An independent bottler is a company that is sold barrels of whiskey by distillers. Many distilleries now exist solely to sell whiskey to independent bottlers, and they often sell high quality and yet little-known whiskeys that can make a perfect groomsmen gift, or even as an addition to your whiskey cupboard!
From quality and small-batch single malt whiskeys to more experimental blends, independent bottlers offer some real treats, and these are some of the very best you should know about. So sit back, get your Glencairn glass out, and see what you’re missing!
1. Wilson and Morgan
Wilson and Morgan is an Italian independent whiskey bottler that has a history dating back to the beginning of the 20th Century. The company is connected to the Rossis, a famous family of Venetian traders. In the 1960s, the company branched out from their traditional wine and oil business and into whiskey. Later, in the 1980s, the company became the Wilson and Morgan independent bottlers.
To this day, Wilson and Morgan releases a wide range of quality whiskeys, sourcing their barrels from brokers and distillers across the United Kingdom.
2. Malts of Scotland
Malts of Scotland is a German independent bottler that is best known throughout mainland Europe. Its whiskeys are sometimes available in the United States, and should you ever come across anything they release, it’s sure to be an interesting and exciting product. The company is known for releasing high quality whiskeys like the cask-matured Islay Heaven Hill, which proved exceptionally popular in the United States.
3. Old Bothwell
Old Bothwell made its name for its range of affordably-priced, yet fantastic-tasting Port Ellen Scotch whiskey. The company has continued bottling high quality whiskeys like their Port Ellen range, with many of their products being sold in regular stores, and even at auction. Unfortunately, though, the prices have increased quite significantly. If you’re lucky enough to find anything by Old Bothwell, expect to pay more than you did with the Port Ellen range.
4. The Scotch Malt Whisky Society
This society was founded back in 1983 by a group of whiskey enthusiasts, and today it has become much more than a group of fans. It is now a member’s club with branches all over the world, and every month, the society releases a new whiskey.
Originally, the whiskeys released were available only to members, but as the club has grown the whiskeys have been made available to the public. Non-members must pay more to purchase the bottles, but those who become members can enjoy these whiskeys at members-only bars across the world. So, if you’re looking for great whiskey and interesting people to enjoy it with, the Scotch Malt Whisky Society might be right for you.
5. Mackillop’s Choice
Finally, there is Mackillop’s Choice – a range of whiskeys that have been specially selected by the heir to the chief of the Mackillop clan in Scotland, Lorne Mackillop.
After years working in the wine industry, and becoming a Master of Wine, Lorne Mackillop now works for the owner of the Tomintoul distillery, and regularly chooses his favorite whiskeys to bottled and sold.
These are just five our favorite independent bottlers. We hope the next time you’re shopping for a gift (for your friends or for yourself!) you’ll think of them and get the chance to discover a new great whiskey.