At the heart of Fettercairn’s light and fruity spirit are the uniquely copper-green stills that have cold water running down from a quirky cooling ring attached to the top of the swan neck. This unconventional cooling process — which is not seen in other distilleries — was installed in the 1950s to lower the temperature of the spirit stills, to increase reflux and in the end, a lighter, pure and fruitier new make spirit.
This month, we’re excited to bring you the single malts from Fettercairn, a Highland distillery that’s been around since 1824. Situated in the small village of Fettercairn (population 350, so we’re not kidding when we say small), it doesn’t break your expectations of a Highland distillery — pagoda chimney, white walls, dunnage warehouses — but a peek inside reveals a surprisingly innovative take on whisky-making.
The single malt is aged mostly in sherry and American oak casks in its fourteen dunnage warehouses, but is no stranger to exploring new ideas. Last year, it released a 16-year-old expression made using “chocolate malt” (roasted malted barley), and is pioneering a new project to replant an ancient forest, with the aim of producing its own single estate Scottish oak matured malt whiskies.
Driving this mix of innovation and tradition is the distillery manager, Stewart Walker, who was born-and-bred in Fettercairn and was named Icons of Whisky 2021’s Distillery Manager of The Year. Having worked 30 years at the distillery, Fettercairn is fast becoming Highland’s unexploited gem, with its own unique process story, a wealth of history and a treasure trove of aged stocks.