For new comers to the whisky market, the term ‘Independent Bottling’ can be a little confusing. In general, the producers of the whisky bottle the whisky themselves and this is known as original bottling, however this is not always the case.
Independent bottlers neither own a distillery or produce whisky, instead they source it from various distilleries that do. They usually avoid bottling whisky in bulk but instead cherry pick single casks they feel would be worth bottling under their own brand (however they still display the original distiller on the bottle in most cases). Their focus is often on very unique, premium whiskies. Due to this the market has access to the best single malts at different ages and strengths to those of the original bottles that are available. Opportunities to own whisky from long since closed distilleries also becomes possible thanks to independent bottlers.
Malt whisky has experienced a massive rise in exposure and popularity over the last few decades so naturally there are more people/companies vying to get involved in the whisky market, with substantial increases in competition to independent bottlers. This increase has also lead to distillers bottling more of their own casks making it harder to source the best quality whisky. Due to this some of the major players in independent bottling have gone on to purchase their own distilleries.
At VCL Vintners, thanks to our exclusive and long-standing relationships with big players in the whisky market, we have access to some of the rarest and most sought-after casks. We have been offering unique investment opportunities in whisky casks for many years and we are now opening up access to our best independently bottled single malts. The one to lookout for in the very near future is a Glenlivet 50-year-old. If this sounds like something that interest you, please get in touch!