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William Grant launches whisky programme of rare and ghosted blends

William Grant & Sons is offering retailers and select customers the opportunity to blend and bottle some of its rarest Scotch whisky stocks as part of its new Rare Cask Reserves programme.

William Grant’s Rare Cask Reserves features rare whisky blended in a unique bottling

Described as a “concept, rather than a brand”, Rare Cask Reserves will feature old malt and grain whiskies from existing and closed distilleries not owned by the company that have become a part of the Grant family’s private collection over time.

The main aim of the Rare Cask Reserves programme is to offer retailers around the world the chance to blend and bottle their own expression using some of the stocks at the Glenfiddich Distillery in Dufftown alongside master blender Brian Kinsman.

William Grant has already produced The Annasach Reserve for five retailers in the US, each of which has their store name printed on the label. The unique 25-year-old blend will be launched in September as the first project under the Rare Cask Reserves programme, which has the capability to provide up to 12 different expressions at a time.

Private clients are also able to create their own bespoke blend with Kinsman at a minimum of 33 nine-litre cases.

Also available is a gift pack of three select blends – a blend, a blended grain, and a blended malt – which have already been bottled for Harrods department store in 2013, and The Whisky Shop this June. The pack carries an RRP of £250 and must be purchased in batches of 33-300 nine-litre cases.

“For the first time in our history, we are unlocking these rare casks to produce a finite number of batches, never to be produced again,” said William Grant & Sons master blender, Brian Kinsman. “It’s an incredibly exciting time in whisky innovation and I’m thrilled that the Whisky Shop team are one of the few to join me to create their own whiskies.”

A Vintage Range gift pack containing three 200ml bottles, will be created particularly for global travel retail, but will again only be available in limited quantities.

The Rare Cask Reserves Ghost Vattings will feature malt whisky from closed distilleries

Ghosted vattings

In addition, William Grant will be releasing a series of “ghosted vattings” – not available as a bespoke product – using malt whisky sourced from distilleries no longer operational.

The first release is a 26-year-old, 42% abv vatting of malt whisky from Ladyburn, a distillery on the site of Girvan that closed in 1974, and Inverleven, which operated from 1938-1991.

Just 6,000 bottles of the blended malt will be released in global markets at an RRP of £300 for a 700ml bottle from September 2014.

William Grant estimates it has “four to six years’ worth of stock” for the ghosted vattings range, which it acquired from “struggling” distilleries in the 1980s.

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