, 2007 2:43 pm

I have a couple of IBs which are far superior to OBs that I have tried from the same distillery!

Some Examples:
Scapa - G&M (Not Conn. Choice)
Glenrothes - D. Laing - Although I like much older OBs, this OMC is far superior to many of the current younger ones.
Jura - Murray McDavid, 14yrs
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Re: Independent bottlings

Postby Willie JJ » Sun Dec 09, 2007 2:49 pm

Couldn't agree more with the sentiment that independents can come up with truly outstanding bottlings.

For example, there was a recent (a few weeks ago) Cadenheads Bowmore 14 year old at 63.9%. It was absolutely fantastic and rather un-Bowmore like in my view. When we tasted it blind I swore it was cask strength Laphroiag. When I acquired a bottle I found that more in depth examination led me to the conclusion that it was necessary to buy more. Sadly the bottle numbers are so small that by the time all the Cadenheads places get their share there was only a few bottles per shop. So I didn't get any more :cry: .

And ok the independents are capable of pushing out some duff casks, but if everything was a 97, then nothing is good or bad it's all just the same. Half the fun is in the exploration (at least for me) and in finding a gem that can be set aside for sharing with friends. If life was simple it would be boring.

Keep the independents coming that's what I say. However, it is clear that they are finding it increasingly difficult to source casks from the distilleries so their day may be coming to a close.
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