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A selection of older Abbey Whisky exclusive bottles.

Friday Focus - A look back at our exclusive drams!

You may have noticed we've been a little quieter than normal on here. The summer holidays are well underway and as a family run business life is certainly busy! Next year Abbey Whisky celebrates 15 years in the business and as we're normally so focussed on planning what comes next, we thought it might be nice to stop and look back at some of the things we've achieved over the past decade and a half.

One area of the business we're extremely proud of is our Abbey Whisky Exclusive bottlings. Mike at Abbey has certainly gained a reputation for selecting some fine casks and earlier this year was delighted to receive 'Buyer of the Year' in both the Scottish and Global categories at Whisky Magazine's Icons of Whisky Awards. 

Here we take a retrospective look at some of our favourite exclusives from the past 15 years. We also enjoy looking back at some of the infographics and advertising we've created over the years. 

The Secret Casks

The Secret Casks bottled by Abbey Whisky | Abbey Whisky Online

One of the first series of drams we launched was The Secret Casks, a trio of old Speyside drams comprising of 30, 40 & 50 year old single malts. Although we were unable to disclose the distilleries these drams originated from, the quality of the content spoke for itself. On reflection now, we only wish we kept more for ourselves. 

The Rare Casks

The Rare Casks bottled by Abbey Whisky | Abbey Whisky Online

The ethos of The Rare Casks series was to introduce and explore drams that excite and stimulate discussion. Always bottled at natural cask strength, without colouring and in very limited numbers, for this series it was important for us to  bottle drams 'different' to the norm, those we considered outstanding. 

'The Glencadam is exceptional. They also continue the trend of excellence that Abbey Whisky have established with this Rare Casks range. You could pick up any one of these and be assured of something special'

Mark - malt-review.com

The Rare Casks 10cl Whisky Bottles | Abbey Whisky Online

The first release was our Caperdonich 17 year old single malt. A limited edition release with just 96 bottles filled, it was distilled in 1995 and left to rest for 17 years before being selected and bottled by Abbey in 2012.

'I really enjoy this kid of jumpiness, it's a very lively Caperdonich that, at times, hints at Rosebank in a way'

Serge Valentin - Whisky Fun

The Rare Casks early years bottled by Abbey Whisky | Abbey Whisky Online

A Bunnahabhain 23 year old then followed, a lovely, peated Islay single malt distilled in 1989 and matured in a refill Bourbon barrel. Our 1997 Ben Nevis bottling was a real sherry bomb. Distilled in 1997 and aged for 16 years in a single sherry hogshead, this deep, dark whisky was bottled at natural cask strength, we even hiked a bottle of this up the mighty Ben itself (we can't resist a photo opportunity). The Glencadam 22 year old was our 4th release in The Rare Cask series. Distilled in 1991 and matured in a refill bourbon cask, the whisky hails from the only existing (previously mothballed) distillery in the region of Angus.

A delightful 21 year old from Glen Garioch followed, a truly honest and well crafted dram with wonderful subtle flavours. A real sophisticated dram, awarded 'Silver Recommended' by Whisky Magazine. A stellar dram, if we do say so ourselves. 

Ben Nevis The Rare Casks Series up Ben Nevis Munro | Abbey Whisky Online

Anon.

In 2015, to coincide with the launch of a new website, we launched batch one in The Anon. collection as part of The Rare Cask series.

Anon Whisky Series by Abbey Whisky | Abbey Whisky Online

This series of 4 bottlings come from some of Scotlands finest distilleries which remain anonymous, hence the name. Batch 1 was distilled in 2001 and matured for 13 years in total with the last 6 months spent in an Oloroso sherry cask. Only 90 bottles were released.

To celebrate Abbey Whisky's 10 year anniversary, we released Anon. Batch 2. Distilled in 1999 at a very famous distillery on the Isle of Orkney. It was matured for 17 years in a refill sherry butt and was bottled a day before its 18th birthday. A fitting dram indeed to celebrate our own coming of age.

Anon. Batch 3 & 4 The Rare Casks | Abbey Whisky Online

Anon. Batch 3 is the oldest release in The Rare Cask series to date. This 30 year old dram was distilled in 1988 at a distillery well known for sherry cask maturation, where it matured in cask for 30 years. The bottle features a stunning exclusive label design from talented artist Peter Herron. 153 bottles were filled at cask strength, 46.6% volume.

Anon. Batch 4 is the fourth instalment in the Anon. series. A 20 year old hearty dram distilled in 2000 in the Northern Highlands, it features another Peter Heron designed label, one of the finest we've stamped onto a bottle of whisky.

A New Look for Abbey

In 2019 Abbey enlisted the talent of artist Peter Herron, to design a series of bespoke labels for the Rare Cask range. The stunning label designs hint at the origin of the bottle contents in some way, giving each release a very different and unique look to reflect the different whisky in the series. In addition to the two Anon. releases mentioned earlier, Peter's labels also feature on the following releases in the Rare Cask Series:

The Rare Casks by Abbey Whisky | New Design

CAOL ILA 11 YEAR OLD

We've been offered many single malt Caol Ila casks over the years but once we tried this delightful 11 year old from Islay, we couldn't resist bottling. Distilled 2008, bottled in 2019 adorned with another fantastic label from Peter. 

GLENALLACHIE 10 YEAR OLD

Distilled in 2008, selected and bottled by Abbey Whisky 2019 - A big and bold Speyside dram, bottled at 66.2% vol but incredibly drinkable, even at this strength. Winner of Whisky Magazine Editors Choice Award, issue 166.

TAMDHU 12 YEAR OLD

Distilled in 2008, selected and bottled by Abbey Whisky in 2020. A rare and excellent ex-bourbon expression from a distillery normally associated with sherry cask maturation.

BIMBER SINGLE OLOROSO CASK

Our first foray in to bottling a whisky produced out-with Scotland and it did not disappoint. As soon as we sampled this stunning cask we had to bottle it. Clean and full of flavour. Only 178 bottles were filled from a single Oloroso cask.

 Bimber AW Exclusive Single Cask | Abbey Whisky Online

Distillery Exclusives 

DAFTMILL CASK 043 | AW EXCLUSIVE

Daftmill Abbey Whisky Exclusive | Abbey Whisky Online

Hailing from the bonny region of Fife, we were more than excited when the opportunity arose to bottle our very own Daftmill cask, a distillery not only local to us but also one of our favourites. Located in Fife's agricultural heartland, Daftmill is a farm distillery using its own grown barley in the distillation process. Cask 043 was distilled in 2007 and matured for 12 years in a first fill Bourbon cask before being selected and bottled by us in 2020.

Daftmill Abbey Whisky Exclusive | Cask 043/2007 | Abbey Whisky Online

GLENALLACHIE CASK 667 | AW EXCLUSIVE

We've always been huge admirers of the work of Billy Walker and so when the opportunity arose to put our name to one of his fine GlenAllachie drams we grabbed it. A truly exceptional malt, this GlenAllachie 12 year old single malt was bottled in 2020 after maturing in a PX puncheon giving it a rich, dark colour and depth of character on both the nose and palate. A true beauty of a dram. 

GlenAllachie Cask 667 | AW Exclusive | Abbey Whisky Online

BENROMACH CASK 388 | AW EXCLUSIVE

'Supremely interesting Speysider, delivering a kaleidoscope of flavours with poise'

Dramface.com - Something Special 8/10

Benromach AW Exclusive Review by Dramface | Abbey Whisky Online

Our latest exclusive, this 11 year Speyside malt so impressed us with its combination of subtle smokiness with sweet fruit owing to its maturation in a first fill Bourbon barrel. Recent reviews suggest others feel the same way about this delightful dram. We're big fans of Benromach both in terms of the spirit they produce and the hand crafted approach they take in its production. As our most recent release, only a few bottles remain available on our site. Grab yours while you still can. 

 Benromach AW Exclusive Single Cask 388 | Abbey Whisky Online

KILCHOMAN 2009 VINTAGE | AW EXCLUSIVE

Awarded 'Silver Recommended' - Whisky Magazine issue 123

Awarded Bronze Medal - Malt Maniac Awards 2015 (MMA)

The Isle of Islay has always held a special place in our heart and no trip to Islay is complete without a visit to the Islands farm distillery, Kilchoman. Established in 2005, Kilchoman distillery holds true to tradition and is one of just a handful of distilleries to still practice floor maltings, even growing their own barley for use in the distillation process. Cask 285 rested for over four and a half years in a fresh bourbon barrel before being transferred to a Pedro Ximenez cask for a further four months maturation culminating in a delightful dram with all the taste and character you'd expect from a Kilchoman whisky of this age. Teaming up with these guys to release our very own exclusive bottle was a dream come true.

Glenglassaugh and Kilchoman AW Exclusive | Abbey Whisky Online

GLENGLASSAUGH CASK 563 - 2012 | AW EXCLUSIVE

Whisky Magazine Silver Recommended Award

In our opinion, Glenglassaugh is one of those mysterious distilleries with a warehouse full of old and extraordinary drams just waiting to be discovered. We were lucky enough to bottle our own cask which was an absolute beauty of a dram.

Rich, thick and with dark, syrupy PX sherry, marzipan and treacle. Apricots soaked in honey, warm gingerbread and milk chocolate. Old coffee granules and a dank, earthy dunnage warehouse vibe.

Rated 9.2 - Becky Paskin, Whisky Magazine

Awarded the 'Silver Recommended' award by Whisky Magazine.

Big Hitting Sherry Bombs

GLENDRONACH CASK 33 | AW EXCLUSIVE

This outstanding dram was one of the first distillery exclusives we put our name to and the first in a series of AW exclusives from GlenDronach distillery. To this day it holds a dear place in our hearts. Distilled in 1993 and bottled in 2013 this is a full bodied dram that packs a real punch with a dark crimson colour owing to its 20 year slumber in an Oloroso sherry butt. Cask 33 epitomises everything we love about GlenDronach.

yes it’s perfect. Rich yet vibrant, not that sweetish, very chocolaty, with a lovely spiciness between cloves and pepper, some gingerbread, some chestnut honey and touches of bitter oranges. What’s not to like? Ultra-classic sherry monster.' -

90 Points - Serge Valentin, Whisky Fun

96.5 Points Liquid Gold Award - Jim Murray's Whisky Bible

GlenDronach Sherry Bomb Single Casks | Abbey Whisky Online

GLENDRONACH CASK 3400 | AW EXCLUSIVE

'A really good GlenDronach, better than its sister cask which was released by GlenDronach itself.

90 Points' - Ruben, Whisky Notes 

'I don’t know how GlenDronach or even Abbey Whisky are so consistently good in cask selection and quality. But the GlenDronach 1994 Single Cask #3400 is a sublime whisky.' 

Mark, Malt Review

It certainly wasn't an easy task selecting a cask to follow the epic dram that was cask 33 and comparisons will inevitably be made. However, going with another GlenDronach was a great place to start. Distilled in 1994 and matured for 20 years in a Pedro Ximenez Sherry butt, this exceptional dram is well deserved of equal praise thanks to its sophisticated depth of flavour. 

GLENDRONACH CASK 5850 - GAS | AW EXCLUSIVE

Dubbed 'The Belter', Cask 5850 was a joint bottle collaboration between our good friends at GAS (GlenDronach Appreciation Society) and ourselves and has certainly lived up to its moniker. After resting for 27 years old in a Pedro Ximenez Sherry butt, this cask awoke and took the sherry loving whisky world by storm.

10th Anniversary Whisky

Abbey Whisky 10th Anniversary Whisky | Abbey Whisky Online

Back in 2018, we bottled a series of casks from different regions and distilleries to celebrate Abbey Whisky's 10 year anniversary. We had a fantastic time delving through warehouses sampling and selecting some fine drams to share with our loyal customers. 

GLENDRONACH CASK 66 | AW EXCLUSIVE

'Fabtastic Glendronach, 91 Points' -

Serge Valentin, Whisky Fun

This stunning single cask was another exceptional sherry bomb. Distilled in 1992 and bottled in 2018 after maturing for 26 years in an Olorosso sherry butt, those familiar with the previous GlenDronach releases were certainly not disappointed.

GLENDRONACH CASK 652 - 1993 | AW EXCLUSIVE

'It's a 'shock and awe' attack of sherriness, but with refinement. Its powerful sweet-frontage is backed up by a layering of hidden complexity, but I think the complexity is eased out with a drop of water. Mike Sharples is the Cask Whisperer. Outstanding.'

Sean Russell

Abbey Whisky 10th Anniversary Drams | Abbey Whisky Online

GLENROTHES CASK 5469 - 2006 | AW EXCLUSIVE

A mighty dram matured for 10 years in a sherry cask yet extremely drinkable even at full strength of 67.1% volume. 

We'll let these verified customer reviews do the talking. 

'This is the best whisky I’ve ever tasted!!!!! A great whisky from a great online shop.'

'I thoroughly enjoyed it! One of the best high strength Glenrothes I’ve ever had.'

'An absolutely phenomenal whisky that I still talk about today. No one who tasted it could believe that it was 67% ABV.'

GLEN GARIOCH 1993 - BERRY BROS & RUDD | AW EXCLUSIVE

Whisky Magazine - Silver Recommended Award

A robust and complex Highland malt that still retains a hint of smoke and older characteristics of a 'Geery' distilled prior to 1994. Only 78 bottles filled from cask. Incredibly proud to put our name to this bottling, an outstanding single malt and right up there as one of our favourites.

Glen Garioch 25 Year Old Berry Brothers Abbey Whisky Exclusive Release | Abbey Whisky Online

Berry Brothers & Rudd

One Independent bottler we've always enjoyed collaborating with is Berry Brothers and Rudd. As one of the oldest wine and spirits merchants out there, we know from experience working with them that they only put their name to produce of the very finest quality and this is an ethos we indeed aspire to.

A SECRET SPEYSIDE 2007 VINTAGE - BERRY BROS & RUDD | AW EXCLUSIVE

Winner of Whisky Magazine Editors Choice

Although we can't disclose the distillery, this cask was just too good to pass by. A rich Speysider, this dram spent 14 years maturing in a first fill sherry butt and is packed with wonderful rich flavours.

MORE TO COME...

Asking us to choose our favourite is a bit like asking us to choose a favourite niece or nephew, we couldn't possibly ;) ...the bonus being we got to select every cask ourselves and are proud to put our name to each and every one. A full list of Abbey Whisky's awards can be viewed here.

Looking ahead as we approach our 15th year online, we can't wait to bring you a new selection of fantastic exclusives. Be assured, with a legacy of such fine drams in our portfolio, going forward we'll continue to select those drams that excite and stimulate discussion and bring real pleasure to our customers.

Watch this space...

Slàinte

Em x 🥃

 

 

Next article Lochlea to launch their first core single malt - 'Lochlea Our Barley'.

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