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What Are Independent Whisky Bottlers?

If you’ve attended whisky events or met whisky enthusiasts to know, you may have been told that specific whiskies as IB or OB. What are those terms?

In simple terms they refer to ‘Official Bottling as well as Independent Bottling. OB is straightforward to define They are expressions and bottles which are officially released by a specific distillery with its very own brand or name.

Independent bottlings, on other on the other hand, are whiskies that were purchased from a distillery owned by an unrelated third party, and then packaged or sold under the third party’s brand name or brand.

The longest-running independent bottler in the world is Cadenhead founded around 177 years ago in 1842. Since the time there have been many independent bottlers on the market that range from the big ones such as The Scotch Malt Whisky Society (SMWS) Douglas Laing and to those run by smaller businesses such as That Boutique-y Whisky Company, or even individuals such as Malaysia’s personal Eiling Lim.

Heck you could even Wholly Spirits is an independent bottler. We have one bottle of the Tears Of The Still series and are planning to release more releases in the near future.

It’s true that the world of bottlings made by independent distillers may be sometimes confusing But many of the bottles available are not just outstanding whiskies, but also include a bit of whisky’s history.

Here are some things you need to be aware of about bottlers who are independent.

1.) They don’t produce their own whisky.

In simple terms an independent bottler an organization that purchases whisky casks from various distilleries, with the majority of the time mature whiskies which are at the proper age and bottle them with their own custom-designed containers and labelling.

Certain major bottlers, for example Gordon & MacPhail (Benromach) own distilleries, but. Douglas Laing has also recently constructed a distillery in Glasgow.

2.) Each release is distinct and distinctive.

In contrast to official bottlings that typically consist of made up of malts, which creates a whisky which is a particular flavor profile that the distillery desires independent bottlings are distinct and distinct expressions of a specific distillery.

If you’ve had whisky from two casks at the same distillery made on the same date and in the same kind of wood, or perhaps aged at the same time it is likely that they will differ significantly from each other because the wood makes sure that every whisky bottle is distinct.

For instance, Eiling Lim, That Boutique-y Whisky Company and SMWS have all released Bowmore whiskies prior to. But every single one of these Bowmores differs in terms of the year the cask, age and flavor.

3.) Some distilleries aren’t able to allow their labels to be included in independent bottlings

Have you ever wondered why it is that you’ll find labels like “Orkney Malt” or “Speyside Malt or ‘Speyside Malt’ on an IB label rather than the distillery’s name? Although most distilleries do not mind having their labels on IB bottles but there are some distilleries who prohibit using their name on independent labelling labels for bottling.

This is why you rarely find the IB whisky bottler like Glenfiddich, Balvenie or Glenfarclas These distilleries won’t permit their whiskies to be packaged under a different name than their own.

This doesn’t mean there aren’t whiskies made by these distilleries available. For instance, the Scotch Malt Whisky Company is well-known for its whiskies that are released without mention of names of distilleries on labels but instead the labeling is a specific code instead.

The code is made up in two figures, the second which is the name of the distillery, as well as the number of casks of that distillery which were taken to be bottled. For example, Cask 7.164 – the number 7 is the Longmorn distillery which is the 164th barrel from the distillery which has been purchased by SMWS.

4.) Certain distilleries “teaspoon” their whiskies

One way that some distilleries stop independent bottlers from using their whiskies on labels is to ‘teaspoon their casks prior to selling their bottles directly to the independent whisky bottlers. This is simply adding 1 teaspoon of a different single malt, or grain whisky to the cask to ensure that independent bottlers aren’t legally able to call that whisky as a single malt of the distillery in question.

5) Certain IB whiskies can be a piece of whisky’s past

Independent bottlings are another of the options to sample whiskies that aren’t produced nowadays, particularly from distilleries that no more exist, such as Port Ellen, Brora, Littlemill, Rosebank and so on. There are plans to revive a few of these distilleries that have closed but that the whisky these distilleries will produce won’t be quite as great as the ones they were in the past.