Hunter Laing Islay range marks distillery workBy Nicola Carruthers
Scotch blender and bottler Hunter Laing & Co has unveiled a range of six “extremely rare” Islay whiskies to mark the start of construction work on its Ardnahoe Distillery.
Expressions in The Kinship range have a combined age of 181 years and were hand-picked by Jim McEwan, former master distiller of Bruichladdich who was appointed production director at Ardnahoe Distillery.
The range comprises of a 34-year-old Sherry cask Port Ellen (£1,800), 33-year-old Sherry cask Caol Ila (£375), 30-year-old Sherry cask Bowmore (£495), 30-year-old Bourbon cask Laphroaig (£720), 28-year-old Sherry cask Bunnahabhain (£310) and a 26-year-old Bourbon cask Ardbeg (£720).
As each whisky has been bottled from a single cask, they are available in limited quantities and each come presented in an individual jute bag.
McEwan describes the Port Ellen whisky as being like “a tidal wave in a glass” and called the Bunnahabhain as “without doubt the best Sherry-matured Bunnahabhain I have tasted”.
“I knew before I joined the Hunter Laing family to embark on the journey to create Ardnahoe that they had an amazing array of casks,” said McEwan. “So having the chance to search through their whisky stocks for exceptional examples of Islay whisky was an incredible experience.
“The whiskies in The Kinship range are a tribute to the brotherhood of Islay distilleries, of which I’ve been fortunate to be a part for most of my life, and now once again with Hunter Laing as we extend the Islay family with the establishment of Ardnahoe.”
Hunter Laing revealed plans to move into distilling for the first time last year with the build of its £8 million Ardnahoe Distillery – set to become Islay’s first new whisky distillery in a decade.
Stewart Laing, who leads the company with his sons, Scott and Andrew, added: “With the world’s whisky fans looking towards Islay for the festival, and our distillery build getting under way, we wanted to release a truly special collection of whiskies that fitted the occasion. We’re hugely proud to be adding a new chapter to Islay’s whisky story and The Kinship is a fitting tribute to celebrate this exciting time for us and whisky fans all over the world.”
The range will only be sold at the company’s new shop on Islay during and after the Feis Ile festival.
The shop, which will remain open for at least a year until the build of Ardnahoe Distillery is complete, will also sell a range of Hunter Laing bottlings.
The Kinship range is available during Feis Ile from 10am on Friday 26 May at the Ardnahoe shop in Brigend.