Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Independent Bottlers Installment

Here at The Son of Winston Churchill We haven't been paying the independent bottlers the attention they deserve, but we are about to make amends.

Over the next couple of month we are going to take a closer look at three of the "newer" Independent Bottlers in the game, and review a fistful of their offerings.

I'm very well aware of the hefty debate there is going around in whisky-forums and circles, where a lot of people seem to believe, that many of the “newer” Independent Bottlers are all in it, to make a quick buck out of the whisky boom.

Maybe I'm not that conservative thoughts new things, or maybe I'm just a more the merrier kind of guy, and if you ask me, I'm pretty sure that even Stewart “Hunter” Laing and Andrew Symington themselves, would like to make an honest bucks, by the end of the day.

This installment is going to include the following Independent Bottlers:

  • Chapter 7
  • Maltbarn
  • The Single Cask

Click here for the complete list of upcoming reviews in this installment

Starting today you can read the story behind Chapter 7 and the review of their Glenrothes 1997 – 17 years old bottling. 


Chapter 7

“A cask is as individual as a chapter in a novel. The author may be the same but the spirit always different”.

Chapter 7 is an independent bottler brand, which means that they don’t produce their own whisky, but buy their barrels of whisky from established distilleries and bottle it. In contrast to the American whiskey bottlers or NDP as we call them, who are fairly new in this business, and often tend to put up a smokescreen to cloud the fact that they are sourcing their bourbons, and doesn’t revile who they are buying their bourbons from, the independent bottlers sourcing whisky from Scotland, goes way back, and are very straight forward in their approach, almost always stating the distillery name, and how many years the whisky has aged in the barrel.

Though the independent bottlers go way back, Chapter 7 is one of the younger brands in the game. Created in 2014 in Switzerland, by the world traveling entrepreneur Selim Evin, who created the company, inspired by his Scottish grandfather’s passion for whisky.

Chapter 7 main focus is Single Malt Scotch, from single casks, bottled at cask strength with no added colouring or chill-filtering, but some single grains, Irish single malts and blended Scotch whiskies, has also found their way into Chapter 7’s catalog. Chapter 7 even creates small batches by vatting two or three casks together.

As Selim Evin states on their website; “Some independent bottlers seek the much-sought “big name” whiskies to bottle”. “We act as a spotlight for lesser-known distillery casks with exceptional quality and character”. “Our bottling choices are not driven by whisky stocks or what sells faster.” “We like experimenting and surprises and sometimes take risks to reveal atypical Whiskies”.

Since 2014 Chapter 7 has been bottling 26 editions of whiskies. With a wide selection, from fairly unknown to fan favorite distilleries, like Ben Nevis and Arran. Varies from 6 – 43 years of age.       
Chapter 7 takes its name from Shakespeare’s play ”As you like it” which starts with a monologue called ”seven ages of man”. The speech compares the world to a stage and life to a play, and catalogues the seven stages of a man’s life. It’s kind of similar to whisky changing its personality with wood crafting its magic over the years in a subtly distinctive way, says Selim Evin and we like to think of our casks and editions as chapters in a whisky anthology.

Click here to visit Chapter 7 website 


Glenrothes 1997 - From a single cask Review

Chapter 7.
Glenrothes 1997 – From a single Cask

Single Malt Scotch Whisky.
Non Chill-Filtered/No added colouring

Distillery: Glenrothes
Bottler: Chapter 7
Region: Speyside
Age: 17 Years Old
Proof/ABV: 54,5%
Distilled: 1997
Dk price: $115USD/800Dkk.  
Release: Limited 219 bottles release.
Cask: Bourbon

Points: 89/100

The adverse Glenrothes distillery is well known for a series of things, but maybe most famous for catching fire. The distillery was built back in 1879 by James Stuart who also ran Macallan at that time. In 1897 Glenrothes experienced its first massive fire that caused serious damage to the distillery. After rebuilding the distillery, and adding two more stills, a big explosion went off in 1903. Once again in 1922, a fire in warehouse number one, cause the loss of 200.000 imperial gallons of whisky. Last time the distillery lighted up, was in 1962.

Glenrothes is kind of the odd one out, by not having a core range, instead they releases different vintage of whiskies, bottled in different years. Recently they started producing their NAS whisky, the Select Reserve. Glenrothes is used in The Famous Grouse and Cutty Sark blended whiskies.

Very fruity upfront with notes of mandarin, pineapple and citrus, and some spicy notes of nutmeg and white pepper lying just beneath the surface.

Big wave of heat at first that quickly wears off, leaving room for a fruity sweet bombardment that explodes in your mouth. We got pear, plum, banana, mango and honey.

Long oaky sweet finish, with just the right amount of spices, to keep it balanced.    
Overall impression:
“Well… damn… pick me a winner Johnny!”

This is my first encounter with one of Chapter 7 whiskies, and I do believe we are off to a great start, in our new Independent Bottlers Installment, because this Glenrothes is right on the money.

Beautiful complex nose with deep spicy layers. Perfect balance between the sweet fruity taste and the oaky spicy long finish. Some Cask Strength whiskies can be quite challenging, but the Glenrothes is just as easy and light as they gets without being thin or one dimensional.

"Very well done Chapter 7! Very well done indeed sir!"     

Photo by: (All rights reserved)

Son of Winston Churchill has kindly been granted permission to use the photo in this review.