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‘Top secret’ whisky panel creates bottling brand

An anonymous group of industry experts with more than 200 years of combined experience has launched a new independent Scotch whisky bottling brand, called Whisky Illuminati.

Whisky Illuminati’s first range is called The Candlelight Series

The project is the brainchild of Colonsay Beverages co-owner and director Keith Bonnington and digital marketing entrepreneur Stephen Gorman.

The panel that selects liquid for bottling under the Whisky Illuminati name is said to be composed of “the most discerning and respected noses and palates in the whisky industry”.

The experts assess single cask liquid for bottling, seeking out whiskies that are “distinct from each other but uniquely can be presented as a series”. Each Whisky Illuminati collection will contain three or more bottlings.

Bonnington said: “We’re a group of like-minded, quality-obsessed individuals who have come together through a love for good Scotch whisky to assess and acquire outstanding single cask malt whiskies worthy of the Whisky Illuminati seal of approval.

“Our members don’t crave the limelight; we simply want to bring exceptional whiskies to market. Not constrained by age or style, the Whisky Illuminati’s releases are individually first-class but a complete one-off as a collection.”

Whisky Illuminati’s first range is called The Candlelight Series and features four single cask malts: a 1988 Spanish oak Sherry butt from Mortlach (£260/US$335), a 1988 American oak hogshead from Linkwood (£260/US$335), a 1997 American oak hogshead from Clynelish (£270/US$348) and a 1997 American oak barrel from Glentauchers (£270/US$348).

Bonnington added: “For our inaugural release, we traversed one of the most coveted whisky regions of the world [Speyside] in search of whiskies that we considered to be among the best examples of the chosen distillery’s signature style, from a muscular and bold Sherry oak aged Mortlach to a delicately sweet and fragrant Glentauchers.”

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