A new whisky company is seeking to resurrect blends from “lost distilleries” as the interest in Scotch whisky increases.
The Lost Distillery Company is the brainchild of Scott Watson and Brian Woods, both of whom previously worked at Diageo, who were intrigued by the idea that in the last century almost 100 distilleries have been lost – closed down due to financial hardship or through neglect.
With the help of Scotch whisky expert Michael Moss, the company researches the flavour profiles of these distilleries, the types of stills and barley they used and other distillation techniques and then sources whiskies to blend together to best recreate the spirit.
Watson told the drinks business: “Historical whisky making is a bit of a dark art but his (Moss’s) knowledge is astounding.”
Both Watson and Woods admit that the whiskies are not exact recreations but rather “modern interpretations” and represent a “look into the past”.
Nonetheless, as Woods adds, the idea is to do so without being, “too shortbread tins and bagpipes”.
Both think that “consumes are a bit tired of mainstream brands,” and that the idea of being able to taste whisky styles that haven’t been produced for over 100 years in some cases is an, “interesting proposition”.
What is more, by following historical recipes, Watson explained that it would be possible to recreate blends from the 1850s up to the 1930s, as well as allowing for experimentation with single cask expressions and so on.
So far the company has the right to reproduce whiskies from 20 closed distilleries across Scotland.
Woods said that, for financial reasons, the first whiskies would not be launching in the UK initially, with the US and parts of Europe promising greater levels of interest – although if the opportunity arose to be present in UK duty free then Watson said they would consider it.
The first two whiskies to be released later this year will be Stratheden (from Fife) and Auchnagie (from the Atholl Estate in Perthshire – both pictured above).
Waiting in the wings for a release late this year or early next year, are Benachie, Gerston and Dalaruan. in a nice touch, the colour of the labels is based on something from the distillery – the green for Stratheden on the colour of the doors and Auchnagie on the gates.
Over the next six years it is hoped that all 20 whiskies will be released. Production will be small, around 800 cases each and prices should be between £40 and £45 a bottle.