Arbikie unveils Scotland’s first rye whisky in a century

Arbikie Highland Estate based in Arbroath has released its first whisky, which it claims is the first rye whisky to be produced in Scotland in 100 years.

Bottled at 46% ABV, only 998 bottles of Arbikie’s Highland Rye Single Grain Scotch Whisky was will be released, priced at £250 each. 

The ‘field to bottle’ whisky uses a combination of Arantes rye (52%), Odyssey malted barley (33%) and Viscount wheat (15%) which were grown on the estate. It was laid down in 2015 and matured in first-fill charred American Oak casks and finished in Pedro Ximénez casks with no caramel colouring and no chill filtration. 

Arbikie Estate director John Stirling said the Highland Rye Whisky embodied everything his family has been doing since it started farming 400 years ago.

“We are absolutely thrilled to launch Scotland’s first Rye Whisky in over 100 years,” he said. “Records show a distillery at Arbikie in 1794, a time when they would have only used crops grown on the family farm.

“We’re bringing this tradition back to Scotch whisky with provenance, terroir and traceability of ingredients at the heart of everything we do. Growing rye requires long periods of dry weather, which can be challenging, however our farm team has done an excellent job.”

John Stirling, director of Arbikie Highland Estate, said: “Records show a distillery at Arbikie in 1794, a time when they would have only used crops grown on the family farm.

“We’re bringing this tradition back to Scotch whisky with provenance, terroir and traceability of ingredients at the heart of everything we do.

“Growing rye requires long periods of dry weather, which can be challenging, however our farm team has done an excellent job.

Master Distiller Kirsty Black added that producing the whisky had been challenging. “We’ve been working on our Highland Rye for years and it has posed some challenges from a growing and distillation point of view,” she said. 

“The main differences between our Highland Rye and American rye is that traditionally American rye uses corn in their mash bill, and usually malted rye. At Arbikie we have used unmalted rye, malted barley and wheat. The ageing process is also significantly different due to temperatures in the US and Scotland respectively.”

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