‘RYE WHISKY’ REVEALED AS OUR FIRST RELEASE
After a year-long development process, we’re excited to announce news of Ryelaw.
When we built the distillery, our intention right from the start was to push the boundaries of flavour in whisky using a combination of our experience and new technology while remaining true to whisky’s traditions.
We are now proud to reveal that this approach is coming to life with the first distillation of Ryelaw, a ‘rye whisky’ that brings together elements of Scotch whisky and American rye whiskey.
Ryelaw, which is made with a high proportion of malted rye, the key component in American rye whiskey, and also malted barley, the key ingredient in Scotch whisky, is being distilled on Friday 1 December and the following days following our initial pilot distillation in October. It will be filled into casks for maturation until it is judged to be ready for bottling, at which point it will become our very first release.
The creation of Ryelaw marks what is believed to be the return of the use of rye in Scotch whisky for the first time in over 100 years, and the culmination of a meticulously developed year-long project.
The creation of Ryelaw was inspired by my discovery in the 1908/9 Royal Commission Report on Whisky and Other Potable Spirits that rye was historically commonly used to make Scotch whisky more than 100 years ago.
Unique equipment, recipe and production
Ryelaw is unique in a number of ways. Firstly, it has been created using our unconventional mash filter, one of only two in Scotland, which is able to process the viscous rye grains, unlike the traditional mash tuns in most distilleries.
Secondly, its secret recipe, with its high proportion of malted rye, and the fact that it will be made and matured in Scotland, means that it will meet the legal definitions of both a Scotch whisky and an American rye whiskey. In America, rye whiskey must contain at least 51% rye.
Lastly, distillation will partly take place in our bespoke Lomond Hill still*, which was installed alongside two traditional pot stills to provide the capacity to experiment and the ability to have greater control over shaping flavour. As a result, Ryelaw will be the first rye whisky ever to be distilled in a Lomond still.
While it can be described in general terms as a ‘rye whisky’, Ryelaw will officially be categorised as a single grain Scotch whisky** made using malted rye. This is in line with The Scotch Whisky Regulations 2009, which define the five categories of Scotch whisky*** and state that distillers in Scotland can only make Scotch whisky.
Pushing the boundaries of flavour
Together with my 40 years’ production expertise and the experience of distillery manager Scott Sneddon, we developed Ryelaw with a number of partners including food and drink innovation consultants Campden BRI, malt specialists Muntons, and yeast producers AB Mauri. The rye is currently supplied by Muntons, while the next batch and future batches will be grown by a local Fife farmer.
Ryelaw will be matured in new American oak casks, with the combination of the malted rye and fresh wood designed to create a distinctive take on the full spicy flavour, which rye whisky is renowned for.
When it is released, Ryelaw will become part of our core range which include other innovative whiskies, and an InchDairnie Single Malt Scotch whisky, which is expected to be available in around 2029.
IAN PALMER, MANAGING DIRECTOR
* A Lomond Hill still is a unique version of a traditional Lomond still. A Lomond Hill still (named after the hills behind the InchDairnie distillery) is a traditional pot still but it has distillation plates in the neck in the still before the lyne arm. These plates help to create the same flavour profile throughout distillation
** ‘Single’ because it is from one distillery; and ‘grain’ whisky because it is made with grain other than malted barley
*** The five categories of Scotch whisky:
• Single malt Scotch whisky
• Single grain Scotch whisky
• Blended malt Scotch whisky (formerly called “vatted malt” or “pure malt”)
• Blended grain Scotch whisky
• Blended Scotch whisky