You can probably tell from our large range of whisky brand jerseys that here at The Cycle Jersey we love a good dram and on the third Saturday in May we especially love a good dram to celebrate world whisky day!
World whisky day invites everyone to try a dram and celebrate the water of life by making it fun for all without being exclusive or prescriptive. All you need to participate is a bottle of whisky – whatever variety and however you enjoy it!
The only rule is to drink responsibly!
A Great Malt Whisky is a distillation of the place it’s made. The local water, microclimate and air quality all influence the spirit as it’s distilled and matured meaning these whiskies could come from nowhere else so we thought we would give you a little insight into just a handful of the whiskies we have partnered with over the years because they are really special and shouldn't be missed!
The Arran Malt
Arran has soring hills and rugged coasts, rich farmland and dense forests which is all concentrated into a compact island floating in the Firth of Clyde between the Ayrshire coast and the Kintyre peninsula. It’s known as ‘Scotland in miniature’, as it shares some of the characteristics of the Highlands, Lowlands, the mainland, and the Western Isles!
Production of The Arran Malt began in their first distillery in Lochranza almost 30 years ago with many locations being considered at the time but the proximity to Loch na Davie provided a special source of fresh water for distilling. Their second distillery was opened in the south of the island in 2019 at Lagg where they now make a very unique style of peated single malt.
Arran Malt is made the old way which is neither the easiest nor the cheapest but it’s the best! Their whisky has only a few ingredients- using concerto barley and water from Lock na Davie, which is the purest in Scotland. The malted barley is mixed with this water in the mash tun to make wort which then does into wooden washback’s where the yeast is added to begin the fermentation process. At the end of this process, they have a liquid called wash which is about as strong as very strong beer.
The wash is double distilled in copper pot stills and the first distillation produces a liquid that’s about 23%alcohol with the second raising this to an average strength of 68%. This colourless liquid is then matured in oak casks which have held wines and spirits like sherry and bourbon. The wood gives colour and character with the choice of cask being one of the most important influences on the character of the end whisky.
Once the whisky has reached its desired age, they bottle most of their single malts at 46% abv or at cask-strength. They never add anything artificial so all the colour in their whisky comes from the wood of the cask.
You will see that there is no chill filter in this process which is usually seen in the whisky distilling process. That’s because Arran Malt believe the process destroys some of the subtle nuances of aroma and flavour that add to the character of the end whisky, so they never chill filter their malts when they are bottled above 43%.
You can see this process for yourself on a distillery tour and The Arran Distillery has tastings and sit in service at their cafes at both Lochranza and Lagg distilleries so you can try their whiskies straight from the source!
Already a lover of Arran Malt? Why not spice up your usual neat dram by creating one of Arran Malts own cocktail recipes! They have a huge range to choose from so there should be something for every taste.
The newest addition to The Cycle Jersey branded whisky jerseys- Kilchoman! Islay’s Farm Distillery Kilchoman have a 100% Islay range which represents the revival of traditional farm distilling. This makes them Islay’s only single Farm Malt Scotch Whisky which is produced at Kilchoman from barley to bottle.
Owners Anthony and Kathy want to resurrect the grass roots tradition of farm distilling. From the very beginning the 100% Islay range was their main reason for being. It represents the revival of single malt whisky being cultivated from barley to bottle in a single location. They can guarantee quality and consistency because they don’t outsource, every aspect of their whisky is on-site and is created with skill, care, and attention to detail.
Their single malt is matured in a combination of cask types sourced from the finest producers around the world with each barrel contributing a unique character and colour to balance with Kilchoman’s classic peat smoke and floral sweetness. They use two main cask types, bourbon barrels and sherry butts which are sourced directly from Buffalo Trace distillery in USA and Bodega Miguel Martin in Spain. As well as bourbon and sherry casks they also fill a number of speciality casks including Sauternes, Red Wine, Rum, Port, Madeira, and Cognac casks as well as secretive experimental casks.
Fancy checking out the range of whiskies from this fantastic Farm Distillery? Learn more here.
The distillery at Torabhaig is the second ever licenced Single Scotch Whisky distillery on the Isle of Skye. Single Malt Whisky is inextricably linked to its place of origin, perhaps more than any other product with the water, the land, and the climate all playing. Apart in the character of a whisky. All those factors are incredibly important when planning a distillery because you can’t just build a distillery anywhere.
The traditional distillery at Torabhaig is an old farmstead which had all the factors needed to make a good, robust island whisky. The farmstead has two burns that feed it with the purest island spring water and a handsome and rugged building which is rich is history and local lore. 200 years ago, the stone that forms the Torabhaig building was hauled from the ruined castle in the bay by horse and cart. The men toiled from dawn till dusk building the Steading which was to stand the test of time for the next 150 years or so until farming practices changed. The 19th century building has now been fully restored to hold the copper stills and traditional wooden washbacks needed to produce whisky. They even built a roof that they can remove so that in time the pot stills can be replaced without disturbing the old building again.
After a 4-year restoration and build, Torabhaig has been fully operational and producing Single Malt Whisky since January 2017. It’s early days for them with their whiskies still taking shape with three years being the minimum time that spirit must spend in a cask before it is Scotch Whisky but they are aiming for Torabhaig 10 Year Old Single Malt so they still have a while to go.
Learn more about this up and coming whisky here.
Isle of Raasay
Isle of Raasay Distillery is the first legal distillery on the Hebridean Isle of Raasay. This Island lies off the West Coast of Scotland in the Inner Hebrides, separated from the Isle of Skye by a short 25-minute ferry journey.
The inspiration for Isle of Raasay Single Malt came from some older styles of Hebridean single malts. Styles that had been lost through time and aren’t as prevalent anymore. The Isle of Raasay Distillery signature flavour profile took inspiration from this to become lightly peated with a balance of rich and dark fruits.
The location of the distillery inspired the creation and the presentation of the islands first Scottish gin too which was the first legal spirit from Raasay which is an island rooted in centuries of illicit distilling.
On 14th September 2017, the Isle of Raasay distillery opened its doors and the islands first legal distillation had finally taken place!
Every drop of spirit is distilled, matured, and bottled on the island using water from their well, Tobar na Ba Baine, which means Well of the Pale Cow. This mineral rich water and long fermentations of up to 118 hours (5 days) develop sweet blackberry characteristics in their spirit before it even touches the oak cask. The whisky recipe combines six signature casks- maturing peated and unpeated Isle of Raasay spirit separately in ex-Rye Whiskey, virgin Chinkapin oak and Bordeaux red wine casks. The first of this cask combination in Scotch whisky history!
Learn more about the Isle of Rassay Whisky and Gin here.