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Issue 63 - Barrels of innovation

Whisky Magazine Issue 63
April 2007


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Barrels of innovation

Ian Wisniewski looks at how companies are pushing the boundaries with casks

Innovative cask selection provides two valuable opportunities, enhancing the flavour profile of the resulting malt whisky, while also giving the distiller (and marketing department) a story to promote. And with malt whisky fans now accustomed to continual innovation, their inevitable refrain is what's next ?

“The motivation for me is we should always aspire to make ever greater whisky, as our understanding of how to make great whisky improves and techniques improve.

It's not so much innovation but challenging the way we do things, to see if there's a better way, within certain parameters,” says John Glaser, who has won Whisky Magazine's Innovator of the Year award four times.

Whyte & Mackay's Richard Paterson adds, “Ablender has to be innovative and make his products exciting and vibrant, so he's going to experiment with a lot of casks and different styles of malt. But you must never let casks dominate your whiskies, the character of the whisky must come through.” This raises the question of how a particular type of cask, and the influence it has to offer, will interact with different styles of malt.

“Whenever I'm choosing casks I always ask, will this be compatible with the age profiles of any of my whiskies, and you know instinctively whether it will work. Not all malts will have a love affair with all casks, and you need to have a whisky that's compatible with the cask,” says Richard Paterson.

Glenmorangie's Dr Bill Lumsden continues, “Glenmorangie is a ...

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