It seems that Fettercairn Distillery is still fighting the perception that it isn’t a good quality malt. Once that word of mouth spreads amongst the whisky drinking community it is a hard reputation to shake. For anyone who is put off by what they’ve heard or they tasted it a while ago and weren’t impressed we implore them to revisit this distillery.
The cure for Fettercairn has actually been quite simple as they just invested heavily in much better casks and have re-racked basically every cask in their warehouse. This has essentially transformed the quality of their liquid. Whisper it quietly amongst your whisky friends (so as to not offend anyone) and tell them this is now a very good whisky.
As for their setup, they produce whisky in a very traditional way with small stills, wooden washbacks and an open mash tun. The style of Fettercairn is quite full-bodied, nutty, and underpinned by quite tropical fruit notes. Production is now up to about 1.5 million litres per year. Fettercairn Distillery was founded in 1824 and like many struggled to survive in the early years with a fire, sporadic bankruptcies, wars and global depressions causing the distillery to open and close on a regular basis.
Under Whyte & Mackay’s ownership from 1973 to 2009 very little was bottled as a Single Malt and it is only in the last 10 years where there has been more focus on building the brand. A core range of 12, 28, 40, and 50 years are now all available and the repackaging has enhanced the image. Today most of the liquid is aged in first-fill bourbon casks which gives the whisky a little bit of added sweetness.
For investment purposes, it is clear with the huge investment that the owners have put into Fettercairn that they see great potential with the brand. The limited-edition releases are all selling out very quickly which shows that they may be finally winning over the fickle whisky enthusiast market and there are now many different special cask finishes coming into play. If you are going to buy into Fettercairn then the time to do it is now as the momentum is building behind this once unloved distillery.
Region: Eastern Highlands
Owner: Whyte & Mackay
Capacity: 3.2m litres
Fermentation: 60 hours
Casks Used: Bourbon & sherry casks plus port & sherry PX finishes.
Current Sales: N/A
Recent significant awards:2020 International Spirits Challenge – Double Gold for Fettercairn 46yr old.
Independent bottlings: Around 450
Core Range: 12, 28, 40, 50
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