Craft & Heritage

Discover distiller’s editions

The collectors item you didn't know you needed.

Issue: 4

ang around a whisky aficionado for more than thirty seconds and you’re sure to hear the expression ‘distiller’s edition’. While the words seem self explanatory enough, the Alexander & James team thought the subject could use some clarity. Rare and often coveted, these whiskies deserve a little comprehension and a lot of fanfare. Plus, it’s always nice to hold your own in a conversation with whisky fans.

How they’re different

To produce a distiller’s edition, a distiller double matures an already delicious single malt whisky in different types of cask wood. By ageing the whisky in different types of wood, the distiller is able to accentuate the most interesting flavour, aroma and character attributes of that specific single malt whisky. Because of the double maturation process, distiller’s editions typically have a more forward nose and the palate is richer and sweeter. And since the aromas and flavours become more robust, distillers must carefully choose a single malt whose character will shine through.

Discover distiller’s editions

The process

Typically coopers (craftmen who make casks) build special casks for the second maturation of a distiller’s edition. When completed, the casks are filled with a fortified Spanish or Portuguese wine, specifically chosen to complement the single malt whisky that will later mature in that cask. The cask will hold this wine for a month before being emptied and refilled with a single malt whisky. The single malt chosen will come from the same year and vintage and will sit in the cask for a minimum of three months before being bottled. Distillers select the wine and cask wood for second maturation to complement the character of their distillery.

The judges at the 2011 San Francisco World Spirits Competition chose the Caol Ila Distillers Edition as their best single malt scotch whisky of all.

Better than a plate with the queen’s picture

Single malt distilleries produce just one small batch of distiller’s editions each year. The vintage, bottling date and batch number are shown on each bottle, as proof that this is a limited edition, vintage, double-matured single malt whisky. Roughly a hundred batches of distiller’s editions have been made over the years from whiskies spanning two decades of distilling. And no two are exactly the same. The artisanal process produces subtle variations in each batch and connoisseurs take great pleasure comparing across the years. Experts in whisky highly regard distiller's editions and as a result, these single malts have won many awards. See our current selection of distiller's editions.

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