Fettercairn Distillery announced their first-ever Scottish Oak Release, an 18-year-old single malt finished in Highland Scottish oak casks. The new Fettercairn 18 Years is the first tangible result of Whyte & Mackay’s Scottish Oak Programme, which is led by whisky maker Gregg Glass.
The Fettercairn 18 Years initially matured in American white oak casks before a complete finish in oak sourced from the Scottish Highlands. According to the press release it celebrates “what makes Fettercairn different”, alluding to the distinctive copper cooling ring distillation as well as their focus on Scottish oak and collaboration with local farmers.
Scotch whisky aged in Scottish oak is rare. Glengoyne seems to have been one of the first 20 years ago, but earlier this year there have also been releases from The GlenAllachie and Royal Salute. Even Whyte & Mackay has dabbled in Scottish oak before when they debuted King of Trees, a Highland blended malt finished in Scottish oak casks.
Typically casks used in the production of Scotch whisky are sourced from abroad, whether it be ex-bourbon barrels from the United States or European fortified wine casks (often ex-sherry) from Spain and Portugal. Gregg Glass was inspired by his time spend in local sawmills with his grandfather on the Black Isle, so he set about exploring the role Scottish oak could play.
After joining Whyte & Mackay in 2016 he began implementing the Scottish Oak Programme, developing partnerships with local estates, sawmills and coopers. The programme has now expanded across all of company’s distilleries – Dalmore, Fettercairn, Jura and Tamnavulin.
Glass said, “Fettercairn 18 is a culmination of an approach to whisky making I have developed across a number of years. This first release reflects the dedication not just of myself, but of our partners ‘from Forest to Field’, who each played a role in rekindling the skills required to harvest Scottish Oak. At Fettercairn we are passionate about the potential of Scottish Oak and the unique flavour characteristics it offers to the whisky maker.”
The new Fettercairn 18 Years is bottled at 46.8 percent, natural in colour and non-chill filtered. It’ll be rolled out in “key global markets” from October onwards at an RSP of £175.