Ailsa Bay is a true modern distillery with all the capabilities of making diverse malt spirit for William Grant's variety of products. The official releases have presented a sweet heavily peated character that directly challenges the traditional lowland style.
Ailsa Bay is a modern and innovative distillery and was built to allow a lot of alteration to its base spirit, meaning it can produce spirit full of esters, sweet and nutty, dry, fruity or even with a peaty tang. It's too early to say exactly what its house character is however.
William Grant & Sons
Ailsa Bay was founded in 2007 by William Grant and Sons on the existing site of their Girvan grain distillery. With growing worldwide demand for their Grants, Glenfiddich and Balvenie brands, they decided there was need for creating a key spirit style which could replace their existing malt components in blends and preserve stocks of both Glenfiddich and Balvenie.
Rather than simply replicating their exisiting distilleries, the oppportuniy was taken to vasty diversify their capabilites and focus on delivering four core characters - estery, nutty, fruity and heavily peated.
In 2016 Ailsa Bay produced their first single malt bottling, using a combination of unorthadox techniques alongside the common Japanese practice of vatting different new make spirits before ageing them together in casks. The casks themselves are also quite unusual; the spirit is 'micro-matured' for 6-9 months in Hudson Baby Bourbon casks that are 25-100 litres in capacity, before transferring the spirit into virgin oak as well as first fill and refill bourbon casks.The initial, volatile spirit maturing in the smaller casks provides a more intense development of character as the liquid interacts with the wood. The revatting into standard size casks allows the distillers to marry spirits from multiple baby casks. for the final maturation stage, allowing them to choose which casks to combine to give an extra level of consistency, or in future bottlings, this could be used to craft some very interesting Single Cask releases.
After the impressive first official bottling of Ailsa Bay (1.1), William Grants have launched a new edition with more peat and more sweetness than its predecessor- scientific readings of 22 parts peat...
Ailsa Bay distillery has been tucked away in William Grant's Girvan complex since 2007 but it was only released as a single malt in early 2016. A very unusual whisky in a variety of ways. A lowland wh...