One could even argue that we should thank independent Scotch whisky bottlers for the
resurrection of the Scotch malt whisky category at the start of the new millennium. Most Scotch
whisky distilleries were owned by large corporate owners at the time - and large companies are
inclined to look at the bottom line for the next quarter rather than next year’s or next decade’s.
The problem with malt whisky is that it often needs at least a decade to mature properly...
These days, most large drinks conglomerates actually have their own
large bottling plants - but independent Scotch whisky bottlers still
play an important role in the distribution of the more exclusive whiskies.
While the big spirits corporations were busy cutting costs and increasing profit margins, some
independent bottlers kept selecting exceptional casks before releasing them as single cask
bottlings or vattings - usually under a label or whisky brand of their own.
At times, the whisky world can boggle the mind.
Distilleries and independent bottlers can release different 'brands'.
For example, Douglas Laing used to have several series / ranges in
its portfolio, including 'Old Malt Cask' and 'McGibbon's Provenance'.
The list of BOTTLERS below contains
the main independent bottlers, as well
as the large drinks corporations that
operate their own bottling plants.
Some companies are not active any
more, but their bottlings can still be
found at auctions and in collections.
And then there are corporations that own both distilleries and bottlers.
Whisky bottlers can effectively own whisky distilleries and vice versa.
To complicate things further, sometimes the ownership of a certain
brand or distillery is divided across several different companies.
This page can only provide a simplified version of reality...
Scotland arguably has the oldest and largest whisky industry in the whole world.
This also left Scotland with the largest number of whisky distilleries in the world,
especially until the whisky production was regulated in the early 19th century.
This created enough room in the market for an extra ‘middle man’ between
whisky distillers and whisky drinkers: the bottler that does the bottling...
Real ‘malt maniacs’ know all these complicated relationships
by heart, but for the occasional afficionado here’s a ‘cheat sheet’...
INDEPENDENT SCOTCH WHISKY BOTTLERS
Please note that the overview below is sort of a ‘0.9 version’ of the bottler list.
At the moment, only the main independent bottlers of Scotch whisky are included;
in due time, more significant bottlers will be added to the list.
mIf independent bottlers l
Or so they say - but people say lots of stuff...
The 1990’s were strange times for all of us, but
In past log entries, I may have ‘misunderestimated’ the number of bottles in my collection a bit as not to appear a complete alcoholic, so
Ael - Differences: everybody has internet access and more commercial / - PricesSome people make the argument that concumers 'flipping bottles' within days or even hours of buying them are to blame too, and that's a fair point. > >... On the other hand, one could argue that
4 eSo, what about whisky investment?
So, investing in whisky is a good idea? Well, hold on...
If we forget about inflation for a moment, the ‘value’ of a bottle I bought around 2000 has increased tenfold in a
little over a decade. But a slightly ‘inferior’ successor with a red stripe on the label (bottled around 2005) may
fetch ‘only’ 150 GBP at stores like The Whisky Exchange.
And don’t forget that this bottle already cost quite a bit more in 2005 (I’d say around 75 Euro’s), so suddenly
the ‘investment’ only doubled in value over a decade. And that’s for a whisky which is still FANTASTIC (90pts),
just slightly less fantastic than its green labeled brother.
did that stop me from - - One decade later, there’s something else II’ll get back to all that in a few later Liquid Log entries - in the first few fresh entries I want to look at the different phases of my / Reading a debate is different from being part of a debate
I have become a better person that I was in the 1990’s - even though I already was pretty content with myself at the time. / Not so great: There was still some exclusivity in whisky snobbery in de 1990s
- yes, I have some ‘snob’ in me after all.also: now flavoured whisky, so instead of going back to the roots, innovations
Shocking levels of hypocricy: 11/11/2014: SWA calls promotion of alcohol free whisky “irresponsible marketing”.
Why is that?, you may ask... Well, I’d like to think that’s partly thanks to the web and sites like Malt Maniacs.
These have made the whisky world more transparent, so you don’t have to rely on just ‘the industry’ for advice.
Whyte & Mackay
Wilson & Morgan
The Vintage Malt Whisky Company was founded in 1992 by Brian Crook.
Dutch whisky importer Van Wees is successful with ‘The Ultimate’ since the 1990s.
The ‘bottler’ Wemyss Malts seems shady - and conencted to the Kingsbarns distillery.
Started as ‘The Whisky Fair’, the focus of The Whisky Agency is now on bottling.
The Whisky Doris whisky store in Germany evolved into an independent bottler.
In 1999 the Singh brothers started The Whisky Exchange as Speciality Drinks Ltd.
The fairly young Whiskybroker Ltd. company in the UK was established in 2010.
I know that Whizita is a German bottler, but I’ve only sampled a few of their bottlings.
Whyte & Mackay Ltd. was founded in 1844 in Glasgow. It later fell into Indian hands.
The William Grant & Sons owns some of Scotland’s largest distilleries.
Italian bottler Wilson & Morgan carries on a proud wine and whisky bottling tradition.
Master of Malt
Milroy's of Soho
Morrison & Mackay
Number 1 Drinks
Praban Na Linne
Single & Single
The independent bottler Maltbarn was founded by ex-maniac Martin Diekmann.
Bottler Master of Malt has been dormant for a while, but it’s very prolific these days.
Milroy's of Soho in London is both a whisky store and an independent bottler.
In Italy, bottler Moon Import was already bottling masterpieces during the 1990s.
This small independent bottler used the name The Scottish Liqueur Centre before.
Murray McDavid was named after the grandparents of co-founder Mark Reynier.
In 2006 Marcin Miller founded The Number One Drinks Company (Japanese whisky).
Bottlings from The Nectar were only officially available in Belgium and Holland.
The Pacific Spirits company owns its whisky subsidiary Inver House Distillers Ltd.
The French Pernod Ricard group manages its whisky interests via Chivas Brothers.
Praban Na Linne was founded in 1976 by Sir Iain Noble on the Isle of Skye.
Italian bottler Samaroli was one of the first and has a legendary reputation.
The independent bottler Scott's Selection owns part of ‘the’ Speyside distillery.
The Sestante bottling company from Italy stopped operating around 1990.
Signatory Vintage is one of Scotland's premier independent bottlers.
Silver Seal is the unofficial 'successor' of legendary Italian whisky bottler Sestante.
The first Single & Single bottling was released as recently as 2008.
SMWS is short for Scotch Malt Whisky Society - another needlessly generic name.
Gordon & McPhail
American bottler D&M Club is located in San Fransisco and does mostly club bottles.
As Scotland’s largest whisky producer, Diageo is also Scotland’s largest bottler.
After some very succesful years, Douglas Laing was split into DL and Hunter Laing.
Euan Shand and Alan Gordon bought Duncan Taylor in 2002 and moved it to Huntly.
The Edrington Group was founded well over a century ago (in 1865) in Glasgow.
For some time David Stirk bottled whisky under the generic ‘Exclusive Malts’ brand.
At the moment it’s not quite clear if Fusion Whisky is a brand, a blender or a bottler.
Gordon & MacPhail was founded in 1895 by James Gordon and John Mac Phail.
Donald and Iain Hart founded the bottling company 'Hart Brothers' in 1964.
I only learned to disrespect Helen Arthur after I tried some of her bottlings.
The bottler High Spirits was founded quite recently by Italian Ferdinando Fiori.
Hunter Laing is a fairly new bottler, split off from Douglas Laing a few years ago.
The Highlands & Islands Scotch Whisky Co. Ltd. is the company behind ‘The Ileach’.
Bottler Ian MacLeod has half a dozen brands, including Chieftain’s and Dun Bheagan.
German bottler Jack Wieber has several series, including JWWW and Old Train Line.
James McArthur is not as generous with information on labels than other bottlers.
The small French bottling company Jean Boyer was founded in 1993.
Bottlings by Kingsbury are destined exclusively for Japan.
Lombard is the only independent bottler with its main offices on the Isle of Man.
Luxury giant LVMH grew from a merger between Louis Vuitton and Moët Hennessy.
A. D. Rattray
A. D. Rattray had to change its name from Dewar Rattray after Dewar’s objected.
As far as I know, Acorn has always bottled casks of whisky for Japan exclusively.
Their full name of Adelphi Distillery Ltd. is a bit confusing and possibly misleading.
I don’t think that Gordon Wright is active as a ‘hobby bottler’ any more.
Angus Dundee is located in London and it has operated for over 50 years.
The Bacardi conglomerate owns John Dewar & Sons to deal with its whisky business.
Bartels Whisky is a sponsor for Malt Madness - so they are the first to get a link here.
Beam Global is just one part of the Fortune Brands conglomerate.
They started with wine in 1698, but these days Berry Brothers bottles whisky too.
Some of the marketing tactics of Blackadder are on the edge, but most bottles are great.
Names don’t come much more generic than ‘The Bottlers’ - for a... erm... bottler.
Burn Stewart is now based in Scotland, but their owners are from Trinidad.
Berry Bros is ‘English’, so Cadenhead's is Scotland’s oldest independent bottler.
Celtic Whisky Company is a French independent bottler that was founded in 1997.
John Glaser produces blends, vatted malts and grains under the Compass Box brand.
The Creative Whisky Company isn’t very creative in its focus on ‘exclusive’ malts.
Some of these companies proudly bottle whisky under their own name (or the names of the malt
whisky distilleries they own), but you won’t find some of the names on this list on any of the bottles
at your liquor store. Sometimes the name of a company is provided in tiny print on the back label.
However, that still doesn’t tell you which larger company owns THAT company in return.
Those who have been drinking Scotch whisky on an Olympic level often have a pretty good idea
of the companies behind the various labels and brands in the whisky world. But it’s not so easy
for whisky beginners who are bedazzled by the overload of Scotch whisky brands at a liquor store.
I’m currently still polishing up this refurbished page - and I got most of the data from an older version of this page that was hardly updated after 2012. Please let me know on Twitter or Facebook if you know of any other COMPANIES that have bottled and released whisky.
I’ll expand this page further in a few days, but first I want to get the ‘core’ list of bottling companies above as complete as possible. That will take some further research...