William Grant & Sons Brings Whisky Craft and Innovation to a New Level with Launch of Ailsa Bay – Scotch Whisky News

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William Grant & Sons Brings Whisky Craft and Innovation to a New Level

with Launch of Ailsa Bay 

New Single Malt Reveals Unique Balance of Smoke and Sweetness  

Dufftown, Scotland, – William Grant & Sons UK is proud to launch Ailsa Bay, a single malt whisky that brings whisky-craft and innovation to a new level, as a singular, precision-distilled spirit, with a unique balance of smoke and sweetness.

This precision balance is driven by whisky visionaries Director Peter Gordon, Master Blender Brian Kinsman, Projects Director Conn Lynch and Technical Leader John Ross who have teamed together to create a spirit as beautiful, balanced and unique as the brand’s timeless muse, Ailsa Craig, which dominates the distillery’s horizon at Girvan.

“With Ailsa Bay, we wanted to create a very heavily peated whisky with all of the sweetness and smokiness we could muster, but also dial down on  some of the medicinal notes that characterise some peated whiskies,” says Peter Gordon, Director of William Grant & Sons and great great grandson of William Grant.  “Ailsa Bay is a testament to our whisky-making expertise and the skills of our Master Blender Brian Kinsman. We invest heavily in keeping the innovation conveyor belt going. Hopefully, we can do this in a pioneering way that respects the traditions that our family has passed down through the generations.”

Ailsa Bay is a state-of-the-art distillery created in 2007 from Peter Gordon’s vision and initially built to combine the purpose of increasing capacity and supply of malt whisky for blending and growing demand, plus the capacity to develop a new style of peated whisky. With its unique advanced technologies and precise controls, the distillery allowed Master Blender Brian Kinsman and his team the ability to isolate and control more elements from the initial distillation, to the maturation process, which enabled optimal control over the type and quality of liquid produced. Rarely will a Master Blender be able to exercise more control of his craft and, at the same time, be given such space and encouragement to innovate.

“Ailsa Bay Distillery has allowed us to do something extremely special,” says Master Blender Brian Kinsman. “Using our precision distilling methods and a special process for cask maturation, I am able to carefully control the outcome of the whisky. With Ailsa Bay, I took exceptional peated malt and ex Baby Bourbon Hudson casks to create a whisky with a balance of smoke and sweetness, to occupy a new space on the flavour map.”

Ailsa Bay will be launching in the UK from February 2016. Ailsa Bay has an ABV of 48.9% with a recommended retail price of £55 per 70 cl bottle.

Ailsa Bay Tasting Notes


Fresh wood smoke with notes of smouldering damp heather and extinguished bonfire.  Following the smoke is a wave of oaky sweetness and hot, buttered toast with an intriguing hint of caramelised apple.


An immediate punch of peat is quickly balanced by a burst of vanilla oakiness.  The flavour meanders between smoke, fruit, creamy toffee and back again.  With every sip, the complexity of the whisky deepens as layer upon layer of flavour is revealed.


An intriguing balance of oaky sweetness and peaty dryness.

 Ailsa Bay Distillery The Ailsa Bay Distillery is a malt distillery based at William Grant & Sons’ Girvan site in South Ayrshire on the Scottish west coast. It is named after the Ailsa Craig rock, situated 10 miles from the distillery in the Firth of Clyde.

The Ailsa Bay distillery was created in 2007 from Peter Gordon’s vision with the sole purpose of allowing Master Blender Brian Kinsman and those that will follow him the ability to isolate and control more elements from the distillation, to maturation, to filtration process. Never before has a Master Blender had more control of his craft and more ability to innovate.

About William Grant & Sons

Ailsa Bay is made by William Grant & Sons, Ltd. an independent family-owned distiller headquartered in the United Kingdom and founded by William Grant in 1887. Today, the luxury spirits company is run by the fifth generation of his family and distills some of the world’s leading brands of Scotch whisky, including the world’s most awarded single malt Glenfiddich®, The Balvenie® range of handcrafted single malts and the world’s third largest blended Scotch Grant’s® along with iconic premium spirits brands Hendrick’s® Gin, Sailor Jerry® Rum, Tullamore Dew Irish Whiskey, Drambuie and Milagro® Tequila.

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