WHISKY ILLUMINATI LAUNCHES FIRST-OF-ITS-KIND SOLARIA SERIES – Scotch Whisky News

WHISKY ILLUMINATI LAUNCHES FIRST-OF-ITS-KIND SOLARIA SERIES 

The three-part release of the Solaria Series follows the inaugural Candlelight Series launched in 2018 

Whisky Illuminati, an independent bottler specialising in premium single cask Scotch whisky, today unveils what it believes to be an industry first with the launch of the Solaria Series: a three-part bottling of five Speyside single malt whiskies.

Offering something genuinely unique to whisky enthusiasts, the Solaria Series will give consumers the opportunity to explore how Scotch whisky evolves in the cask over time, thanks to its three-part bottling which will be released over the next four years. Following the first edition (1:3) release in 2019, there will be a second release in 2021, with the final batch set for release in 2023.

In edition one of the Solaria Series, only 150 bottles from three of the Sherry Butts, 120 from another lower fill Butt and 100 from the Hogshead will be released. The remaining whisky will stay in the cask for a further two years before Edition 2:3 is released, followed by Edition 3:3 in 2023.

The Solaria Series comprises five single malt Scotch whiskies from Speyside distilleries:

  • Solaria Series distilled at Royal Brackla Distillery, with an outturn of 150 (68.0% ABV)
  • Solaria Series distilled at Aultmore Distillery, with an outturn of 120 (67.5% ABV)
  • Solaria Series distilled at Glentauchers Distillery, with an outturn of 150 (63.4% ABV)
  • Solaria Series distilled at Craigellachie Distillery, with an outturn of 100 (67.9% ABV)
  • Solaria Series distilled at ‘Artis Secretum¹’, with an outturn of 150 (67.1% ABV)

Each release was matured in first-fill Spanish Oak Sherry Butt casks, with the exception of the Solaria Series from Craigellachie Distillery, which was matured in a first-fill Spanish Oak Sherry Hogshead cask.

Described by Whisky Illuminati co-founder, Keith Bonnington, as a “rare first for the Scotch whisky industry”, each of the 2011 Vintage Single Casks bottled as part of the Solaria Series were hand selected by a panel of experts with over 200 years of industry experience.

Bonnington noted: “This is a unique opportunity for whisky drinkers to buy into a developing cask of single malt Scotch whisky, and to fully appreciate how the character evolves in the wood over a period of four years.

“We selected 100% first fill ex-Sherry Casks from Spain to mature the new-make spirit, with the aim of drawing out maximum impact from the wood to deliver the depth of flavour and colour desired over time.”

Bonnington added: “Our policy of bottling at natural cask strength without adding colour or chill-filtering means that each whisky is bottled at between 63% and 68% alcohol by volume, exactly as they appear right now in the cask. To fully enjoy the multitude of complex flavours, gradually adding water to taste is encouraged.

“How they develop in the oak over the duration of the three releases is completely in the hands of mother nature and that anticipation of their natural development is what makes this series so exciting.

“What is certain, is that these 2011 Vintage casks are made from the highest quality European oak, sourced from one of Spain’s finest Sherry Bodegas, and I’m confident that the whisky will develop and mellow marvellously over the next few years”.

The launch of the Solaria Series follows Whisky Illuminati’s inaugural Candlelight Series, which was released in 2018 to high acclaim from many leading whisky writers and experts², and sold internationally in markets including China, Taiwan, South Africa and the United States.

The Solaria Series will be available to purchase from select specialist whisky retailers this month, August, including Master of Malt and Selfridges, at a UK RRP of around £120 each. Buyers of the first release will automatically be offered the opportunity to purchase the second and third editions upon release.

Whisky fans interested in learning more about the Solaria Series and future releases can visit www.whiskyilluminati.com or contact info@whiskyilluminati.com to find out more.

Notes

¹ Solaria Series distilled at ‘Artis Secretum’ has been named such due to sensitivities around the rights to the brand name. From one of Speyside’s most revered distilleries, this translates into ‘trade secret’ in Latin.

²Receiving a score of 95.5 out of 100, Jim Murray’s ‘Whisky Bible 2019’ described the Glentauchers 1997 from this series as the ‘reason whisky was invented’, stating: “The interplay between the complex layering of malt and the breathtakingly varied oak tones is the reason whisky was invented”.

About the Solaria Series

Named as such after the process of drying the oak staves in the direct heat of the baking Spanish sun, prior to being filled with the highest quality Dry Oloroso sherries.

Solaria Series distilled at Royal Brackla Distillery

  • Distilled at Royal Brackla Distillery, Speyside; 2011 Vintage Cask #900077; Spanish Oak Sherry Butt; RRP £120
  • Number of bottles available (First Release) – 150

Tasting notes

  • Colour: Burnished copper
  • Nose: Baked dark fruit cake, cocoa with cinnamon hints
  • Taste: Red grape tang with salted caramel and butterscotch
  • Finish: Sea salt spray with lingering butterscotch sweetness

Solaria Series distilled at Aultmore Distillery

  • Distilled at Aultmore Distillery, Speyside, 2011 Vintage Cask #900367; Spanish Oak Sherry Butt; RRP £120
  • Number of bottles available (First Release) – 120

Tasting notes

  • Colour: Polished mahogany
  • Nose: Roasted coffee beans, honey and silk toffee
  • Taste: Mocha, cocoa and date and walnut loaf
  • Finish: Coffee cake with dark honey and pink peppercorns

Solaria Series distilled at Glentauchers Distillery

  • Distilled at Glentauchers Distillery, Speyside, 2011 Vintage Cask #900364; Spanish Oak Sherry Butt; RRP £120
  • Number of bottles available (First Release) – 150

Tasting notes

  • Colour: Old oak
  • Nose: Weighty with citrus orange peel and burnt caramel
  • Taste: Honeycomb, liquorice and cinnamon spice
  • Finish: Lingering orange peel and dark liquorice

Solaria Series distilled at Craigellachie Distillery

  • Distilled at Craigellachie Distillery, Speyside, 2011 Vintage Cask #900328; Spanish Oak Sherry Hogshead; RRP £120
  • Number of bottles available (First Release) – 100

Tasting notes

  • Colour: Chestnut
  • Nose: Thick cut orange marmalade and warm clove
  • Taste: Chocolate orange and toasted praline
  • Finish: Citrus orange with bittersweet chocolate

Solaria Series distilled at ‘Artis Secretum’

  • Distilled at “Artis Secretum”, Speyside, 2011 Vintage Cask #900284; Spanish Oak Sherry Butt; RRP £120
  • Number of bottles available (First Release) – 150

Tasting notes

  • Colour: Russet brown
  • Nose: Dark treacle, ripe plums, black cherry and sweet spice
  • Taste: Cake spice and mixed fruit peel. Nutmeg and ginger biscuits
  • Finish: Dry and lingering with ginger spice 

About Whisky Illuminati

Whisky Illuminati is an independent whisky bottler which seeks to produce exceptional Scotch whisky which can be enjoyed by consumers and whisky aficionados the world over.

A panel of industry experts, with over 200 years’ experience, rigorously assess whisky samples from distilleries across Scotland to select the best possible casks to take forward for maturation and bottling.

Whisky Illuminati is not constrained by age or popularity of particular distilleries, instead it’s driven by a desire to uncover hidden gems often found at the back of the warehouse and brought to market under an innovative ‘series’ with a compelling story.

Whisky Illuminati is bottled under The Whisky Cellar Ltd, which was formed in 2017 and incorporated in Edinburgh by drinks industry professional, Keith Bonnington. The company is launching a second brand in late-2019, The Whisky Cellar ‘Private Cellars Selection’, hand selecting from a broader spectrum of single casks for global release under a standard brand livery. These include a South Africa exclusive release of bottlings of single malts distilled at Laphroaig (2004), Linkwood (1993), Fettercairn (1996), Tomatin (2008) and Miltonduff (2009) distilleries.

Whisky Illuminati released four Single Cask Scotch Whiskies in 2018 in its inaugural Candlelight Series, distilled at Mortlach (1998), Linkwood (1998), Clynelish (1997) and Glentauchers (1997).

For more information, visit www.whiskyilluminati.com.

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