You might have realized that I am a big fan of independent bottlings. So when I visited Köpenicker Whiskyfest on the first weekend in September, I had to attend in the Signatory and Gordon & MacPhail tasting on Saturday evening. Marco van den Breuk from Passion Whisky, a German retailer based in Halle, presented five different drams in a very cozy atmosphere on a launch called Togo, which lies in a small pier in Köpenick’s Müggelspree.
When you think of Signatory, the first distillery that comes to your mind will probably be Edradour. After all, the small Highland distillery is owned by that very company since 2002. Fittingly, we started our evening with a ten years old Edradour distilled in 2006 and bottled in 2016. It was matured in a sherry cask and offered a lot of sweet notes of honey and caramel combined with cotton candy and red fruits. A very delicious appetizer! We then went on to a 19 years old Glen Keith matured in two hogsheads. As Glen Keith did temporarily close its doors in 1997, this was one of their last distillates that found its way into a cask. Nowadays the distillery is working again, but they only use their whisky for blends. This one was a real fruit bomb with pineapples, peaches, pears and tangerine.
The last but one Signatory bottling of the evening was a ten years old Bunnahabhain matured in a first-fill sherry butt. Exclusively bottled for German whisky fairs in 2017, this whisky offered wonderful notes of coffee and chocolate as well as oranges and raspberries. It reminded me of a famous German sweet called “Erfrischungsstäbchen”, which consists of chocolate-coated sugar filled with either orange or lemon juice.
While Signatory has a huge warehouse with about 10,000 casks bought from distilleries throughout Scotland, the other independent bottler of the evening, namely Gordon & MacPhail, usually buys the distillate from the producers and fills it into casks on their own. From them, we tried a 14 years old Ardmore matured in three refill sherry hogsheads. This slightly peated whisky, which was the first cask strength release in the tasting’s line-up, offered sweet notes of red fruits like apples, plums and berries. Bottled at 56.7%, it pleased you with a long, spicy and peppery finish. Before we had to leave the launch, Marco poured a last whisky into our glasses. A 23 years old Highland Park matured in wine-treated butts was another bottling from Signatory. A wine-treated butt is a cask that previously held sherry and is then filled with a small amount of sherry again to saturate the wood. The sherry that is left in the cask afterwords is thrown away. This method is not legal anymore in Scotland as it is too heavy of an intervention into the maturation process. This whisky offered sweet smoke, red fruit jelly and strawberries combined with a pleasant sherry sweetness. A wonderful finale to an entertaining tasting that sent the participants back to the fair booths happily.
Edradour 10yo by Signatory (Single Malt Scotch Whisky / 10yo / 46% / ~55.00 Euro)
Glen Keith 1997 by Signatory (Single Malt Scotch Whisky / 19yo / 46% / ~55.00 Euro)
Bunnahabhain for German Whisky Fairs 2017 by Signatory (Single Malt Scotch Whisky / 10yo / 45% / ~70.00 Euro)
Ardmore Re-Fill Sherry by Gordon & MacPhail (Single Malt Scotch Whisky / 14yo / 56.7% / ~75.00 Euro)
Highland Park 23yo Wine Treated Butt by Signatory (Single Malt Scotch Whisky / 23yo / 55.9% & ~190.00 Euro)